The world around us is amazing, the natural world as well as the world of everything that we humans have created. And the deep awe we feel looking at the whole is only enhanced by examining the parts in detail. Many perspectives can be useful in this examination: the function and purpose of a thing, or its artistic merit, or the consequences it has on its environment.
I have been trained to use the physical and scientific lens to look at the world, exposing beauty and intrigue that’s usually inaccessible. I recently finished a PhD in physics and nanoscience at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on the transport of optically generated electrons in nanocrystals. I found the material fascinating, but I also found that I enjoy talking with many different people about both the science I do and other scientific topics. So, my goal writing here is to discuss some of the things I find interesting in a way that non-scientists can understand.
We’ll look at some of the cool things that you start to see around you when you learn about physics, with an eventual focus on the electronic behaviors of materials. I will cover a lot of topics that I find interesting, from logical computing to sensors to bioelectronics. And I’ll go over some background topics, too, like atoms, mass, charge, and the weirdness of quantum physics, to show how electronic behavior also affects things like biological functions and the properties of materials. This affects the life of anyone with a computer, a mobile phone, or access to an Internet connection: more of us each day.
It’s interesting to know a bit more about how the devices you rely on work. But it’s also another perspective on day-to-day life, and the more perspectives we gather, the more we’re truly able to see.