PHY 3101

Modern Physics---Spring 2023

The name of the course, “Modern Physics,” may seem a misnomer as most of the physics we will discuss was first worked out between 1900 and 1975. But, in fact, the name is completely correct; our current understanding of the natural world still uses all these ideas.

The topics covered include relativity, quantum mechanics, the nuclear atom, the Schrödinger equation, atomic physics, molecular structure, solid-state physics, and particle physics.

Prerequisites: This course requires that you have studied Newtonian mechanics in a previous calculus-based course (such as PHY 2048) as well as electricity and magnetism (PHY 2049 or similar) and have at least co-registered in a vector calculus course (Calc 3). 

  Schedule is updated.
  Reminder: we'll meet at the exam scheduled time for physics discussion. Earn 5 points if you attend. The 8:30 class at meets at
  8:30 Friday. The 9:30 class at 12:30 Thursday.  You can attend either time, as is convenient for you.

Syllabus    The syllabus contains information not on this web site.  Updated Feb 10.

Schedule  The schedule is subject to change and will be updated first on this web site. Updated Feb 10.

Lectures  Photos of the chalkboard or pdfs of the tablet.

Time and place: MWF 2nd (8:30–9:20) and 3rd (9:35–10:25) in NPB 1002 
Final exam: TBD.
Class numbers: 16059 and 19079.

Text: Modern Physics, by Kenneth Krane.  You may use either the 4th edition or the 3rd edition.

Another useful text is Modern Physics by Tipler and Llewellyn. The online student resources for that book are here. (Some of the online material is quite useful for understanding the concepts and doing problems.)  Tipler and Llewellyn is at the same level (more or less) as Krane. A book written at the time many of these things were being worked out is Introduction to Modern Physics (1955). by F.K. Richtmyer, E.H. Kennard, and T. Lauristen.

The most elegant books about physics at our level are the three volumes by Richard P. Feynman, Ralph B. Leighton, and Matthew Sands, The Feynman Lectures on Physics. A similarly clear and effective book about relativity is Space and Time in Special Relativity, by N. David Mermin.

Instructors: Juan Guan and David Tanner
Info Juan Guan:
    Phone: 392-3233

    Office: NPB 2368 
    Office hours: Wednesdays 10:30 am12:30 pm
    Office hour zoom is here.

Info David Tanner:

    Phone: 392-4718

    Office: NPB 2372
    Office hours: Mondays 3:004:00 pm (period 8) and Fridays 12:501:50 pm (period 6)
    Office hour zoom is here.

Grader: Shubham Sinha

General Education Course:

The purpose of this course is to provide you with a foundation in the concepts, fundamental principles, and analytic techniques needed to solve problems arising in the context of Special Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

Objectives of the course:

This course is a General Education designated course. As such there are specific student learning outcomes and subject-specific General Education objectives must be met. By the end of this course, you will have a solid foundation in the concepts, principles, terminology, and methodologies described in this course and be able to solve physics problems arising in the context of Special Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Specifically, you will be able to:

•    Analyze particular physical situations, and thus identify the fundamental principles pertinent to those situations,

•    Apply fundamental principles to formulate mathematical equations describing the relation between physical quantities in these particular situations,

•    Solve mathematical equations to find the values of physical quantities,

•    Communicate unambiguously both the principles that apply to a situation and the results of specific calculations resulting from the steps above.

Methods by which students will be evaluated and their grade determined:

There will be homework (20%). The lowest-scored homework set will be dropped. Homework questions will be be posted on Canvas (in Assignments) and your solutions are due as a single pdf on Canvas at 11:59 pm on the due day. See the syllabus for penalties for late submissions. See below for instructions about how to scan.

There will be three exams in class (25% each). The exams are scheduled for February 17, April 5, and April 26. Active participation in discussion at the time of the scheduled final will earn 5 points.  There is no “extra credit.”

Make-up: For anyone missing an exam due to an excused absence (illness with doctors note, organized University of Florida activity requiring your presence elsewhere, also with a note), there will be a comprehensive make-up (on
Tuesday, May 2, 12:30 pm-1:20 pm).  Meet at Dr. Tanner's office, NPB 2372. Prior written approval from the course instructors is required for taking the make-up exam.

The anticipated letter grade scale is A: 85%; A: 81%; B+: 77%; B: 70%; B: 65%; C+: 60%; C: 50%; C: 45%; D+: 40%; D: 35%; D: 30%; E: <30%.  

Other course notes:

All students are required to abide by the Student Conduct & Honor Code of the University of Florida. See the syllabus for attendance, accommodations, course evaluation, student counseling, and other information.

For homework uploads to Canvas, you will need to scan your solutions and make a single .pdf document.
PLEASE use something that will make a high-contrast, black and white, document.  We do see submissions that are just a series of photos, often with faint grey writing on a yellow-brown background and with shadows where your hand blocked the light. These range from difficult to impossible to read, and the grader may return them to you as ungradable.

Here are instructions (from John Mocko).  

For Apple iOS iPhones and iPads:

 For Android phones:

Using an app to combine multiple photos into a PDF:

Links. (Send us any you find and like!)
UF links: 
Various other links:        

D.B. Tanner  / / Last modified: April 26, 2023.