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College Physics

Introduction to Frontiers of Physics

College PhysicsIntroduction to Frontiers of Physics

A photo of deep space showing a lot of bright spots on a black background. In the center is a huge ring of brownish gas that encircles an interior that is glowing white. Along the axis of the ring more brownish bluish gas is spewing out into the surrounding space.
Figure 34.1 This galaxy is ejecting huge jets of matter, powered by an immensely massive black hole at its center. (credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/R. Kraft et al.)

Chapter Outline

34.1 Cosmology and Particle Physics
  • Discuss the expansion of the universe.
  • Explain the Big Bang.
34.2 General Relativity and Quantum Gravity
  • Explain the effect of gravity on light.
  • Discuss black hole.
  • Explain quantum gravity.
34.3 Superstrings
  • Define Superstring theory.
  • Explain the relationship between Superstring theory and the Big Bang.
34.4 Dark Matter and Closure
  • Discuss the existence of dark matter.
  • Explain neutrino oscillations and their consequences.
34.5 Complexity and Chaos
  • Explain complex systems.
  • Discuss chaotic behavior of different systems.
34.6 High-temperature Superconductors
  • Identify superconductors and their uses.
  • Discuss the need for a high-Tc superconductor.
34.7 Some Questions We Know to Ask
  • Identify sample questions to be asked on the largest scales.
  • Identify sample questions to be asked on the intermediate scale.
  • Identify sample questions to be asked on the smallest scales.

Frontiers are exciting. There is mystery, surprise, adventure, and discovery. The satisfaction of finding the answer to a question is made keener by the fact that the answer always leads to a new question. The picture of nature becomes more complete, yet nature retains its sense of mystery and never loses its ability to awe us. The view of physics is beautiful looking both backward and forward in time. What marvelous patterns we have discovered. How clever nature seems in its rules and connections. How awesome. And we continue looking ever deeper and ever further, probing the basic structure of matter, energy, space, and time and wondering about the scope of the universe, its beginnings and future.

You are now in a wonderful position to explore the forefronts of physics, both the new discoveries and the unanswered questions. With the concepts, qualitative and quantitative, the problem-solving skills, the feeling for connections among topics, and all the rest you have mastered, you can more deeply appreciate and enjoy the brief treatments that follow. Years from now you will still enjoy the quest with an insight all the greater for your efforts.

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