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General physics

Introductory material for PH315

Prof. David MacKay's lecture at Harvard:

Prof. David MacKay's book (free pdf download, option 1, free pdf download option 2)

How quantum mechanics explains global warming (TedEd talk):

Physical reasoning skills about energy

Air moving along behind a car

Simple pendulum showing KE and potential energy graphs.

Sunlight hitting a satellite. Extraterristial solar spectrum from 280 nm - 4000 nm, original data source

Solar Radiation Monitoring Station (SoRMS) at Humboldt State University, Arcata, California Jan 9th data, original data source

Solar data for Oregon:

Energy in car battery versus time

Fuel level in race car

Thermal physics

Quantum mechanics

Quantum bound states

Leiden video of 2-slit interference

Veritasium 2-slit intereference at single photon limit

Video recording true single-photon double-slit interference

Diffraction of electrons

The double-slit wave interference experiment and single photons interfering with themselves: Youtube video (cheesy, but physics is correct).

Quantum Key Distribution. This is known as the BB84 algorithm. The bits are sent by either (i) single photons in a horizontal (0) or vertical (1) polarization, or (ii) single photons in diagonal (0) or other-diagonal (1) polarization.

Light-matter interactions

Electromagnetic wave animation.

Electromagnetic wave animation v2.

CO2 responds to light (linear),

CO2 responds to light (bend)

Simulation of wave interference for a 2-slit experiment

Oscillating charge generates electromagnetic radiation:

Blackbody spectrum:

Radiative & convective cooling of humans: Even in the absence of wind, convection is an important mechanism in cooling the human body. Under such conditions, convection accounts for about 1/3 the thermal loss of the human body in cool, still air. As other thermal loss mechanisms grow in importance, such as forced convection and perspiration, radiation assumes a minor role in human thermal balance. This is consonant with the concept of “wind-chill” factor, which accounts for the enhanced sensation of cold when it is windy. These conclusions are only weakly dependent on the assumed temperature of clothing or skin, which is only estimated rather crudely.

Climate change

Chapter 4 of Archer's text book “Greenhouse gases” (free download)

Chicago model:

Berkeley earth temperature anomaly video:

Berkeley earth graphs:

CO2 concentration in atmosphere, original data source.

Differential equations with boundary conditions

Semiconductors and Photovoltaics

Veritasium "How a transistor works"

TED-Ed "How a solar cell works"

Online textbook describing the physics principles behind solar photovoltaics:

Solar Radiation Monitoring Station (SoRMS) at Humboldt State University, Arcata, California Jan 9th data, original data source

Solar data for Oregon:

Wind energy





From the channel “Veritasium” by Derek Muller (Physics PhD 2008)

From the channels “MinutePhysics” and “MinuteEarth” by Henry Reich (Masters Degree in Physics)

MacGyver “experiments”



Spectrograms shown in class

Animation of standing waves in a pipe (pressure and velocity)

Bugle plays taps:


wiki/internet_resources.txt · Last modified: 2020/01/10 20:58 by ethanminot