MWF 10am Labs W/R 1-4

Professors Brian Collett (Lecture & W Lab) { Office G070,
x4704 }

& Charles Collett ( R Lab) { Office G057, x4182 }

*Quantum Physics: A Fundamental Approach to Modern
Physics*

John S. Townsend

*Hvis man kan sætte sig ind i kvantemekanik uden at
blive svimmel, har man ikke forstået noget af det.* (Niels
Bohr)

*If you can fathom quantum mechanics without getting dizzy, you
don't get it.*(Richard Feynman's translation.)

So far you have studied how the world that you can around
works. Quantum Mechanics is the study of how the underlying microscopic
world that you cannot see works. As you will see, this is an
extraordinarily different world and you may expect to struggle with many
of the ideas. We will begin by looking more carefully than you may yet
have done at how the waves that we can observe behave. We will start to
see the first signs of non-classical behavior in those wavy systems and
then go on to develop the physics and mathematics to describe the
microscopic world. We will do what we can to build understanding, but
the quotes from Bohr and Feynman should prepare you for this to be a
strange world; one where *understanding* may need a different
meaning.

More specifically, my goal is to study the first seven chapters of the text in more or less detail. If we are very lucky then we may get to look a little beyond there and take a peek at particle physics and some of the strange quantum ideas that make it into the media, ideas like quantum teleportation. You can see the current state of my planning for the course in the schedule.

This course expects to continue and extend the mathematical sophistication of Physics 195. We will very early need to improve our acquaintance with complex numbers and particularly with the complex exponentials that form the natural description of all periodic functions. We will remind ourselves about ideas of differential equations including the wave-equation and you should expect to build experience solving partial differential equations by the method of separation of variables. 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 such as graphing functions, integrating numerically etc. I will probably use Mathematica, at least in my examples, and may introduce some homework that uses Mathematica (or Maple if you prefer it).

Like most physics courses, Quantum Physics provides considerable practice toward four of the goals.

- Intellectual Curiosity and Flexibility
- Analytic Discernment
- Disciplinary Practice
- Communication and Expression

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

- Homework will count for 20% of the grade. There will be a
homework set due every Friday at the
**beginning**of class time. It will be graded and returned as soon as I can, usually the next week. You may work together on homework, but please make sure that what you hand in reflects your own understanding, not the understanding of your HW partners. - There will be short (5 minute) in-class quizzes most weeks
that will count for 10% of the final grade.

- Lab will count for another 25% of the grade. There will be specific lab
writing assignments each lab that will be graded. There will also be
questions on homework and on exams that are based your lab work, and they will call
on you to use your lab notebooks, which will be available to you during exams.

- The final 45% of the grade will be calculated from your exam scores. There will be 2 midterms and a final; all three exams will contribute equally to your final grade. The exams will be closed- book exams. Midterms are 3 hours long and will take place during weeks 5 and 10. The final will be cumulative.

You will receive weekly reading and homework assignments. In order to discourage undesirable behavior there will be a flat penalty for late homework of 20% of the homework grade. This will apply until I post the solutions, at which point a grade of 0 will be entered for that assignment. I will still be willing to provide feedback on such ungradable homeworks if you request. Please get your problem sets in on time! Assignments and solutions will be posted on Blackboard.

That being said, sometimes things go wrong and you can tell that you will have serous difficulty getting an assignment in on time. In that case talk to me. I can be quite reasonable about extensions.

The lab for this course has several goals. First, we want to expose you to some of the techniques that experimental physicists have for probing invisibly small systems, and along the way to perform for yourselves some of the foundational experiments that lead to quantum physics. Second, we want to improve your understanding of uncertainty, its sources, how to account for it in all our results, and something about what we can do to reduce it. Finally, we will be working a little on your scientific communication through your lab writeups.

Lab begins in the first **full** week of
classes. All experimental work and analysis will be done with a lab
partner. Always plan to spend at least 3 hours in lab. As indicated on
the schedule, we will not have lab during the weeks when midterm exams
are scheduled. I want you to 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.

Each lab will have a writing assignment of some kind to help develop scientific writing skills. These will be graded. The lab notebooks are yours and will not be graded in any detail. However, there will be homework and lab questions that will test the utility of your notebooks and, in addition, we will collect the lab books at the start of each exam week and look at them. We will provide brief feedback on the high and low points each time and will give simple adequate/inadequate grades after the first time. In each case you will get the notebook back at the start of the exam.

Besides doing problem sets, labs, and quizzes, 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.

Hamilton College will make reasonable accommodations for students with properly documented disabilities. If you are eligible to receive an accommodation(s) and would like to make a formal request for this course, please discuss it with me during the first two weeks of class. You will need to provide Allen Harrison, Associate Dean of Students (Elihu Root House; ext. 4021) with appropriate documentation of your disability. (Text courtesy of Allen Harrison.)