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Undergraduate Program

The Kapitza Society

In 2016 the “Kapitza Society” was created by Jean Weill in honor of the “Kapitza Club” founded by Peter Kapitza in the 1920s in Cambridge. Our goal is simple: to bring together a small team of elite students with an insatiable thirst for knowledge in order to explore theoretical physics outside of our classes. Each session revolves around a lecture by a society member. We meet once a week – thirty minutes for practice problems, then one hour and thirty minutes for theory. We have studied a variety of topics, all at the graduate level: differential geometry, particle physics, Lie algebras, quantum field theory, and quantum information theory.


Current Members (2018-2019):

Previous Members:

Topics Covered:

Kapitza society group photo 2018-19

Cosmology (Spring 2019):
  • Resources Used:

"Modern Cosmology" by Scott Dodelson

  • Projects:

Tri Nguyen: "The Fundamentals of Cosmology"

Jeremy Atkins: "The Boltzmann Equation for Photons and Dark Matter"

David Mayrhofer: "The Basic Tools and Questions of Cosmology"

Fatima Zaidouni: "The Source of Curvature"

Byron Osterweil: "Non-Equilibrium Universal Evolution"

Tyler Perlman: "Boltzmann Equation for Photons"

Kyhl Weber: "Introduction to and Simple Applications of the Boltzmann Equation"



Black Hole Physics (Fall 2018):
  • Resources Used: 

“Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity” by James B. Hartle

  • Projects:

Tri Nguyen: "From Gravitational Collapse to Black Holes"

Jeremy Atkins: "Solving the Geodesic Equation"

David Mayrhofer: "First Order Approximations in General Relativity"

Fatima Zaidouni: "Gravitational Lensing"

Byron Osterweil: "The Schwartzchild Geometry"

Tyler Perlman: "Gravitational Waves"

Kyhl Weber: "Kerr Geometry and Rotating Black Holes" 

Quantum Field Theory II (Spring 2018): 
  • Resources Used:

“Lectures on Quantum Field Theory” by Ashok Das

  • Projects:

Jeremy Atkins: "The Free Klein Gordon Field Theory"

David Mayrhofer: "Complex Solutions to the Klein-Gordon Equation"

Logan Meredith: "Helicity, chirality, and the Dirac equation in the non-relativistic limit"

Tri Nguyen: "Field Interactions"

Ben Saltzman:"Second Quantization of the Klein-Gordon Equation"

Jean Weill: "The Dirac Equation"

Quantum Information Theory I (Fall 2017):
  • Resources Used:

“Quantum Information Theory” by Mark M. Wilde (2nd edition)

  • Projects:

Logan Meredith: "The CHSH game as a Bell test thought experiment" 

Ben Saltzman:"Noisy Quantum Measurement" 

Jean Weill: "Statistical and Quantum Mechanics"  

 kapitza 2016-2017

Quantum Field Theory (Spring 2017):
  • Resources Used:

“Quantum Field Theory” by Franz Mandl and Graham Shaw (2nd edition)

  • Projects:

Sanha Cheong:“Example of Lowest-Order Processes in QED”

Adam Lott: "Introduction to Lagrangian Field Theory"

Logan Meredith: “Calculating Transition Amplitudes from Feynman Diagrams”

Jean Weill: “Lagrangian Field Theory”

Emily Windes: “From Harmonic Oscillators to Fields”

Mathematics and Particle Physics (Fall 2016):
  • Resources Used:

“Symmetry and the Standard Model” by Matthew Robinson (1st edition)

“Introduction to Elementary Particles” by David Griffiths (2nd edition)

“Lie Groups, Lie Algebras, and Representations” by Brian C. Hall (2nd edition).

  • Projects:

Jean Weill: "Introduction to Special Relativity”

Differential Geometry (Spring 2016):
  • Resources Used:

“Elementary Differential Geometry” by Barrett O’ Neil (2nd edition)

Lecture notes for Differential Geometry made by James S. Cook for a class he taught at the Liberty University, which can be found on this site:

  • Projects:

Jean Weill: “Calculus on Euclidean Space”