Physics 290 Quantum Physics Fall 2014

Quantum Physics / Fall 2014
MWF 10am Labs T/W 1-4
Professors Brian Collett (Lecture & T Lab) { Office G070, x4704 }
& Ann Silversmith (W Lab) { Office G054, x4705 }

This is the first time that I have taught this course for a number of years so I am even less sure than usual about the pace of the course. We spend our first week reviewing some classical physics (especially waves) and then start in chapter 1. We will try to cover chapters 1-9 of E&R and hope to have some time at the end of the semester to talk about the philosophical interpretations of Quantum Mechanics. A tentative schedule with rough readings can be found here.


This course expects to continue and extend the mathematical sophistication of Physics 195. We will remind ourselves about ideas of differential equations including the wave-equation and the use of Fourier methods and you should expect to build experience solving partial differential equations and continue to improve your familiarity with complex (that is, real & imaginary) functions. You will use the spreadsheet program Excel extensively to do data analysis for lab work. You may use Excel or any other program you are familiar with to do basic mathematics like graphing functions, integrating numerically etc. I will probably use a computer algebra program, Maple or Mathematica, at least in my examples and may introduce some homework that uses Maple or Mathematica.


The grade for the course will be based on homework, labs, and exams as follows:

Homework Problem Sets

You will receive weekly reading and homework assignments. 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 that. Please get your problem sets in on time! Assignments and solutions will be posted on Blackboard.


Lab begins next week with an investigation blackbody radiation. All experimental work and analysis will be done with a lab partner. Always plan to spend 3 hours in lab. As indicated on the schedule, we will not have lab during the weeks when midterm exams are scheduled. You will keep your lab journals in 3-ring binders as there will be a lot of computer materials to integrate with your handwritten notes. Thus you will need a 1" ring-binder and paper. The lab will have a 3-hole punch. At the end of each lab you will hand in only the sheets from that week so that you always have the rest of the work available to you.

Final remarks

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!

My personal opinion: this topic is really extremely cool and fun. As the semester progresses, I hope you find yourselves agreeing with me.


Physics 290