Quantum Physics / Fall 2008
MWF 10am and TW 1-4
Professor Ann Silversmith Office
Research Lab G072 x4739
Several texts will be used in conjunction with the lectures for this course. If you took 195 last spring you already own three of them.
In addition, you are asked to purchase the following new book at the college store:
The physics you studied in 190 and 195 was well understood during the 19th century. In this course we will start to learn about physics that was developed during the early part of the 20th century. The course is still called "Modern Physics" at many colleges, but in fact we'll be learning about the development of quantum mechanics that took place before 1940. Because 1940 doesn’t seem all that “Modern” anymore, we decided to change the name of the course.
Our goal is to learn about the basic ideas of quantum physics and their applications to simple systems as well as to provide an introduction to some of the more advanced areas of modern (i.e.. post-quantum) physics. We will study the phenomenology of quantum mechanics and develop basic mathematical tools for predicting and understanding the behavior of simple quantum systems and will apply those ideas to some basic systems, particularly to atoms. You will learn to solve simple quantum systems and to interpret the solutions in physical terms.
I am not sure how the pace of the course will go. We will hope to cover the first 8 chapters of E&R and have time to touch on the physics presented in chapter 9. Chapters 5, 6, and 7 form the core of the material.
This course will make free use of basic mathematics through calculus and will move into solution of simple differential equations and partial differential equations. You will use the spreadsheet program Excel extensively to do numerical calculations and to do data analysis for lab work.
The grade for the course will be based on homework, labs, and exams as follows:
You will receive weekly reading and homework assignments. Problem sets will be due at the beginning of class on Wednesdays. In order to discourage undesirable behavior I will charge for late homework at the rate of 20% of the homework grade per day for 2 days and will not accept HW after Friday’s class. Please get your problem sets in on time! Solutions will be posted on either Wednesday or Friday.
Lab begins this week with a group exercise measurement of the speed of light in air. During subsequent weeks, all experimental work and analysis will be done with a lab partner. Lab partners will rotate from week to week. Always plan to spend 3 hours in lab. As indicated on the schedule, we will use two of our lab periods for midterm exams.
I have not provided a pre-planned (day by day) syllabus for this course. I would like to cover through chapter 8 in E&R. Chapters 4-7 will form the core of the material.
Besides doing problem sets, you have the important jobs of keeping on top of the reading and participating fully during classes by asking and answering questions. The success of the course depends on all of us!