Aim of course
To explain the distinctive properties of large structures in fluids such as colloids, polymers and surfactant assemblies, as inferred by physical laws and as measured by physical techniques. These distinctive properties characterize what has come to be called "soft matter." They occur in living organisms and in much practical technology. We shall emphasize behavior that occurs independent of whether the system is living or not. These fluids obey powerful and general laws in the limit where the structural elements become asymptotically large. These laws govern how the characteristic spatial dimensions, response times and interaction energies of these structures scale with the number of atoms in these structures. In this way we account for robust features such as the growth of the viscosity of a polymer solution with the cube of the molecular weight, or the growth of the size of a wormlike micelle as the square root of the concentration.
Lecturer: Tom Witten, Gordon Center (GCIS) room E227 email@example.com
Office hour: I plan to be available immediately after each class for questions on the material.
Other times are available by appointment.
Teaching assistant: Wynton Moore firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hour: 5:30 Tuesdays, Kersten 3rd floor
Lecture, Tuesday, Thursday 12:00--1:20, room KPTC 105
Discussion, led by TA, combined with office hour.
Level and Prerequisites
The course is intended for advanced undergraduates in physical science. The prior courses
you need are
- a calculus-level introductory physics sequence such as Physics 131--133
- an introductory statistical physics course such as Physics 197.
- knowledge of Fourier transforms is very desirable for our study of scattering.
Work for credit
To help you grasp the material, I have made up some problems to work. The "assignments" linked in the navigation bar above shows the current assignments, due dates and other details. Problems will be assigned most weeks and are due the following week.
I plan to have a midterm during class on Thursday, February 7
An experimental report will be due on Tuesday, March 12. Suitable experiments will be suggested along with the problem sets. Experiments may be with real materials or with simple computer simulations. The suggested experiments are informal ones aimed at answering a simple question. The experimental report should be roughly three pages long. It should state the purpose of the experiment, describe how it was performed, report the experimental data, and discuss how this data supports or disagrees with the hypothesis being studied. I will ask you to describe the project will do around February 26.
the final exam will probably be in the canonical time slot.
Web site for course information
I will use the university's instructional site Chalk to communicate with you and distribute information. If you log onto this site, you will see a link to this course on the right hand side. Please keep tabs on the Chalk site for announcements, last minute changes, etc. The page you are reading now and other course materials are maintained on a separate server, but your primary source is the Chalk site.
My current plan for the lectures is linked from the navigation bar at the top of the page.