April, 2019

During my last semester at Mount Holyoke College, I took a course in quantum mechanics. If you are a physics student, this class was pretty much a standard junior/senior year level quantum mechanics class. We spent a lot of time in class solving problems in two-particle systems, perturbation theory, etc.

Most of our assignments in this class consisted of problem sets (which are not an interesting thing to share on this website), but our final assignment as to give a presentation to the class on a topic in quantum mechanics. This could be a walkthrough of a difficult problem, or something more conceptual.

Another class I was taking this semester was titled "Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics", where we talk about the philosophical interpretations of the phenomena in quantum mechanics. It was a really fun and interesting experience to take a quantum mechanics class where we solve physics problems along with a class on the philosophical interpretation.

The topic I chose for my presentation for quantum mechanics was inspired by the philosophy of quantum class. I wanted to share the human interpretations of quantum mechanics at arose as the field was being realized with my fellow physics students. The human interpretation of the phenomena in physics is just as important as the math and logic that puts it all together. The interpretations of quantum mechanics can be controversial because they tend t seem illogical or contradictory. This presentation walks through the possible philisophical interpretations of quantum mechanics and walks through a proof on entangled particles.

The PDF of the presentation can be found by clicking the image below.

March, 2019

During my last semester at Mount Holyoke College, I took a class titled "Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics" taught by Professor Nina Emery. In this class we examine some of the strange phenomena seen in quantum mechanics and discuss the philosophical interpretations of this phenomena.

Throughout the first portion of the class we talked about two odd phenomena known as the Two Path Experiment and the EPRB Experiment. Both of these experiments exhibit surprising results that stun physicists to this day.

In particular, the results of the EPRB experiment exhibit a perfect anti-correlation which is surprising and deserves an explanation. There have been many attempts at developing theories to explain these bizarre results and interpret their implications, including one made by Einstein and two of his graduate students. The three of them came up with a theory known as the "hidden variables theory" which in short, explains the perfect anti-correlation seen in the EPRB experiment using a common cause explanation.

John Stewart Bell responded to this by developing a theorem known as "Bell's Theorem", which states that it is mathematically impossible for one to hold two assumptions known as no conspiracy and locality, and allow hidden variables theory to be true. This leaves everyone with the dilemma of either giving up one of these assumptions or to not accept hidden variables theory and make another attempt to explain the perfect anti-correlation.

This paper that I wrote for the Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics class argues in favor of giving up the locality assumption. I begin the paper by explaining the EPRB experiment, hidden variables theory, and Bell's Theorem. The I make an argument for giving up the locality assumption in Bell's Theorem and defend this response by presenting a possible objection to the argument and explain why this objection is unconvincing.

The PDF of the paper can be found by clicking on the image below.

December, 2018

During the Fall 2018 semester, I took a course tiled "Statistical Mechanics" at Mount Holyoke College taught by Professor Kerstin Nordstrom. This was a 300-level course that focuses on concepts in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Nearly all of our time in class was spent on lectures where we discuss the fundamental concepts in statistical mechanics and solve some complex problems in class.

Towards the end of the semester, we were assigned to come up with an independent project that further explores one of the topics we discussed in class. I was inspired by a lecture on quantum gases which mentioned white dwarfs as an application of the Fermi gas, an example of an ideal quantum gas. Seeing this as an opportunity to merge my interests in physics and astronomy, I decided to do my project on white dwarfs. For this project I completed a problem that derives the relationship between the mass and the radius of a white dwarf star. The relationship between the mass and the radius is directly derived from the function for the total energy of the white dwarf The function for total energy incorporates the Fermi Energy, which is an important property of a quantum gas.

This article walks through the derivation of the relationship between the mass and the radius of a white dwarf. It includes a detailed description of the process, as well as the equations used, calculations done, and some figures I created. Figure 1, the sketch showing the assembly of a sphere shell by shell, was created in Adobe Illustrator. Figures 2 and 3 are graphs I generated using Wolfram Mathematica.

The PDF of the article can be found by clicking the image below.

November, 2018

During the Fall 2018 semester, I took a course titled "Electronics" at Mount Holyoke College taught by Kathy Aidala. A lot of physics majors at Mount Holyoke take this course in order to fulfill part of the lab requirement for the major. Most of our time in class was spent working on lab projects that reinforce the concepts in analog electronics that we learn by reading, solving problems for homework, and discussing in a lecture before the lab. The labs we do in class have us building and testing analog circuits that serve a variety of purposes.

The lab I'm sharing in this post is the third lab in the class, and the first one we were assigned to do a write-up on. In this lab we designed, built, and tested two different circuits, both of which function as a voltmeter. Both of the circuits we built had some parameters that we were required to meet with the design. Before we began, we were given skeleton circuits for both voltmeter circuit designs, meaning that we already had a basic layout of what the circuits should look like. The part of the design that we were tasked with figuring out was what we should use for the specific components of the circuit such as the values of the resistors and the model of the op-amp. All of the decisions on these components were made in order to meet the parameters we were given for the circuits. Once we made the appropriate decisions on these components and had a complete design, we built and tested both of the circuits.

This write-up discusses the specific tasks we were required to do in this lab, and walks through the entire designing, building, and testing process. All circuit designs and drawings, as well as the calculations done to find resistor values are included in the document. The final document was written in LaTeX, and all of the figures were hand-drawn by me.

The PDF of the write-up can be found by clicking the image below.

April, 2018

During my Spring 2018 semester at Mount Holyoke College, I took a very unique class titled "Themes in Physics and Art" taught by Spencer Smith. In this class we studied the intersection between physics and art, either by examining how art can be influenced by concepts in physics, or by the physical properties of a medium. One thing that I took away from this course is that because physics is everywhere and dictates everything that we interact with, finding these intersections between physics and art is surprisingly easy.

There were a number of interesting assignments that we were tasked with in this class, however the project I am sharing was the final project for the class. Our task was to pick a theme found in both physics and art (such as light, momentum, reflection, space, etc.) and gather images of art pieces that fit in to the theme. With these images we put together a "virtual exhibit" where we presented the images along with museum-like captions describing the pieces and how they fit in to the chosen theme.

The theme that I chose was "hidden structures", where I discuss how an artist might choose to depict something that we are not able to see but that we know is there. Similarly, physicists work every day to understand objects such as particles and black holes that we cannot see without equipment, and to unravel the structures of mysterious objects such as galaxies. Something that I am interested in as a physicist is to create visuals of concepts in physics, or visuals of objects such as neutrinos or photons that cannot be seen with the naked eye. I believe that having visuals, especially for things like these that cannot be seen with the naked eye plays an important role in increasing the general public's understanding of physics and science. Some of the artists presented in my virtual exhibit do so, or at least give us a good start.

The PDF of the presentation can be found by clicking the image below.