Physics 102 - Spring 2011- University of Rochester

Visions of the Multiverse

News Important links Prestentations Contact info Lectures Problem sets Solution sets Recitations Reading

spiral galaxy in Andromeda, rollover is Scott Adams' take on the multiverse



Have a great summer! Congratulations if you are graduating.

Ponder this:

"22,000 days. It's not a lot. It's all you got. 22,000 days." 
        - The Moody Blues , in Long Distance Voyager released in 1981

"Understanding is a lot like sex. It's got a practical purpose, but that's not why people do it normally."
        - Frank Oppenheimer


Sir Isaac Newton

Listen to the ballad of Sir Isaac Newton (found here). Our man Isaac invented much of the basic physics background we'll discuss. Before that he did backup vocals for Bon Jovi.

Important Links:

Information and syllabus

Manly's past exams

Exam 1 solutions

Exam 1 grade distribution

Exam 2 solutions

Exam 2 grade distribution

Final exam solutions

final exam grade distribution

best numerical average distribution

A few potentially useful links:

The physics classroom (online tutorial on mechanics)

Fear of physics - another online site with visuals that can help you make sense of some things

Bored? Check these out (trust me ... these are cool even if you aren't into physics):

FSU magnet lab powers of ten ... perspectives on size scales.

Astronomy picture of the day

University of Oregon physics applet site

The particle adventure

Instructor/office hours:

Steve Manly, Department of Physics and Astronomy

reach via email:

reach via phone: 585-275-8473

reach via feet: B&L 203E

Manly's office hours: Monday 11 am-noon and Tuesday 3:30-4:30 pm. If that doesn't work get in touch with me for an appointment ... feel free to drop by without an appt. with the understanding that I might in the middle of something else and need to set up a better time to meet.

Recitation leaders:

Scott Lucchini,

Guang Yi Chua,

Adam Lanman,

Recitation times:

Monday 5-7 pm, Morey 505
Wednesday 5:30-7:30 pm, Morey 505
Friday 2-4 pm, Hylan 105



Reading for week of January 17:

Reading in Hobson – Chapter 1 (p. 2-30) and sections 2.4 and 2.5 (p. 40-44)
Read chapter on "The Nature of Science" in Science for All Americans online (from the American Association for the Advancement of Science) at
Read Intro, Chapter 1, Appendix A, and Appendix B of Visions of the Multiverse, written by me in part to accompany this course. This material is available on BlackBoard.

Reading for week of January 24:

Reading in Hobson – Chapter 3 (p. 54-66) and Chapter 4 (p. 71-89).
Read Intro, Chapter 2 of Visions of the Multiverse, written by me in part to accompany this course. This material is available on BlackBoard.
Read M. Singham, "The Copernican Myths." This is available on BlackBoard.
Read/look over the section on Newton's Laws on the HowStuffWorks website at

Reading for week of January 31:

Reading in Hobson – Chapter 5.1 (94-102), Chapter 8.1 (164-166), 8.5-8.6 (176-182), Chapter 10 (p.226-247)
Read Chapter 3 of Visions of the Multiverse, get book from me or find chapter 3 in Blackboard
Read this online biography of Albert Einstein -

Reading for week of February 7:

Reading in Hobson – Chapter 9 (187-219)
Read chapter 4 in Visions of the Multiverse (on reserve in the physics and astronomy library if you do not have a copy)
Read through Nick Strobel's Astronomy Notes section on electromagnetic radiation at
Read Nick Bostrom's "Are We Living in a Computer Simulation" found in BlackBoard

Reading for week of February 14:

Reading in Hobson – Chapter 12 (275-291)
Read John Barrow's "Living in a Simulated Universe" found in BlackBoard
Read Michael Wiemer's "A short history of quantum mechanics: 1900-1928" found in BlackBoard
Check out the following articles on the physics website:

Reading for week of February 21:

Reading in Hobson – Chapter 2.1 to 2.3 (33-40), Chapter 8.2 (166-169)Chapter 13 (294-319)
Check out this Youtube video on quantum mechanics
Read the HowStuffWorks article on quantum mechanics at
In reading folder on BlackBoard - Byrne, "The Many Worlds of Hugh"

Reading for week of February 28:

In reading folder on BlackBoard -
Tegmark and Wheeler, "100 Years of the Quantum"
Spend a few minutes looking over the very different characteristics of the elements in this interactive periodic chart . Learn about your favorite elements. one thing that's fun to do is to select elements in the group 1 column (very reactive chemically) and look at the videos of these elements reacting with water.
Here is some reading on what I call the (non-scientific) multiverse of wishful thinking:
Wikipedia article on the Law of Attraction
An "ezine article" on the law of attraction and quantum physics
Wikipedia article on The Secret
Wikipedia article on What the Bleep do we Know
A bit of a critique of What the Bleep do we Know from the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Reading for week of March 14:

Reading in Hobson - Chapters 14 and 15
Check out the HowStuffWorks article on nuclear bombs and the HowStuffWorks article on nuclear power
Read the short article What is fusion? by General Atomics
The following are for fun (not required reading for P102):
Cool films of nuclear blasts if you are into that kind of thing - from the Nat'l Nuclear Security Administration
Poke around on the UR Laboratory for Laser Energetics website, particularly this page on inertial confinement fusion
You might have fun poking around the website for the ITER project (International thermonuclear experimental reactor)

Reading for week of March 21:

Reading in Hobson - Chapters 16 and 17
Read chapter 5 in Visions of the Multiverse
Read the the Science News article "The Status Quark" by Siegfried found in your reading folder on BlackBoard
Check out the LHC rap video on youtube
Check out the Fermilab "Accelerating Science" video - a bit less happening than the LHC video, but more informative
Look over the Inquiring Minds section of the Fermilab website
Spend some time looking at the particle adventure

Reading for week of March 28:

Thoughts and questions to consider while reading
Reading in Hobson - Chapters 1 and 11
Read chapter 6 in Visions of the Multiverse
Astronomy magazine article entitled "How the Big Bang Forged the First Elements" by UR's own Adam Frank (found in BlackBoard)
Scientific American article entitled "The Universe" by Michael Turner (Found in BlackBoard)

Reading for week of April 4:

Thoughts and questions to consider while reading
Read chapter 7 in Visions of the Multiverse
Yam, "Everyday Einstein"
Astronomy magazine article entitled "Seeing the Dawn of Time" by Adam Frank
Scientific American article entitled "The Cosmic Symphony" by Wayne Hu and Martin White
WMAP tutorial on our universe - in PDF form on BlackBoard, can also be found online at

Reading for week of April 11:

Thoughts and questions to consider while reading
Read chapter 8 in Visions of the Multiverse
Check out the basics of string theory on the "Official String Theory Website" created by Patricia Schwarz
Discover magazine article entitled "Before the Big Bang" by Michael Lemonick
In the reading folder on BlackBoard -
Scientific American article entitled "The String Theory Landscape" by Raphael Bousso and Joseph Polchinski
Scientific American article entitled "The Inflation Debate" by Paul Steinhardt

Reading for week of April 18 and week of April 25:

Thoughts and questions to consider while reading
Read chapter 9 in Visions of the Multiverse
Discover magazine article entitled "Is the Universe Really Made of Math?" by Adam Frank (interview with Max Tegmark)
In the reading folder on BlackBoard -
"Is the Universe Fine-Tuned for Us" - Victor Stenger
New Scientist article "How to map the multiverse" by Anil Ananthaswami
"Philosophy of the Multiverse" by Govert Schilling
"Parallel Universes" - Max Tegmark - This is an excellent overview of many multiverse ideas. I think chunks of this article are inaccessible and chunks are quite readable. Go through it and pick up what you can and don't worry about the places where he uses too much technical lingo.

Applets (copyright UR and Truth & Beauty software)

Electric field
Electromagnetic waves


Lect 1 - January 12, 2011 - Intro to course, Overview of Tegmark's multiverse taxonomy, human bias - (audio in 64kbps mp3 format)

Lect 2 - January 19, 2011 - Multiverse taxonomies, The human experience, nature of science - (audio in 64kbps mp3, with unfortunate background sounds due to way microphone was attached ... sorry 'bout that)

Lect 3 - January 24, 2011 - Nature of science, space, time, Kinematic variables, Newton's laws - (audio in 64kbps mp3)

Lect 4 - January 26, 2011 - Newton's laws, start of special relativity - (audio)

Lect 5 - January 31, 2011 - Special relativity, forces and fields (audio)

Lect 6 - February 2, 2011 - Fields and waves (audio)

Lect 7 - February 7, 2011 - Electromagnetic waves (no audio for this lecture ... sorry about that)

Lect 9 - February 9, 2011 - Electromagnetic waves, the beginning of quantum mechanics (audio)

Lect 10 - February 14, 2011 - Wave-particle duality (audio)

Lect 11 - February 16, 2011 - de Broglie, atomic spectra, start of Bohr model of the atom (audio)

Lect 12 - February 21, 2011 - Some Q&A for exam I, Bohr model (audio)

Lect 13 - February 28, 2011 - Multi-electron atoms, a bit on chemistry, start of quantum wave functions (audio)

Lect 14 - March 2, 2011 - Quantum probabilities and quantum wierdness (audio)

Lect 15 - March 14, 2011 - Quantum uncertainty (audio)

Lect 16 - March 16, 2011 - Nuclear physics (audio)

Lect 17 - March 21, 2011 - Nuclear physics, stars, beginning of particle physics (no audio unfortunately)

Lect 18 - March 23, 2011 - Particle physics file 1, Particle physics file 2 (This file is in ppt rather than PDF because of a technical glitch, sorry) (audio)

Lect 19 - March 28, 2011 - Man's place in the cosmos, general relativity, beginning of big bang cosmology (audio)

Lect 20 - March 30, 2011 - big bang cosmology (audio)

Lect 21 - April 4, 2011 - Problems with the big bang, inflation (audio)

Lect 22 - April 6, 2011 - Inflation, a bit on dark energy, dark matter, learning from the CMB (audio)

Lect 23 - April 11, 2011 - Review of inflation and associated multiverses, start of string theory (audio)

Lect 24 - April 13, 2011 - More on string theory and the cosmic landscape (audio)

Lect 25 - April 25, 2011 - The cosmic landscape and start of mathematical multiverse (audio)

Lect 26 - April 27, 2011 - Mathematical multiverse, taxonomy reprise, coming in the near future to a multiverse near you (audio)


Recitation modules:

Recitation 1 - for week starting January 24
Recitation 2 - for week starting January 31
Recitation 3 - for week starting February 7
Recitation 4 - for week starting February 14
Recitation 5 - for week starting February 21
Recitation 6 - for week starting March 14
Recitation 7 - for week starting March 21
Recitation 8 - for week starting March 28

Recitation 9 - for week starting April 4
Recitation 10 - for week starting April 11