History of the foundations of physics in the 20th century

A.A. 2020/2021
9
Crediti massimi
60
Ore totali
SSD
M-STO/05
Lingua
Inglese
Obiettivi formativi
The course aims to provide students with a comprehension of the development of physics in the twentieth century through a study of some historically significant cases. The course may be useful for the conception, organization and coordination of cultural activities and projects concerning the history of physics and its relationships with philosophy.
Risultati apprendimento attesi
Knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course, the student
- knows the fundamental elements of the development of physics during the twentieth century
- knows the details, including some mathematical demonstrations and experimental results, of some important discoveries in physics achieved during the twentieth century
- understands the relationships between the history of contemporary scientific thought and the history of philosophy and the philosophy of science

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course the student
- can apply the knowledge acquired in situating authors and texts historically
- can apply the scientific lexicon of the twentieth century to the analysis and discussion of texts and problems
- can apply the understanding of the historical relationships between science and philosophical doctrines to the analysis and discussion of texts and problems.
Programma e organizzazione didattica

Single session

Periodo
Primo semestre
Audio mp3 and pdf files (slides and texts) uploaded on the Ariel platform in which I comment Ghirardi's book. Classes will be held on the Microsoft Teams platform. It will be possible to attend classes both synchronously and asynchronously because they will be recorded and left available to students on the same platform.
Programma
Quantum mechanics, which describes the behavior of subatomic particles, seems to challenge common sense. Waves behave like particles; particles behave like waves. You can tell where a particle is, but not how fast it is moving — or vice versa. An electron faced with two tiny holes will travel through both at the same time, rather than one or the other. And then there is the enigma of creation ex nihilo, in which small particles appear with their so-called antiparticles, only to disappear the next instant in a tiny puff of energy. Since its inception, physicists and philosophers have struggled to work out the meaning of quantum mechanics. Some, like Niels Bohr, have responded to quantum mechanics' mysteries by replacing notions of position and velocity with probabilities. Others, like Einstein and Penrose, have disagreed and think that the entire puzzle reflects not a fundamental principle of nature but our own ignorance of basic scientific processes. The course offers a deep and real understanding of the problems inherent to the interpretation of quantum mechanics, from its inception to the present. The course will present a balanced overview of the development of the philosophy of quantum mechanics from the times of Planck and Einstein to current debates and will explore how the theory of quantum mechanics plays itself out in the real world.
Prerequisiti
A high-school (final year) background in physics (esp. Newtonian mechanics and electromagnetism)
Metodi didattici
Classes will be held on the Microsoft Teams platform. The course will be in part delivered by uploading mp3 and pdf files on the Ariel platform. In order to attend lectures on MS Teams the students are kindly requested to read the preliminary material uploaded on the Ariel Platform.
Materiale di riferimento
Assignments for both 6 and 9 CFU exams:

Giancarlo Ghirardi, Sneaking a Look at God's Cards: Unraveling the Mysteries of Quantum Mechanics, Revised Edition, Princeton UP, 2007 ISBN: 9780691130378 [Edizione italiana: Un'occhiata alle carte di Dio. Gli interrogativi che la scienza moderna pone all'uomo, Il Saggiatore, 2015, ISBN: 978-8842821359], chapters 1-7 (pp. 1- 164).

Additional assignments for 9 CFU exam:

Giancarlo Ghirardi, Sneaking a Look at God's Cards: Unraveling the Mysteries of Quantum Mechanics, Revised Edition, Princeton UP, 2007 ISBN: 9780691130378 [Edizione italiana: Un'occhiata alle carte di Dio. Gli interrogativi che la scienza moderna pone all'uomo, Il Saggiatore, 2015, ISBN: 978-8842821359], chapters 8, 9, 10 (pp. 165-260) and chapters 15, 16 (pp. 344-415).

Pages are referred to the English edition.
Modalità di verifica dell’apprendimento e criteri di valutazione
The exam will consist in an oral test using the Microsoft Teams platform according to the following procedure
https://www.unimi.it/it/studiare/frequentare-un-corso-di-laurea/seguire…


The examination will consist

Assessment methods and Criteria
Both for students who have attended the course and for those who haven't the final examination consists in an oral exam. The purpose of the oral exam is to test knowledge, and the critical comprehension, of the topics covered in the works indicated in this program, and the fact that the students has acquired correct skills to express and discuss these topics.

Evaluation criteria:

The oral exam is divided into two parts. In the first part the student will choose a topic of his/her own choice. In the second part the topic will be chosen by the instructor. A mark will be obtained on the basis on the following criteria (1 to 10 points: factual information + 1 to 10 points philosophical skills, 1 to 10 points understanding of technical/ scientific content)
Moduli o unità didattiche
Unita' didattica A
M-STO/05 - STORIA DELLE SCIENZE E DELLE TECNICHE - CFU: 3
Lezioni: 20 ore

Unita' didattica B
M-STO/05 - STORIA DELLE SCIENZE E DELLE TECNICHE - CFU: 3
Lezioni: 20 ore

Unita' didattica C
M-STO/05 - STORIA DELLE SCIENZE E DELLE TECNICHE - CFU: 3
Lezioni: 20 ore

Docente/i
Ricevimento:
mercoledì, 10:30-13:30
In seguito alle misure adottate per fronteggiare la pandemia il ricevimento in presenza è sospeso: gli studenti possono contattarmi per mail e fissare colloqui skype