What is the Higgs Boston Particle and what role does it play in the Stranard Model? Dr. Steven Pollock partners with The Great Courses to help you answer these questions.
Would you like to know how the universe works? The science that has found many of the answers to that profound and age-old question is particle physics: the study of those impossibly tiny particles with unbelievably strange names: bosons and leptons, quarks and neutrinos.
In Particle Physics for Non-Physicists: A Tour of the Microcosmos, Professor Steven Pollock translates the language of the remarkable science that, in only 100 years, has unlocked the secrets of the basic forces of nature. You will become familiar with the fundamental particles that make up all matter, from the tiniest microbe to the sun and stars. You will also learn the "rules of the game"—the forces the particles feel and the ways they interact—that underlie the workings of the universe.
This course is designed to be enriching for everyone, regardless of scientific background or mathematical ability. Virtually all you will need to enjoy and benefit from it are curiosity, common sense, and "an open mind for the occasional quantum weirdness," according to Professor Pollock. As he leads you through the seemingly complex but surprisingly understandable field of particle physics, Professor Pollock offers:
A tour and explanation of the "particle zoo," the name that scientists give to the alien-sounding creatures—the hadrons and leptons, baryons and mesons, muons and gluons—that are the smallest bits of matter and energy that exist. They inhabit a world that is impossibly small: 10-15 meters or less.
A knowledge of how these particles fit into perhaps the greatest scientific theory of all time: the Standard Model of particle physics. This theory says that everything in the universe is made up of particles that interact according to fairly simple and well-understood rules. It is as much a masterpiece in the field of science, Professor Pollock asserts, as the collected works of William Shakespeare are in literature.
Easily understandable explanations, often through the use of such simple analogies and images as snowflakes, mirrors, and rubber bands, of such terms as "quantum chromodynamics," "gauge symmetry," and "unified quantum field theory."
An appreciation of how particle physics fits together with other branches of physics—such as cosmology and quantum mechanics—to create our overall understanding of nature.