Thursday, January 21, 2010

PH253: Thursday's class

Thursday, we'll discuss thermal radiation, i.e., the black-body spectrum. Basically, we want to figure out why stuff glows when it is hot, how much it glows, and at what color. It is surprisingly tricky to do so.

We'll follow a little different approach than that outlined in the textbook, but with the same result in the end. If you have the textbook, it will be useful to have read sections 2.1.1-2.1.5 ahead of time. If you don't have the book, this will help for now (better links to follow).

I will deviate from the book's derivation and discussion mainly to tie in to what you've covered in PH105-6 already and to try to make the flow a bit more logical and useful for later chapters. In the end, we'll cover all the same material, just not quite in the same order. In particular, we want to start out by emphasizing the necessity of considering energy to be discrete and its consequences, since that is the bulk of the course material in the end.

For now we are done with relativity, but don't forget it -- it will come back again, and sooner rather than later.

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