The physics of the pizza: how scientists use the laws of nature (Spring term) (SCE 28(z))

  • Day and time: Monday 11:00 - 12:00
  • Length of course: 1 term. Spring (10 Weeks)
  • Number of places: 25
  • Start date: 17 January 2022
  • Description:

    Most popular discussions of physics focus on frontiers; quantum mechanics, black holes, etc. Before these discoveries, though, were centuries of development of classical physics: for example, Newton's laws of motion and gravity, Maxwell's equations and thermodynamics. I hope to show you how these still form the basis of everyday behaviour - for example to discover what happens to a pizza when the pizzaiola spins it; why, after mixing white and wholemeal flours for the pizza, you can't unmix them; and what holds the pizza (and the pizza pan, and the stars, and stuff in general) together. At the end, we'll see the breakdown of classical physics as the 20th century dawned - the so-called Ultraviolet Catastrophe - and introduce modern physics, with quantum mechanics and relativity. The material might be a bit challenging, but there will be no (use of) equations, and no experience of physics or mathematics is needed.

  • Format: Lecture

  • Tutor: John Cook
  • I've been studying and using physics for around 50 years, and enjoy trying to make it accessible to everyone.

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