Princeton Splash
Welcome to Princeton Splash, a student-run organization at Princeton University

Splash Biography


Major: Mathematics

College/Employer: Princeton

Year of Graduation: 2018

Picture of Zane Friedkin

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Not Available.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

S254: Literally How The Universe Works. (Statistical Mechanics!) in Splash Spring 15 (Apr. 25, 2015)
Have you ever wondered how the universe works?! We bet you have. How are we so confident, you ask? We've been stalking you and know exactly what you've been thinking about. jk. But there's a nifty equation called the Grand Canonical Partition Function that tells us it's pretty likely: $$P(E) = \frac{e^{\beta(N\mu- E)}}{\mathcal{Z}(\mu, V, T)}$$ $$ \text{where} \quad \mathcal{Z} (\mu, V, T) = \sum_i e^{(N_i\mu_i - E_i)/k_BT} $$ ...sort of. Unfortunately we can't stalk every single one of you, in the same way that we can't stalk every single atom in the universe, so we come up with equations that describe the behavior of lots and lots of particles. And believe it or not, the universe has A LOT of particles! This kind of en-masse analysis, called statistical mechanics or probabilistic physics, lies at the heart of much of our understanding of the world. In fact, large portions of chemistry and biology are dependent on statistical physics! We'll derive the Boltzmann Distribution to answer some really cool questions like: What is temperature, really? How is energy partitioned across dimensions? Where does classical mechanics get it wrong? Is the US Supreme Court just an Ising magnet that happens to be made out of humans? And is biological life an inevitable consequence of thermodynamics? In fact, we'll show that the remarkable and universal properties of energy can be applied to any energetic system. (Note: this class will be fairly mathy, but everything will be described qualitatively as well so you should be able to follow along even if the math gets too hard core. The material is rigorous but we're gonna have the chillest time!)