Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Department of Physics

The Art of Physics - PHYS1400

department of physics

Photo of a building

This summer course in Parma, Italy, is a modern introduction to classical physics themes, primarily for ambitious students in the humanities and also for adventurous science majors. The main goal is to present the ethos, historical contexts, and some powerful tools of physics (a few not discussed in standard physics courses), enabling scholars in the humanities and in the sciences to engage in a meaningful dialogue, and enlarging their appreciation of the connections between diverse disciplines within the liberal arts.

Class discussion will be in part about physics, that is descriptive, and in part in physics, endeavoring to develop useful qualitative and quantitative skills and some problem solving techniques. Topics include dimensional analysis and dimensionless numbers, estimates, kinematics, Newton’s laws and their applications, Newton’s gravitational law, Kepler’s laws, conservation principles and symmetry, elements of thermal physics and electro-magnetism, chaos and fractal geometry.

Aerial photo of a city center

Lectures will most likely be in the Department of Physics at the University of Parma. Numerous class visits to science (and art) museums, places of historical significance for the early science development, and physics facilities nearby Parma are planned (Bologna, Florence, Pisa, Milan and possibly Padua or Ferrara). The course will have an interactive character. Students will participate using “clickers,” and also have opportunities to steer the discussion and express views. Some demonstration experiments will be included.

For more information, including the syllabus, please contact Prof. Herczyński.

See also the official description on the Office of International Programs site.

Map of Parma Italy