Goucher College

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Modern Physics


Fall 2010

Click here for a class schedule

Click here for a homework schedule

Click here for Modern Physics simulations

· Lecturer

Dr. Sasha Dukan
Office: G10E
phone: 410-337-6323
Office hours: MWF 11:30am-12:30pm. Please respect this schedule and make appointment to see me at other times. 
Class meets MWF 9:30-10:20am in HS B27.

· Textbook

Serway, Moses and Moyer: Modern Physics, Saunders College Publishing, 3rd  edition. Student is expected to read assigned textbook chapters by the date assigned in the syllabus.

Belloni, Christian and Cox: Physlet Quantum Physics, An Interactive Introduction will be used as a supplemental material and will be provided by the instructor.


Other Recommended Texts (available in the the library and/or my office):

· Modern Physics, by Ohanian

· Modern Physics from Alpha to Z0, by Rohlf

· Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei and Particles, by Eisberg and Resnick

· Modern Physics, by Krane

· Nonclassical Physics, by Harris


· Course Description

Physics 220 is an introductory course in Modern Physics (or Nonclassical Physics as I prefer to call it) designed for a student who has completed a calculus based General Physics (Introductory Classical Physics) course. It is intended to acquaint students majoring in physical sciences and/or mathematics with the wide range of physical principles that have developed in the 20th century. The course will use calculus extensively, knowledge of the differential equations is a plus but not required. Emphasis in this course will be shifted from the fancy mathematics towards the understanding of underlying physical concepts. The intention is to bring students to the frontiers of physics in a simple, comprehensible manner through discussions, problem solving and additional readings. Introduction to Special theory of relativity and Introduction to Quantum Mechanics constitutes the core of the course. We will discuss theoretical ideas and various experiments that revolutionized our understanding of nature and led to the development of new fields such as atoms and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, nuclear and elementary physics, astrophysics, quantum chemistry, biophysics etc.


· Instructional Methods

Students have an opportunity to learn basic concepts of special theory of relativity and quantum mechanics from a variety of sources during the semester, including:

̃ Assigned textbook readings

̃ Classroom lectures and discussions

̃ Frequent computer demonstrations and simulations using Physlet Quantum Physics

̃ Homework assignments and Blackboard® presentation of solutions

̃ In-class problem solving exercises

̃ Computational problems as homework assignments using  Physlet Quantum Physics

̃ In-class tests

̃ Discussions with me outside of the class


Classroom time will be mostly centered around the discussions and student participation is required. 


· Responsibilities of Students

In order to get the most out of this course:

̃ Attend each class, arrive on time and come prepared .  Read an assigned sections of the textbook before coming to the class to familiarize yourself with notation and topic. Read the relevant section of the textbook with comprehension before attempting to solve homework problems.

̃ Participate in class by paying close attention to what is presented and offering suggestions or corrections when you think something that is presented is incorrect or confusing.

̃ Work on and try to complete all homework problems on time. You are encouraged to discuss problems with your peers but, if at all possible, complete these problems without assistance from anyone else.  This way  you will truly understand the problem and will be prepared for the exams.

̃ Read the homework solutions and use the opportunity to improve your homework grade by presenting a correct solution orally.

̃ Make your work neat and carefully organized.  If I can’t follow your solution then you will not receive a full credit.

̃ Come talk to me outside of the class frequently. Asking for help or hints with solving problems, or asking for clarification of the lectures or the textbook demonstrates your interest in the subject.



· Exams

There will be three exams  and a final project at the end. Tentative dates which may be adjusted according to the rate at which the material is being covered are:

First exam: October 15 , Ch 1-4

Second exam: November 12, Ch 5-7

Third exam: Dec13-19, Ch 8-9

There will be a review exam posted on Blackboard before each exam.

· Homework Assignments

Homework assignment of about 5 to 10 problems will be assigned  each week. These will be due at the beginning of the lecture on the due date listed in the homework schedule. One or two computational problems utilizing Physlet Quantum Physics will be assigned each class period. These will be due a following class period. Assignments will be posted on the homework web page. No late homework will be accepted. You are encouraged to work on the homework problems with other students, but this does not mean distributing the work load or copying. Solving problems is the most important part of the learning process in this course. Students can improve a homework grade, within one week after the homework has been graded and solutions have been posted, by demonstrating an understanding of a correct solution on a whiteboard in my office.


· Final Project: Presentation and Paper

Instead of the traditional comprehensive final exam there will be a final project on the topic of your interest. The final projects should illustrate the experimental applications of the concepts discussed in lecture or a further development of the theoretical ideas introduced. Possible topics are: General Relativity and Black Holes;  Scanning Tunneling Microscope; Atomic Force Microscopy; Laser Cooling, Atom Trapping and Experimental Bose-Einstein Condensation; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance; Spectroscopy: Quantum Mechanics in Action; Superconductivity; Quantum Hall Effect; Neutron Stars and Pulsars; Nuclear Reactors; High-Energy Accelerators and Particle Detectors; Quarks; String Theory.  If you would like to pick you own topic you must get my approval before starting your project. The projects should utilize literature and web based research. I expect a 20 min long Power Point presentation. All topics should be finalized and approved by November 1st.
You can view  Power Point presentations of former students by clicking on the links below:
String Theory , Quarks , Moore's Law, Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

· Grades

The course grade will be based upon exams, final project presentation and paper, homework and class participation. There will be no make-up exams. The grade break down is as follows:
Homework and Class participation:
Three hourly exams:
Final Project Presentation:
10%, Paper: 10%

The assessment rubric for a final paper or a presentation can be found here.

The grade distribution will be as follows:

· A 90.1% ;  87.1% A- <90%;

· 83.1% B+ <87%; 73.1% B<83%; 70.1% B- <73%;

· 67.1% C+ <70%; 63.1% C < 67%; 60.1% C- < 63%;

· 57.1% D+ < 60%; 53.1% D < 57%; 50.1% D- < 53%;

· numerical grade below 50% is F


· Academic Ethics

All students are bound by the standards of the Academic Honor Code, found at www.goucher.edu/documents/General/AcademicHonorCode.pdf