Dr. Sascha Vongehr 风洒沙博士
This is a multipurpose course improving scientific English (1)and teaching issues of modern fundamental science (2) that are important and helpful to applied scientists, to better remember the methods/equations through starting from a fundamental perspective (2.1), to motivate proper application (e.g. of error statistics) (2.2), to facilitate interdisciplinary communication and thus collaboration (2.3), and to gain a more rounded and satisfying perspective about what modern science is and how the students’ own work fits into the evolution of modern science (2.4).
Generally speaking, the focus of the course is a “deeper understanding”. For example: Physics students can usually calculate the age difference in the relativistic twin paradox, but without being able to defend the result properly. This course does not teach how to calculate the exact result. Students should be able to (1) graphically explain why one twin is younger than the other (without allowing time travel), and (2) understand the relations of such issues to the applied sciences.
The content of this course is presented in English while introducing difficult phrases and scientific terminology in Chinese. Increasing familiarity with scientific English is an important part of the content (1). The scientific content is the fundamental science that underlies the applied sciences in as far as it helps understanding the methods of applied sciences that the student is supposed to employ or at least understand, such as error calculation statistics and spatial modeling (2).
Moreover, today’s most intriguing fundamental science issues are presented in such a way that the student understands how applied sciences fit into that background, in order to facilitate a rounded and critical scientific knowledge (3). This must include familiarity with the cutting edge of today’s modern science and its most profound and controversial issues (4), but also with the aim to improve the students’ ability toward interdisciplinary collaboration (5).
For example, we introduce the standard deviation and suchlike including many practical examples that the student can apply in her own research, with a focus on examples from nanotechnology materials science. Nevertheless, this is presented from the perspective of fundamental uncertainty, including a modern many-world/minds description, which includes the point of view of that the standard deviation is an important tool for interdisciplinary communication.
Many issues will be presented via intriguing controversies and paradoxes in science, thus extending the interdisciplinary content all the way to philosophy, as inevitable for proper fundamental natural science. Nevertheless, the practical, material science aspect is always related, for example the lecture “Evolution/Emergence/Synergy” focuses on issues such as catalysis of nano-materials.
The course continues with Zeno’s paradox in order to introduce space-time modeling. Then a list of paradoxes is discussed, for example relativistic time paradoxes are resolved in a modern many-world/mind description. We stress how these issues relate to applied science, be it in terms of the relativistic effects in materials (magnetism, color of gold), its importance for GPS systems, or for how relativism impacts science.
The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox introduces apparent non-locality contra realism. This will be related to applied science issues such as details of the involved laser experiments and the relevance of the issues for quantum communication, quantum cryptography and its security, and quantum computing (QM information theory).