PHY 19: Modern Physics I         Fall 2012

Class Schedule: M W 9:30am-10:50pm Professor: Steve Liebling
Classroom: Pell Hall 202 Office:  Pell Hall 210
Text: Serway/Moses/Moyer's Modern Physics 3rd Edition
(Textbook site:      Equation Sheet (PDF)
Office Hours: M W 8:30-9:30am and by appt.
Web: Phone: 299-3439
Pre-requisites: PHY 3 & 4; MATH 9 (or co-requisite) Email:
Course credit: 3 credit-hours

Course Description: This course is an introduction to the physics of the 20th century. Topics covered include special relativity, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, the Schrodinger equation, spin angular momentum, the Pauli principle, atomic and molecular structure, and perturbation theory.

Course Objective: Students will study various topics of modern physics including relativity, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and cosmology. Students should be able to demonstrate the ability to reason through physical arguments as well as solve quantitatively problems within these areas.

Grading Policy:

Homework 25%
Test 1 25%  
Test 2 25%
Final Exam 25%
Extra Credit: There will be no extra credit or extra credit papers, Do the homework, and take the tests. As the semester progresses, there is less and less to be done to increase your grade.

Homework: Homework assignments will be presented in class and will generally consist of problems from the required text. Homework problems must be done in order to gain mastery of the material and skills necessary for the tests.

Tests: The class will have two tests as indicated on the syllabus. Each test will cover the material presented since the previous test (to be precise, much of what we will learn applies throughout all the chapters, however, the questions will be geared towards specifically covering material presented between the tests). The tests will be given during classtime.

Final: The final will be held during the time dictated by the Registrar during Exam Week.

Cheating: You are encouraged to work on homework problems with others, but what you turn in must be your own work in your own words. However, you must work alone on tests. On exams you may use only a calculator and writing utensils; I will give you a copy of the equation sheet linked above.

Other Resources: Tutors, library books, office hours, and supplemental texts. I'd also recommend the books from my course for nonscientists, especially the quantum mechanics and relativity books.

Syllabus: Below is the anticipated schedule of what we'll cover. Near the end of the semester, I generally have flexibility in what we cover. If you have a preference for what we might cover, please feel free to provide feedback.

Week 1 Sept. 5   Course Overview
Week 2 Sept. 10 Relativity I   Ch. 1  
Sept. 12   Ch. 1  
Week 3 Sept. 17 Relativity II  Ch. 2  
Sept. 19   Ch. 2  
Week 4 Sept. 24    
Sept. 26 TEST 1 TEST 1
Week 5 Oct. 1 The Quantum Theory of Light   Ch. 3  
Oct. 3   Ch. 3  
Week 6 Oct. 8 The Particle Nature of Matter   Ch. 4  
Oct. 10   Ch. 4  
Week 7 Oct. 15 Matter Waves   Ch. 5  
Oct. 17   Ch. 5  
Week 8 Oct. 22 Quantum Mechanics in 1D   Ch. 6  
Oct. 24   Ch. 6  
Week 9 Oct. 29 Tunneling Phenomena   Ch. 7  
Oct. 31 TEST 2   TEST 2  
Week 10 Nov. 5 Quantum Mechanics in 3D   Ch. 8  
Nov. 7   Ch. 8  
Week 11 Nov. 12 Atomic Structure   Ch. 9  
Nov. 14   Ch. 9  
Week 12 Nov. 19 Statistical Physics   Ch. 10  
Nov. 21 Thanksgiving Break Thanksgiving Break
Week 13 Nov. 26 Molecular Structure   Ch. 11  
Nov. 28 Nuclear Structure   Ch. 13  
Week 14 Dec. 3 Elementary Particles   Ch. 15  
Dec. 5 Cosmology   Ch. 16 (found online)  
Week 15 Dec. 10   Ch. 16  
Dec. 12 Snow/Study Day Snow/Study Day
Week 16 Dec. 19 (tentative; TBD according to Registrar) Scheduled Final Exam   Scheduled Final Exam  

Last updated September 4, 2012.
Steve Liebling (home)