Quantum Mechanics II: PHYS 314 [Spring 2020]


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Look after yourself and those around you! This is a very stressful and difficult time for everyone, so please be compassionate with yourself and those around you, and look after yourself. Don't forget that Social Distancing doesn't have to mean Social Isolation! There are lot of good mental health resources available online, such as virusanxiety.com.

Here [mp4 file] is the first mini lecture video. This is a test, with administrative information for the rest of the semester, to make sure you can all see the video. Please let me know if you have trouble viewing it!

Course details

Class schedule: Classes take place in Small Hall 233, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 12:00-12:50. The first class will take place Wednesday January 22nd.

Textbook: We will use Griffiths and Schroeter's An Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (3rd edition). This was the textbook you used for PHYS 313. I will make my (hand written) notes available here after class.

Prerequisites: Modern Physics (PHYS 201) and Classical Mechanics (PHYS 208) are prerequisites for this course, as is a strong command of the material from the first semester of quantum mechanics (PHYS 313).

Instructor: Chris Monahan (he/his/him), Small Hall 326C. Email: cjmonahan'at'wm.edu.

Course grading: The grades will be calculated based on either 40% Homework, 25% In-class Tests and 35% Final Exam, or 40% Homework and 60% Final Exam. For each student, the final grade will be calculated using both equations, and the result with the larger numerical grade will be the one used to determine the letter grade. The course grader is Yiqi Yang. Make sure you use the correct mailbox!

Problem sets Homeworks will be posted on Monday before class and are due midday the following Monday. I will drop the lowest grade on your weekly homework.

Office hours: Wednesdays and Fridays 2:00-3:00 pm or by arrangement.

Course description

How do we describe our Universe at very small length scales? How do we explain why hydrogen looks the way it does, or, for that matter, why the elements line up in the periodic table so neatly? The answer, of course, is quantum magic mechanics!

We will start to unravel some of this quantum magic by building on the first semester of quantum mechanics (PHYS 313) and introducing new techniques for systems for which we do not have exact solutions (that is, basically everything). This includes the detailed structure of hydrogen energy levels, helium atoms and nuclei, collections of identical particles, quantum scattering effects, and systems that evolve with time. We will briefly introduce concepts that appear throughout modern theoretical physics, such as the deep relationship of symmetries and conserved quantities, and a quick peek at quantum field theory, the mathematical framework that brings together quantum mechanics with special relativity, which explains all fundamental particles in the observable Universe.

We will cover:

This is most of the second half of the textbook, from Chapter 5 to Chapter 11, excluding Chapter 9, although not quite in order.