PHY 4604 — Spring 2018

PHY 4604 — Introductory Quantum Mechanics 1 — Spring 2018

Course: PHY 4604, Introductory Quantum Mechanics 1,   Meeting times: MWF Period 2, Room 1220
Instructor: J. N. Fry,   Office: 2172,   Phone: 392-6692,   e-mail:,   Office Hours: MWF 10:00,   Schedule
Grader: Jonathan Thompson,   Office: 2062,   Phone: 392-2921,   e-mail:,   Office Hour: TBA,

Course Description: PHY 4604 is the first semester of the two-semester sequence in quantum mechanics. The course introduces the basic concepts of wave mechanics, the formalism of quantum mechanics, some important 1d problems (the harmonic oscillator), some important 3d problems (the hydrogen atom), angular momentum, and many-particle systems.

Prerequisites: For best results, you should have (successfully) completed a college-level course in modern physics at the level of PHY 3101 Introduction to Modern Physics or PHY 3063 Enriched Modern Physics. You should also have passed through MAP 2302 Elementary Differential Equations. If you are in doubt as to whether you should take PHY 4604, please consult the instructor.

Grading: Grading will be based 25% on periodic homework sets, 25% each on two preliminary (midterm) exams, and 25% on the final exam. The preliminary exams will be in class, on Friday February 16 and on Friday March 23. The final exam is scheduled for Thursday, May 3, 5:30–7:30pm (Exam Group 3E). Plan for exams to be closed book.

The following paragraphs of advice on how to do well in Physics are lifted from one of my colleagues. (He also was once known to have his posted office hours during class time.) This is an upper level course, and you are free to make your own choices, but you should listen to what they say:
  I do not plan to take daily attendance, but it is to your advantage to attend class. You may spend most of your time sleeping, but in between you will have the opportunity to learn what subjects I think are important, and you can then concentrate on these subjects during your reading. If by some unfortunate set of circumstances you do miss class, do not ask me if I said anything important — everything that I say is important. Instead, ask a classmate; she or he is likely to give an honest answer, and you won't offend me. There will be a substantial number of examples discussed in class that are not in the textbook, and examples in class often appear on tests. If you miss class you will not do well in this course.
  Do the assigned homework. This is the drudge part of physics, but it is absolutely necessary. We will learn grand ideas and see their wondrous applications in class. But, your understanding is only superficial unless you can apply these same grand ideas to completely new circumstances. In course work, this is usually done with homework problems. Do not be surprised if the homework is frustrating at times; solving one challenging problem makes the next much easier. And homework problems often appear on tests. Doing all of the homework is the easiest way to improve your grade. Not doing homework is the easiest way to lower your grade.

Students are expected to complete work at the time due, or as soon as possible in case of illness or other accepted, documented circumstance. There will be no last-minute makeups offered or accepted.

Text: The required text for the course is David J. Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, 2/E (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005). [Errata (2009) (2013) (2014) (2015)]. This semester we will cover material in Chapters 1 – 5, at a pace of about one chapter every three weeks. Topics to be covered include:

Other possibly useful books:

This and that:
The (Astro-) Physical Calculator
LBL Particle Data Group
Math Trivia
History of Quantum Mechanics (includes references and links to many capsule biographies)
Controlled double slit electron diffraction movie 1 movie 2 movie 3
Quantum Mechanics Online École Polytechnique   Single photon interference [Lyman Page] [Breakthrough Prize]
scatter, gaussian distributed points, histogram   cauchy distributed points, histogram

And the other:
Let it Snow
Collider, Mr Higgs Twist, Les Horribles Cernettes

Class Diary

Homework: Problem solving is a skill learned only through practice. Take advantage of the homework as an opportunity to learn how to recognize the right approach to a problem before it becomes exam time. While I encourage you to discuss the assignments with each other, what you turn in must represent your own work. As we also do when publishing research articles: if you obtain significant information from a published or human source, cite that source. This will often be as little as "Jackson, eq. (9.98)". If you work together, please identify other members of your working group. And, please, be sure that in the end your elegant solution in fact answers the question asked!

  1. Homework 1. Coming soon

University Policies: Students are expected to know and comply with the University's policies regarding academic honesty and use of copyrighted materials. Cheating, plagiarism, or other violations of the Academic Honesty Guidelines will not be tolerated and will be pursued through the University's adjudication procedures.
  “Students requesting classroom accommodations must first register with the Disability Resources Center, The Disability Resources Center will provide documentation to the student, who must then deliver this documentation to the instructor.”