Beyer C. White is currently a sophomore at Princeton University, concentrating in mathematics and pursuing a certificate in music composition. Regarding his mathematical research interests, he has recently gravitated towards topics lying at the intersection of number theory, geometry, and representation theory. However, he has always nurtured a love for mathematical physics, and he is looking forward to sharing his passion for that topic through his seminar at Reach Academy this summer.
CURIOUS CARDINALS TEACHER
Expect the Unexpected! Quirks of Quantum Mechanics and Tangential Topics
In this workshop, students will have an opportunity to wonder at some of the beautiful surprises that the Universe has to offer. A good part of the course will consist in an introduction to quantum mechanics, particularly emphasizing various topics that illuminate how Nature acts in highly unexpected ways right under our noses. Along the way, we may also look at some other manifestations of this tension between the expected and the unexpected in scientific thought throughout history (such as with regards to the quaint efficiency of Aristotelian physics, the prescient relativistic arguments of Liebniz, etc.). Students will have an opportunity to observe Nature for themselves and research some aspect of it which strikes them as unexpected. The workshop will culminate with each student briefly presenting their chosen phenomenon and what they have learned about it. No formal prerequisites will be assumed, though some basic familiarity with classical mechanics may be helpful. Indeed, the only true requirement is for the student to be curious about the world around them!
Throughout the week, students will be led to look at their world more closely and investigate one of the quirks that they discover in it. After the first session, they will to find some unique phenomenon in their environment that interests them. After the second, they will be required to do some basic research on that phenomenon. After the third, they will revisit their phenomenon as it exists in the world with their newfound knowledge, and in particular appreciate something about it that they otherwise would not have been able to before doing their research (such can be in the form of an experiment that brings out some heretofore unknown property of the phenomenon, or the detection of some kind of causal connection between the phenomenon and some other aspect of the world, etc.). After the fourth class, students will be tasked with finishing up their research and preparing a presentation. Finally, during the fifth class, everyone will have the opportunity to deliver their presentations. At the end of the course, I hope that students will be able to look at the world with a more curious eye than they might have before, to discern the precious little wonders of Nature that we otherwise may take for granted.