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Lecture Notes

Statistical Mechanics through the lens of Protein Biophysics
An incomplete sketch of a short seminar series I held in early 2023, when excitement was brewing about new generative models for protein structure.
Notes on Statistical Mechanics II (Physics 171)
Detailed and elucidating, with a little personal touch.
Notes on Fourier Analysis (EE 261)
A rather unnecessary side project—this course has really good course materials—but it was fun while it lasted.
Notes on biochemistry
An interesting experiment from the 2018 holiday season. I bit off way more than I could chew. Turns out the best way to learn to swim is not to jump into the deep end of the pool!


Favorite Papers
An examplar of poor taste!
Book Reviews of Statistical Mechanics Textbooks
More opinionated than they ought to be.
Primer on Excited-State Biomolecular Processes
A technical introduction to the quantum dynamics of photosynthetic reaction complexes, written for some friends for a journal club. It is likely full of inaccuracies!
The Trek
A short piece about a nightmarish trek through New York.

Blog Posts

An Ordinary Extraordinary Day
A day in the life of a college student, including a talk on the recent black hole imaging collaboration.
On Intuition and Hessians
Variations on a theme of diagonalizing second derivative matrices.
Sculpture, Youtube, and Probability
Random thoughts on random things.
What's on my mind? March 2019
A simmering stew of dynamical systems, high-dimensional spaces, Fourier Transforms, and a little complex analysis.
Seven Perspectives on Free Energy
In which the free energy is presented from seven different angles.

Interesting Final Papers

Simulating an Ideal Gas to Verify Statistical Mechanics (pdf!)
It's rather remarkable that the properties of a gas can arise from the "kinetic theory" of a bunch of billiard balls bouncing around. I wrote a little molecular dynamics engine to simulate such motion, and I got a hands-on experience of the tenets of statistical mechanics such as the Maxwell-Boltzmann velocity distribution. Here's the report I wrote for my computational physics class.
The Evolution of General Relativity through the Lens of Curvature (pdf!)
Nowadays, scientists talk about Einstein's magnificent theory using words such as "curvature" and "warping the fabric of spacetime"—but a century ago when Einstein first came up with the theory, the language was completely different. At the end of my freshman year, I was curious whether the curvature meteaphor arose from scientists trying to explain the theory to the general public. Here's the research-based argument I wrote for my writing and rhetoric class.
Quantum Decoherence of a Particle on a Circle (pdf!)
At her smallest level, Nature obeys the mystifying and conterintuitive laws of quantum mechanics, yet somehow, in our day-to-day lives, we see a completely different classical world filled with pocketwatches and saucers rather than wavefunctions and superpositions. The theory of decoherence explains how (aspects of) our familiar classical world emerges from the underlying quantum mechanics. In my final project for a grad quantum class, I explored the decoherence of spinning objects (since most other texts only talked about sliding objects!). Notice a common pattern, an obsession with emergence??

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Jeffrey Chang
Last updated on April 19, 2021