Phys371: Modern Physics is a three-credit course that meets three hours a week. The central material in this class consists of relativity and quantum theory, the two pillars of 20th century physics. We will spent about 4 weeks discussing special relativity, the Lorentz transformations, relativistic mechanics, and energy-momentum relationships and spacetime diagrams. For 5 weeks we will cover the experiments leading to the demise of classical mechanics and the conceptual revolutions they led to quantum mechanics. Following a 2 week introduction to the kinetic theory of gases and statistical mechanics, we will conclude with a 3 week treatise on quantum information science. Time permitting, we will have a simplified discussion of a few more advanced topics. Homework assignments will be distributed approximately weekly. There will be several quizzes, two midterms, and a final exam.
Prerequisites: PHYS 273 and 274. Corequisites: PHYS 373.
Lectures: MWF (1:00pm-1:50pm), Phys 1201
Instructor: Prof. Christopher Monroe
Office: Physical Sciences Complex (PSC) 2158; Phone: 301-405-8631
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (put ‘PHYS 371’ in subject line, or it may not get read)
Office Hrs: Thursday 10am-12pm, PSC 2158
Teaching Assistant: Mr. Peizhi Du
Office: Physical Sciences Complex (PSC) 3264; Phone: 301-405-6016
Office Hrs: Tuesday, 2pm-4pm, PSC 3264
Texts: There will be no central text in this course; instead we will draw excerpts from textbooks and notes. There is a wonderful set of lecture notes on Modern Physics written by Michael Fowler (UVa) that can be found here. Below are other things we will draw upon in class.
Chaps 12-14 of Kleppner and Kolenkow, “Introduction to Mechanics,” 2nd edition.
Institute of Physics (UK) Tutorial Site (requires free registration)
Feynman Lectures in Physics, Vol III
Eisberg and Resnick (E/R), Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, 2nd Ed.
Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, 1st Ed.
Linder: Thermodynamics and Intro. to Stat. Mech., Chaps 13-14
Homework: Homework problems will be assigned roughly once per week on Friday, and will be due in class the following Friday. No late homework will be accepted, and your solutions must be written neatly on STAPLED paper WITHOUT RUFFLED EDGES.
Quizzes: There will be roughly 5 quizzes, 20min each, roughly every third week, plus a math quiz early on. We will drop your lowest quiz score, and there will be no makeups.
Exams: There will be two mid-term exams (Feb 29 and Apr 11 during class, as well as a final exam, Friday May 13, 1:30-3:30pm
Grade: Your course grade is based on the quizzes (20%) two midterm exams (30%), the final exam (30%), and the homeworks (20%).
Tips for Doing Well
Do the homework – feel free to work with classmates, but do work the problems yourself.
Ask questions – if you don’t understand it, chances are some of your classmates don’t either.
Come to lectures – much of the material is not going to be in texts, or will be presented in a different way. you will learn through repetition and both reading and hearing a lecture is the way to go.