Course: History of Great Ideas in Physics

« Back
Course title History of Great Ideas in Physics
Course code KFY/EIPKF
Organizational form of instruction Lecture + Seminary
Level of course not specified
Year of study not specified
Semester Summer
Number of ECTS credits 5
Language of instruction English
Status of course unspecified
Form of instruction Face-to-face
Work placements This is not an internship
Recommended optional programme components None
Course availability The course is available to visiting students
  • Blažek Josef, doc. RNDr. CSc.
Course content
In each lesson unit the teacher's introductory talk is followed by students' presentations. Final choice of topics is specified after consultations with students. Preliminary suggestions: - Concepts of space and time from antiquity to modern times - The Aristotelian physics - 'The Copernican Turn' in science - Newton: his life, work and philosophy - Thermodynamics and its consequences (entropy, arrow of time, ) - Atoms in the history of human thought - Let there be light: The history of theories of light - Einstein: his life, work and philosophy - History of quantum mechanics, its paradoxes and interpretations (more topics) - Models of the Universe: From Geocentric to Multiverse theories - Open problems: dark matter, dark energy, origin and future of the universe

Learning activities and teaching methods
Monologic (reading, lecture, briefing), Work with multi-media resources (texts, internet, IT technologies)
  • Semestral paper - 18 hours per semester
  • Class attendance - 28 hours per semester
Learning outcomes
For students interested in the history of Science. The lecture, designed without using mathematics and professional terminology, acquaints students with several revolutionary discoveries in physics, their historical backgrounds and philosophical reflections.
The students will get to know that groundbreaking physics discoveries and theories have not only the technological consequences but also influence our thinking and culture. The students will realize that there is no sharp borderline between natural sciences and humanities.
Basic knowledge of elementary school physics

Assessment methods and criteria
Colloquium, Seminar work

Recommended literature
  • Collection of popular science talks.
  • D. Park. The How and the Why. Princeton University Press, 1988.
  • D. Rickles. The Philosophy of Physics. Polity Press, 2016.
  • K. Simonyi. A Cultural History of Physics. CRC Press, 2012.

Study plans that include the course
Faculty Study plan (Version) Category of Branch/Specialization Recommended year of study Recommended semester