Physics 390, Winter 2008: Introduction to Modern Physics

Room: 1230 USB
Time: MWF 11am-12pm

Instructor: Mark Newman
Office: 322 West Hall
Office hours: Thursdays 2-4pm

Grader: Justin Wedes

Problem session leader: Robert Wilson

Description: This course provides an introduction to the physics of the 20th and 21st centuries. The first half of the course deals with the fundamental theory of quantum mechanics, which underlies essentially all of recent physics. The second half deals with applications of quantum mechanics, including atomic physics, statistical and condensed matter physics, nuclear physics and particle physics.

Textbook (required): Modern Physics, 5th edition, Paul A. Tipler and Ralph A. Llewellyn, Freeman, New York (2008), ISBN 0-7167-7550-6. There is also an accompanying web site that goes with the book here. The web site was actually created for the old fourth edition of the book, but the editions are similar enough that the web site is still useful. The publisher also has a "preview" web site for the new edition here, which you can look at if you're interested.

Course work and grading: There will be problem sets most weeks. They will be handed out on Fridays and due in a week later in class. Due dates are noted on the schedule below. No late homeworks will be accepted. The problem sets will also be available in electronic form for download from this web site no later than the Friday morning on which they are handed out.

There will be one mid-term and a final. The mid-term will take place on Wednesday, February 20 from 11am to 12pm in 1230 USB (the usual time and place). The final will take place on Tuesday, April 22 from 1:30pm to 3:30pm in 1230 USB (the usual classroom). Both exams will be open-book, meaning you may bring your copy of Tipler & Llewellyn, but you may not use written notes or solutions to coursework problems. Grade for the course will be 35% on the problem sets, 30% on the mid-term, and 35% on the final.

Problem sets

The list of stable nuclei for Homework 9 is here.

Course schedule:

DateTopicReadingOn-line resourcesNotes
Friday, Jan. 4Intro and concept reviewRelativity reviewTake-home math quiz
Monday, Jan. 7Quantization of mass and charge3.1
Wednesday, Jan. 9Black body radiation3.2
Friday, Jan. 11Photoelectic and Compton effects3.3-3.4 Homework 1 handed out
Monday, Jan. 14Atomic spectra4.1
Wednesday, Jan. 16Rutherford scattering4.2Animation of Rutherford scattering
Friday, Jan. 18The Bohr model of the atom4.3Animation of Bohr modelHomework 1 due, Homework 2 handed out
Monday, Jan. 21No classMartin Luther King Day
Wednesday, Jan. 23X-ray spectra4.4-4.5 Animation of x-ray production
Friday, Jan. 25De Broglie waves5.1-5.2 Homework 2 due, no new homework this week
Monday, Jan. 28Wave functions and wave packets 5.3-5.4Animation of a wave packet
Wednesday, Jan. 30The uncertainty principle 5.5-5.7
Friday, Feb. 1 The Schrodinger equation6.1 Homework 3 handed out
Monday, Feb. 4The square well6.2
Wednesday, Feb. 6Pure states and combinations 6.3Combination of states applet
Friday, Feb. 8Operators6.4 Homework 3 due, Homework 4 handed out
Monday, Feb. 11The simple harmonic oscillator6.5Solution of the harmonic oscillator
Wednesday, Feb. 13Reflection and transmission6.6
Friday, Feb. 15The potential barrier Potential barrier applet Homework 4 due, no new homework this week
Monday, Feb. 18Review session Summary of topics for exam
Wednesday, Feb. 20Mid-term exam Open-book, but no class notes allowed
Friday, Feb. 22No class
Winter BreakNo classHave a great break!
Monday, Mar. 3Quantum mechanics in 3D 7.1
Wednesday, Mar. 5The hydrogen atom7.2
Friday, Mar. 7Angular momentum7.3 Homework 5 handed out
Monday, Mar. 10Spin7.4-7.5
Wednesday, Mar. 12More than one electron 7.6
Friday, Mar. 14The periodic table7.7-7.8 Homework 5 due, Homework 6 handed out
Monday, Mar. 17Statistical mechanics8.1
Wednesday, Mar. 19Quantum statistics 8.2-8.3
Friday, Mar. 21The Fermi gas8.5 Homework 6 due, Homework 7 handed out
Monday, Mar. 24Structure of solids 10.1
Wednesday, Mar. 26Electrical conduction 10.3-10.4
Friday, Mar. 28Magnetism, band structure 10.5-10.6 Homework 7 due, Homework 8 handed out
Monday, Mar. 31Structure of the nucleus 11.1-11.2
Wednesday, Apr. 2Nuclear decay11.3-11.4
Friday, Apr. 4The liquid drop and shell models11.5-11.6 Liquid drop model handoutHomework 8 due, Homework 9 handed out
Monday, Apr. 7Fundamental particles and forces12.1-12.2
Wednesday, Apr. 9 Conservation laws and operators12.3
Friday, Apr. 11 Symmetries and quantum numbers12.4Homework 9 due
Monday, Apr. 14Review session Summary of topics for exam
End of classes
Tuesday, Apr. 22Final exam List of practice problems for exam 1:30pm–3:30pm in 1230 USB

Mark Newman