Physics 290 Quantum Physics Fall 2013

Quantum Physics / Fall 2013
MWF 10am Labs T/W 1-4
Professor Ann Silversmith
Office G054, x4704
Research Lab G072 x4739

I am not sure how the pace of the course will go. We spend our first week reviewing classical physics and then start in chapter 1. We will hope to cover chapters 1-8 of E&R and have time at the end of the semester to talk about the philosophical interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.


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 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.


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 the following 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.
  • Lab will count for another 20% of the grade. You will keep a lab notebook, which will be evaluated every week. There will be questions on homework and on exams that are based your lab work, and you can use your lab notebook during exams.
  • The final 60% 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 2 hours long and will take place in weeks 5 and 10. Midterms are scheduled for Wednesdays (10/2 and 11/6) 7-9pm. The final will be cumulative.

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.

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