Back of the Envelope Physics - BGU Physics Department
BGU Physics Department
Back of the Envelope Physics
(3.0 points, 3 hours)
course number 203-2-5291
- Back of the envelope estimates: dimensional analysis, scaling arguments, fast estimates of math expressions, length and energy scales.
- The usefulness of the Fourier transform. Waves. Dispersion
- Elementary mechanics of fluids and elastic bodies.
- Quantum mechanics in pictures. The correspondence principle. Structure and binding energies of atoms and molecules. The nature of chemical bonding.
- Molecular interactions and condensed matter: van der Waals forces,
cohesive energy, melting temperature, mechanical properties, thermal
expansion, latent heat.
- Applying limiting cases: forced oscillator, Rutherford scattering, radiation
field in the near and far zones.
- Random walk. Diffusion. Fluctuations.
- Quantum processes I: when the classical analogy works.
- Quantum processes II: when wave properties are crucial.
- The nuclear scale. Weak and strong interactions.
- Estimations in the living world, geophysics and astrophysics.
- “Order-of-Magnitude Physics”, by P. Goldreich, S. Mahajan, S. Phinney. University of Cambridge (1999).
- “Search for Simplicity”. A series of papers by V.Weisskopf, Am.J.Phys. 1984-1986
- “Street-fighting mathematics: the art of educated guessing and opportunistic problem solving”, by S. Mahajan (MIT, 2010).
- “How many licks? Or, how to estimate damn near anything”, by Aaron Santos, Running press (2009)
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