Objective: PHY 6646 is the second of two courses constituting the graduate core sequence in quantum mechanics. Its aim is to provide a solid grounding in important applications of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, including approximation methods, scattering theory, and many-particle systems.
Approach: Like PHY 6645, this course will tend to follow the general order of topics in Shankar's book, which will be the only required text. However, extensive supplementary information will be presented about several subjects (particularly scattering and identical particles). At these points you may find it particularly useful to consult the optional texts listed above. All four texts will be on reserve at the Marston Science Library. Ballentine's book is also available online; for details see the UF Libraries' Catalog at www.uflib.ufl.edu .
Prerequisites: It will be assumed that you have successfully completed (1) at least one year of quantum mechanics at the undergraduate level, and (2) PHY 6645 or equivalent. (The web page www.phys.ufl.edu/~kevin/teaching/6645/03fall/topics.html summarizes the content of PHY 6645 as taught in Fall 2003.) If you have any doubt about your preparation, you should consult the instructor as early as possible in the semester.
Topics Covered: It is anticipated that the course will address the topics listed below.
Deviations from the plan presented above are quite possible. A list of topics actually covered, along with relevant background reading, will be maintained on the course Web pages.
Class Attendance: Past experience indicates that students who do not regularly come to class generally perform poorly on exams and achieve low course grades.
Whether or not you attend, it is your responsibility to be aware of all announcements made in class. (These may include changes to previously announced arrangements.) Many announcements will also be posted on the course Web pages, but you should not rely exculsively on these pages.
The following is a provisional list of important dates throughout the semester.
Homework: 40% of your overall score on PHY 6646 will be based on homework. Most weeks you will be assigned a problem set to be turned in the following week (usually on Friday). Since it is very important that you not fall behind in the course, assignments turned in late will be subject to a 25% penalty. (Each student will receive a waiver of the 25% penalty for one assignment during the semester.) For each homework set there will be an announced cut-off beyond which no solutions will be accepted for grading.
You should begin each homework assignment by making a good-faith attempt to tackle the problems on your own. Some of the problems will be significantly longer and more challenging than those typically encountered in undergraduate courses. It is important that you develop the skills to work successfully through such problems. If you get stuck, however, do not spend an inordinate amount of time (more than an hour or two) struggling at any one point. Feel free to discuss your conceptual or technical difficulties with other students or with the instructor.
Collaboration plays an essential role in science. You are encouraged to work with other members of the class to understand how to solve the homework problems, and you are likely to learn more by studying cooperatively. However, there are two strict requirements for each homework set: (1) You must list all your collaborators, just as you would on a scientific paper. For this purpose, a "collaborator" is anyone (other than the course instructor) who assisted you or with whom you worked on the homework set in question. Listing many collaborators will not reduce your homework score, but it is important to acknowledge everyone who contributed. (2) You must write up the final version of each problem yourself, presenting the solution in your own words. Blind copying of another student's solution is plagiarism, a form of academic dishonesty.
Your submitted homework solutions should explain your reasoning clearly but concisely, cite the source of any results given without proof, and be legible and reasonably neat. Deficiencies in any of these areas may result in deductions from the score you receive. Please note that you will receive credit, not for what you know, but rather for what you demonstrate you know by writing it in your solution.
The homework sets will be graded by a graduate teaching assistant, under the supervision of the instructor. The grader will have some discretion in the assignment of scores, subject to the guiding principles of accuracy (the score awarded for each answer reasonably reflects the progress made towards a complete, correct solution) and consistency (all students submitting equivalent answers receive the same score). If you have any questions or concerns about the score you receive on a homework assignment, please contact the instructor. You should not discuss the homework problems or their grading with the grader.
Exams: There will be three two-hour exams: two mid-terms and a final. Approximately half of each exam will be closely related to homework. However, the questions will not merely require memorization and regurgitation of material covered in lectures and homework. Instead, the emphasis will be on application of concepts and methods to fairly straightforward problems, some of which may deal with unfamiliar situations. You may be allowed limited access to written materials during some of the exams (details will be announced before each exam), but no collaboration will be permitted.
In the event of a documented conflict with another event, it may be possible to take an exam shortly before or after its scheduled time. Make-up exams will be offered only for serious medical conditions or University-approved absences supported in writing by the appropriate professional. Any request for a special exam sitting or a make-up must be made a week ahead for any scheduled absence, and as soon as reasonably possible after an unforeseen absence.
Grade: Your grade will be assigned on the basis of an overall score, derived from the homework (40% of the total), and the three exams (20% each).
There is no rigid point scale or grade curve used to assign letter grades for the course. Grades of "A" and "B+" reflect performance at the level expected of Ph.D. candidates, while a "B" grade indicates attainment at the masters's level. You will receive feedback on your likely grade after each mid-term exam.
Accommodations: Students requesting classroom accommodations must first register with the Office for Students with Disabilities, located in the Dean of Students Office, P205 Peabody Hall. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student, who must then deliver this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodations.
Academic Honesty: All University of Florida students are required to abide by the University's Academic Honesty Guidelines and by the Honor Code, which reads as follows:
Kevin Ingersent / email@example.com / Last modified: Dec 8, 2004.