Fall 2005

Description/Text Book
Topic Prerequisites
"The theory of wave mechanics, however bizarre it may appear - and it is so in some respects, has the astonishing virtue that it works..."
[Ernest Rutherford]

"We cannot know, as a matter of principle, the present in all its details."
[Werner Karl Heisenberg]

"God may be subtle, but He is not malicious."
"God does not play dice with the universe."

[Albert Einstein]

If anybody says he can think about quantum problems without getting giddy, that only shows he has not understood the first thing about them.
[Niels Bohr]

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A detailed introduction to quantum mechanics including blackbody radiation, the photoelectric effect, DeBroglie's postulate, the Bohr model of the atom, Schrödinger's equation, one-electron atoms, spin, transition rates, and quantum statistics. Prerequisite: PHYS 252, MATH 232. Three credits.

R. Eisberg & R. Resnick, Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles (2nd ed.)


Instructor: Dr. John Varriano
Office: 108 Science Bldg.
Phone: 3439 (office)     452-5940 (home)

Office Hours:
Check my posted
schedule for official office hours. Feel free to come by at other times to see if I am in.


1. To understand some of the experimental background that led to the development of the quantum theory (modern physics).
2. To understand the basic principles of the formal theory of quantum mechanics.
3. To learn how to apply the theory to certain physical situations. To interpret the results of the application of the theory.
4. To improve your mathematical skill and your analytic reasoning skill, which are both needed to be a successful physicist.
5. To deepen your appreciation of Nature.


Topic Prerequisites:
- introductory, classical physics concepts (force, momentum, energy)
- 3-dimensional calculus and geometry - basic techniques for solving differential equations



Part 1: Experimental basis of Quantum Theory (Ch. 1,2,4)
     - probability distributions, kinetic theory of gases
     - thermal radiation, photoelectric effect, x-ray production, Compton scattering
     - Bohr model of the atom
Part 2: Formalization of Quantum Mechanics (Ch. 3,5,6)
     - deBroglie wavelength, wave-particle duality, uncertainty principle
     - Schrödinger's Equation
     - 1-D time independent potentials: barriers, wells, simple harmonic oscillator
     - operator theory, Dirac notation (hand-out)
Part 3: Applications of Quantum Mechanics (Ch. 7-9,11)
     - one-electron atoms: energy, angular momentum, spin, transition rates
     - multielectron atoms: exclusion principle
     - systems of particles: quantum statistics


There will be 2 tests during the semester, one near midterm and one near the end of the semester. Each test will contribute 15% to your final grade. There will be a comprehensive final exam. The final exam will contribute 20% to your final grade. The remaining 50% of your grade will come from collected homework problems. Your final grade will be determined using the following scale.

0-59.9% - F / 60-69.9% - D / 70-79.9% - C / 80-89.9% - B / 90-100% - A


Collected homework problems will usually be due one week after they are assigned. Each problem is worth 10 points. Late problems will be accepted with a 1-point penalty per day. After 5 days, the penalty will not increase beyond 5 points and problems can be turned in up until the last day of classes. I will simply divide your homework point total by the maximum possible total to get a percentage. Fifty percent of this percentage will count to your final percentage as described above. Other problems will be assigned but not collected. See the
Problem Outline for a listing of all of the problems.


Let me know beforehand if you are going to miss a test so that other arrangements can be made. If you miss a test without warning, a make-up test can be taken with a 20% penalty.


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