Foundations of physics

A.Y. 2017/2018
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Il corso e' tenuto congiuntamente da Luigi Galgani e da Andrea Carati, ed e' rivolto sia a fisici (o matematici) sia a filosofi. Data la grandissima differenza di preparazione, gli obiettivi ed il programma sono diversi per tali due tipi di studenti.

Obiettivi per fisici (o matematici)

1) Compiere uno studio storico-critico di alcuni passaggi centrali dell'evoluzione della fisica
2) abituare lo studente alla lettura diretta dei lavori originali dei grandi classici, complementando in tal modo la formazione tradizionale, che e' necessariamente basata su trattazioni manualistiche
3) illustrare degli studi recenti che, sulla base di nuovi risultati nella teoria dei sistemi dinamici, portano nuova luce su alcuni dei passaggi critici dell'evoluzione della fisica illustrati nel punto 1 (esempio, problema di Fermi Pasta Ulam, e relazione tra legge di Planck ed equipartizione dell'energia)
Expected learning outcomes
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
The course is given jointly by Luigi Galgani and Andrea Carati, and is addressed both to students in Physics (or Mathematics) and to students in Philosophy. Given the extremely difference in the preparation of such two types
of students, the corresponding programs are completely different.

For physicists (or mathematicians). The aim is to perform a critical-historical study on some crucial passages in the development of physics, and at the same time help the students in becoming accustomed to a reading of the original writings of the most classical authors. A further ain is to illustrate how some recent results in the theory of dynamical systems may allow one to make a bridge between some of the clue passages in the development of physics and some modern research (for example, the Fermi Pasta Ulam problem in connection with the passage from equipartition to Planck's law).

The subjects concretely dealt with will be
1. Black body and specific heats, with a reading of some papers of Planck and of Einstein. Relation with Ferni Pasta and Ulam.
2. Problem of the stability of atoms (Bohr and Bohr-Sommerfeld). Relations with Wheeler-Feynman
3. A reading of the first original papers of Heisenberg and of Schroedinger.
4. A reading of the original paper of Einstein Podolsky Rosen, of the reply of Bohr, and of the final comment of Einstein in his scientific autobiography. The works of Bell.

For Philosophers
Most students know essentially nothing of mathematics, and so the course aims at making them become in the simplest way acquainted with the fundamental concepts of
kinematics and dynamics, through an attempt to explain
the essentials of Galileo and Newton. First of all, motion on a line as a function x(t), velocity as its derivative, and acceleration as derivative of velocity. Then, understanding how fixing the acceleration gives motion apart from the initial data of position and velocity (Laplacian determinism).
Then the motions of planets, with Kepler's laws, and the corresponding Newton's deduction of the acceleration of planets, plus Newton's apple as a joining of earth with celestial phenomena.

A second part constitutes an introduction to the essential points of special relativity.
Lessons: 42 hours