Three interactive labs enhance and reinforce key concepts in the course. The labs provide an active learning experience but also give a "feel" for some of the phenomena that researchers are exploring in their real-world experiments.
Sub-Atomic Particles and Forces: Discovering Neutrino Oscillation
The "ghostly neutrino," first predicted by Wolfgang Pauli in 1930, was finally discovered in 1956. Physicists studying neutrinos from the Sun were mystified, however, because their detectors seemed to indicate that the Sun wasn't producing enough neutrinos. The mystery was solved in 1998: neutrinos oscillate! As they travel though space, neutrinos morph from one type into another, which is what allowed them to evade the solar neutrino detectors. Simulate the basic properties of neutrinos to see how they oscillate and try to match your simulation to experimental data.
New Physics at the Intermediate Scale: Laser Cooling
The 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for "development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light" because these laboratory techniques opened the door to fascinating new phenomena such as macroscopic quantum gases, ultra-precise atomic clocks, and light slowed to the speed of a bicycle. Use laser light to slow fast-moving atoms, cooling them enough so they can be trapped.
Cosmology and Beyond: Evolution of Large Scale Structure in the Universe
How did galaxies form? Why are they distributed along enormous sheets and filaments rather than evenly throughout space? Massive computer simulations allow us to learn how these structures formed in the universe by comparing real observations to simulated universes. Try to build a universe similar to the one we live in today.