Coe's Thursday Forum closes year with quantum physics

Extra: Lonnie Zingula, Associate Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8613 or

2014-03-20 09:30:24 - General

Professor Ugur Akgun

Coe College's Thursday Forum calendar closes the academic year in April with a series on the importance of quantum physics in the last century. Focusing on the major historical figures and their achievements, Physics Professor Ugur Akgun will explain these groundbreaking developments in plain language for the general public.

The series starts April 3 with the discovery of the electron, nucleus, and the quantum behavior of nature. Max Planck invented quantum physics just as a mathematical tool, and never believed that it would describe reality.

The second session explores the philosophical discussion about the significance of quantum physics between two of the brightest minds of the 20th century: Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein. Attendees will review the consequences of the "Copenhagen Interpretation" of Bohr, and Einstein's "gedanken" experiments to prove him wrong.

The atomic race on both sides of World War II highlights the April 17 lecture. The Manhattan Project will be reviewed through the biographies of great American physicists J. Robert Oppenheimer and Richard Feynman. The German atomic bomb project leader Werner Heisenberg's journey, and Allied efforts to slow the project down, will be discussed.

The fourth session summarizes our current understanding of the universe. Akgun will finish the series with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Project and its goals. In the finale, participants will learn about the discovery of the Higgs Boson, as well as future goals of physicists such as supersymmetry, missing antimatter, dark matter, and dark energy.

Thursday Forum lectures are held in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall on the Coe campus. Each session begins with coffee and pastries from 8:45-9:15 a.m., followed by the class until 11:30 a.m. A luncheon is offered at the conclusion of each series.

The courses are open to all adults. The cost is $30 for a four-week course paid on the first day, or $12 per week. The closing luncheons cost an additional $8. Thursday Forum gift certificates are available. For more information about the Coe College Thursday Forum lecture series, call (319) 399-8619.