Freshman Seminar: The Wave Nature of the Universe

Course Description:
We are surrounded by waves: light waves, sound waves, microwaves, radio-waves, etc. These everyday occurrences play a critical role in how and why our universe is the way it is and how and why we perceive the universe as it is. This course will introduce students to the fundamental nature of waves, their properties, their use in science and art and the consequences associated with living in a wave universe. Specific issues will be addressed such as how wave properties lead to a natural discrete or quantum world and how the properties of waves can be used to create three-dimensional light sculptures in space. Each student will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of wave principles to create a three-dimensional artistic holographic image.

Course Format:
The class will meet once per week for 55 minutes. Each week a topic will be introduced with a short lecture providing appropriate basic concepts. The remainder of the time will be devoted to the discussion. Readings (typically 1-5 pages) will be provided the previous week for the topic to be covered. The reading materials used in the course will be available on the course web site. The last two class meetings will be devoted for students to make and present their holograms in the Art/Physics holography laboratory.

Course Objectives:
This course will introduce the student to the fundamental nature of waves and the role they play in our universe. The manipulation of light waves through holography will be used to illustrate these principles. Students will have the opportunity to create three-dimensional holographic images.

Upon successful completion of the course, the student will:
    - gain an understanding of properties of waves
    - gain an understanding of uses of waves in art and science
    - gain an understanding of how the quantum world and its statistical
         nature are an outcomes of waves
    - learn how to create a hologram using the properties of waves
    - enhance their skills in making a scientific argument

Recommended Book:
Practical Holography by Outwater and Hamersveld