Physics 290 Quantum Physics Fall 2012

Course Instructions


A. Silversmith (x4704, Office: Science G054  Lab: Science G072)

Class Time:

Lectures:  MWF 10am.  Science G047,  Labs:  Tues.and Wed. 1:00 pm in Science G036


Primary   Tipler and Llewellyn, “Modern Physics” sixth edition. 

Integral Tables:  You should already have access to an integral table.  I highly recommend Schaum’s outline on “Mathematical Handbook of Formulas and Tables.” It is a very handy reference and it is inexpensive.  Maple usually works too.

Error Analysis: Your should already have “An Introduction to Error Analysis” by John Taylor.  We will use the first four chapters extensively in lab. If you cannot find your copy, the chapters are up on BBoard.


Our goal is to learn about the basic ideas of quantum physics and how to apply those ideas to simple systems, in particular to atoms. We will study and develop basic mathematical tools for predicting the behavior of quantum systems, we will apply those methods, and finally interpret the solutions in physical terms.

I am not sure how the pace of the course will go. We will hope to cover chapters 1 and 3-8 of T&R and have time at the end to talk about the philosophical interpretations of Quantum Mechanics. Chapters 5, 6, and 7 form the core of the course material.


Labs and class participation 25%, problem sets 25%, two exams and a cumulative final 50%.



Homework will be due at the beginning of class on Fridays.  You are encouraged to discuss questions with classmates, but what you write must be your own words and must reflect your own understanding, and you must cite those who contribute significant ideas.  Please remember the honor code.  You must cite anything you find online or in Schaum’s Integral Table.  Late problem sets will be marked down 20% if they come in after I begin class, and will not be accepted after I have given out the solutions (usually the next class period). I will drop the lowest homework grade.

The process of problem solving is more important than getting the right answer.  Homework is not an exercise to get the right answer, it is a presentation, convincing me that your answer is correct.  Show your work in some logical fashion and make notes at steps where the reasoning might not be clear.  Write down where you got a value or how you solved an integral (Schaum, Maple, etc.).  No credit is given for mere correct answers.  Underlining or highlighting key steps and results can make your reasoning clearer.  Always include units and significant figures!



My office hours are posted on my door.  Please try to come during these times.  If necessary you can set up a time to see me, call ahead to see if I am in, or find me in my office or my lab.


Labs will meet in Science G036.  Makeup labs will be provided only in very special cases.  Lab books will be graded and returned the next week.



I will give occasional short lists of general knowledge facts.  You will be responsible for remembering these on the exams.


Two exams will be givenin weeks 5 adn 10 as noted on the syllabus.  Material for the midterms and final will draw heavily on the homework since that is the material that I find important.  The final will cover the whole course but will emphasize the material covered after the last midterm. 

You will be given an equation sheet before each exam.  This will include equations that you should know how to use, but which you will probably look up if you need them in practice.  The most basic equations will not be listed since you should know them already.


Physics 290