Buy my new book, published by Springer:

Quirky Quantum Concepts
Physical, Conceptual, Geometric, and Pictorial Physics that Didn't Fit in Your Textbook


Locally at the UCSD bookstore:

Quirky Quantum Concepts


From Springer: Quirky Quantum Concepts

From Amazon: Quirky Quantum Concepts


Eric L. Michelsen

UCSD Physics

Web page rev 5/17/2017

Public speaking:  I enjoy speaking to interested groups about physics, and Science for Human Rights.  See some of my slide sets below.

Past Teaching:           Phys 110A Classical Mechanics, Fall 2013.

Phys 2B Electricity and Magnetism: Spring 2013, Winter 2014

Physics 1B Electricity and Magnetism, Spring 2012:

Physics 130B Quantum Mechanics, Fall 2011:

Physics 2C, Winter 2011, Spring 2011:

Personal web page:

Personal Amnesty Internation page:


“To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.”  --George Orwell


 “But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.  Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.  That is easy.  All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.  It works the same in any country.”  --Hermann Goering

Light curve processing:

Version 8/10/2012:     Windows: lightcurve.exe        Manual: lightcurve.pdf

Python plotting scripts:           

Presentations for the Public:

San Diego Philosophy Forum:            SD_PhilosophyForum.pdf

Biomedical Ethics

Reuben H. Fleet Senior Mondays

Reuben H. Fleet Ethics in Science

Rotary Club and Optimists Club

3rd Grade Science Class

SD Wetlab Citizen Science     SD_Wetlab.pdf

Scientific and Engineering Presentations:

Quantum Decoherence: Real and Fake (PDF)

Monte Carlo and Markov Chain Monte Carlo           

Periodicity and Lomb-Scargle

Period: End of Story?  Updated algorithms for improved period detection.

What’s not wrong with Super_Luminal_Neutrinos.pdf  (PDF)

Introduction to Gravitomagnetism  (powerpoint)

Signaling and Modulation     Baseband signaling and carrier modulation
We Deliver    Repeating, Bridging, Switching, and Routing
IP (Internet Protocol) Operation    Technical details of how IP operates
Layer 2 Framing    Technical details of some bit stream formatting methods: HDLC, Ethernet, DS1 & 3

Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) Quality of Service (QOS)

Digital Security

San Diego Computer Conference: Introduction to Data Communication

Unofficial Word template for APS:

Unofficial Word template for AmJP:

Instructor Tools:    Tips for UCSD Physics Instructors    (includes full documentation for ‘testmake’ and ‘scangrade’)


testmake creates multiple forms of a test

            New version 2.0: calculates numeric answers and decoys with arbitrary arithmetic expressions that you provide

testmake takes a text input file of multiple choice questions and answers, and produces multiple versions (“forms”) of the test. 

New version 1.3: scangrade simplifies Scantron grading


Windows versions:      scangrade.exe  testmake.exe  

Linux and Mac versions available on request.  Please let me know.


eat bitmaps, spambots!

Cool research project:    Lunar Laser Ranging 

Office: SERF-317: 3rd floor, NE corner, Science and Engineering Research Facility, building just east of the bookstore
Mail code 0424
Office phone:              858-822-2018
Lab: SERF-464   
Lab phone:                  858-822-1410
Fax SERF 3rd floor:   858-534-0177

Apollo system notes
Apollo Houston Control Manual
Laser programming
Unofficial Coding Guidelines

Cool laser photo



Fun web pages:

Beauty, Life, and Logarithms:

Slow motion at a trillion frames per second, literally. You can see a light pulse travel across the table, and through a bottle.  The video at the bottom is the best, including both slo-mo scenes, and describing how it works.  There are also FAQs.


Faces of the Moon           The Elements Song, by Tom Lehrer             Physics Songs
Cornstarch, The Movie

Cool slo-mo Slinky fall:

Free source code: Keyword parameter library, header filesample program

Trigonometry Simplified (2 diagrams)

The purpose of the “Funky” series of documents is to help develop an accurate physical, conceptual, geometric, and pictorial understanding of important physics topics.  We focus on areas that don’t seem to be covered well in most texts we’ve seen.  The documents are intended for serious students of physics.  They are not “popularizations” or oversimplifications, though they try to start simply, and build to more advanced topics.  Physics includes math,  and we’re not shy about it, but we also don’t hide behind it.  Without a conceptual understanding, math is gibberish. 

These are all works in progress.  Please send me your comments.  Now with PDF hyperlinks and physical constants!

Quirky Quantum Concepts.pdf
Revised frequently 4/2014

Now published in paperback by Springer.

QuirkyQuantumUpdates expands on the critically acclaimed Quirky Quantum Concepts.

Wave mechanics, 1D scattering, matrix mechanics, angular momentum, spin-1/2, updated quantum electromagnetic interactions.

"This is really well written, and the concepts are explained confidently and clearly.  Great idea."  -- physics research associate

Funky Mathematical Physics Concepts.pdf
Revised 11/3/2014

Latest: Major upgrade to linear regression, and statistics.

Numerical analysis, statistics, Laplacian operator, tensors, much more.

“... most excellent tensor paper....  I feel I have come to a deep and abiding understanding of relativistic tensors....  The best explanation of tensors seen anywhere!”  -- physics graduate student

Funky ElectromagneticConcepts.pdf
Revised 1/5/2016

The Myth of the Headless Vector, relativistic E&M, circuits, waves, polarization vectors, ...

"Finally, a systematic approach to boundary value problems."  -- physics graduate student

Funky Statistical Mechanics Concepts Revised 11/20/2015

Boltzmann distribution, entropy, free energy, meet Mr. Mole, chemical potential, black body radiation, Bose-Einstein condensation ...

Funky Mechanics Concepts
Revised 2/4/2015: Derivation of Hamilton’s Principle from F=ma.

Early version of mechanics concepts, from basic principles through Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, including rotation, constraints, oscillations, and more.

Funky Relativity Concepts
Revised 2/4/2015: Derivation of free-fall as trajectory of maximal proper time.

Special and General Relativity: relativistic mechanics, valid reference frames, spacetime diagrams, and more.


A simple introduction to microcontrollers for those who’ve never seen one.

I'm actively seeking feedback on these docs, so please send me email with any reactions and/or suggestions.  

Other  stuff:    Skeleton Calculus.pdf