Goucher College

Department of Physics

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics


Spring 2012

Click here for class schedule

Quantum Mechanics links

Assessment Rubric for a Paper/Presentation




· Instructor

Dr. Sasha Dukan
Office: G10E
phone: 410-337-6323
Office hours: Tu 11:30am-12:30pm, W 12:00-1:00pm, Th 11:30am-12:30pm and by appointment. Please respect this schedule and make appointment to see me at other times. 


· Schedule

MWF 11:00am-11:50pm , Hoffberger Science Building  B26


· Textbook

"Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" 2nd Edition, by David J. Griffiths, Pearson/Prentice Hall. Student is expected to read assigned textbook chapters by the date assigned in the syllabus.

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

1. Principles of Quantum Mechanics, by  Shankar

2. Principles of Quantum Mechanics, by Ohanian

3. A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics, by Townsend

4. Quantum Mechanics, An Accessible Introduction, by Scherrer



· Course Description

Physics 350  is a rigorous  one semester introduction to Quantum Mechanics. Together with courses in Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism and Statistical Physics, course in Quantum Mechanics  constitutes  a core of a comprehensive undergraduate physics program. On the more important level, Quantum Mechanics is the gateway to modern physics of 20th and 21st century. Quantum Mechanics provides foundation for high energy physics, nuclear physics, atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, astrophysics, cosmology and all of the exciting discoveries of past few decades. Quantum mechanics requires a radical shift in the way we understand nature: its results and predictions are often in contradiction with our own intuition. So while the famous remark by Richard Feynman, "I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics." might ring truth for you as well, my goal for this class is that you learn how to do quantum mechanics and grow to appreciate its beautiful logical structure. This will be accomplished through in class discussions, computer simulations, demonstration  and most importantly by solving problems both in class and on homework assignments.


· Instructional Methods

Students have an opportunity to learn in depth the undergraduate-level quantum mechanics from a variety of sources during the semester, including:

Ž Assigned textbook readings

Ž Classroom lectures and discussions

Ž Occasional computer demonstrations and simulations

Ž Homework assignments and Blackboard® presentation of solutions

Ž In-class problem solving exercises

Ž Computational problems and projects

Ž Take-home tests

Ž 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:

Ž 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.

Ž 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.

Ž 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.

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

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

Ž 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 take-home exams. Tentative dates which may be adjusted according to the rate at which the material is being covered are listed in the class schedule. Class notes, textbook and homework solutions are the only materials allowed for take-home exams. No discussion of exam problems among students is allowed. I reserve a right to discuss submitted work with you to examine your understanding of solved problems. There will be no comprehensive final exam but the third take-home exam will be given during the final week.


· Homework

 A homework assignment of about 1-5 problem will be assigned each class period. These will be due a next class period according to the class schedule.  All the work has to be done analytically except for the problems marked  with words “use Maple”. Otherwise, Maple/Mathematica or any symbolic/numerical software package can be used only to check a solution . No late homework will be accepted.  You are encouraged to work on homework assignments with other students, but this does not mean distributing work load or copying. Main purpose of a homework is to give you practice in solving problems and prepare you for exams. Solving problems is the most important part of a 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

Independent project  on some of the philosophical and historical issues related to the development of quantum theory. Topics:

· The EPR paradox

· Hidden Variables

· Bell's Theorem

· Schrödinger's Cat

· The No-Clone Theorem

· The Quantum Zeno Paradox

The initial reading on these topics is contained in Chapter 12. There will be a lottery to assign a topic. There will be a written paper  and a presentation of the final project according to the class schedule.


· Grades

Your grade will be based upon homework, exams and a final project. Grade breakdown is as follows:
Homework :
Written Exams:
Paper: 15%

The grade distribution will be as follows:

· numerical grade >90.1%  is A,

· numerical grade between 87.1% and 90% is A-

· numerical grade between 83.1% and 87% is B+

· numerical grade between 73.1% and 83% is B

· numerical grade between 70.1% and 73% is B-

· numerical grade between 67.1% and 70% is C+

· numerical grade between 63.1% and 67% is C

· numerical grade between 60.1% and 63% is C-

· numerical grade between 57.1% and 60% is D+

· numerical grade between  53.1% and 57% is D

· numerical grade between  50.1% and 53% is D-

· 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