The Arrow of Time: Studies of Decay, Entropy, and Timekeeping

Amitabh Lath (Physics and Astronomy)

In this seminar, we will investigate the concept of The Arrow Of Time by first understanding entropy. We will learn to use the Python programming language to calculate probabilities, and from that develop an understanding of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics. We will discuss the ideas of entropy and decay as they appear in literature and culture, including the hold they have in the collective imagination that leads to the rejection of quantitative metrics that show disease, war, and violence decreasing, and the average human condition improving. Finally, we will divide into groups to design and construct working time measurement devices.  Using commonly available materials, the groups will make devices to measure one hour as accurately as possible.  No clocks allowed!

Fall 2020
Transfer Course