Bryn Mawr College, Department of Physics

Physics 214:  Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, Spring 2016

Michael Schulz
Office:  340 Park Science Center
E-mail:  mbschulz at brynmawr dot edu
Office phone:  (610) 526 - 5367


Lecture (337 Park Science Building):

Mon, Wed, Fri 10:10–11:00am

Laboratory (151 Park Science Building):

Tue or Fri 1:10–4:00pm

Recitation section:

Wed 3:10–4:00pm (349 Park Science Building), or
Thu 4:10–5:00pm (337 Park Science Building)

Office hours (340 Park Science Center):

Mon 2:40am–3:30pm
Tue 11:10am–12:00 noon
Wed 11:10am–12:00 noon
Thu 3:10pm–4:00pm
Fri 11:00am–12:00 noon

Course webpage:

Course description:

A schedule is available on the calendar and assignments webpage.

Part I: Electromagnetic Waves and Photons.  Wave properties of light: electromagnetic waves, wave equation, single slit diffraction, double slit diffraction gratings, diffraction gratings.  Particle properties of light: photoelectric effect, Compton scattering.  Particle and wave properties of light: single photon interference.

Part II: Matter Waves and the 1D Schrödinger Equation.  De Broglie waves, atom interferometry, Bragg diffraction, the Schrödinger equation, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the correspondence principle and Ehrenfests theorem, wave packets, dispersion.  Stationary states, one dimensional potentials: infinite square well, harmonic oscillator, finite square well, delta function potential.  Qualitative features of solutions.  Scattering and tunneling in one dimension.

Part III: General Principles and the 3D Schrödinger Equation.  Observables and Hermitian operators, time dependence.  Puzzles: Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen experiments, measurement and collapse of the wavefunction.  Schrödinger Equation in three dimensions: angular momentum, hydrogen atom, Zeeman effect.  Spin and the Stern Gerlach experiment.

Throughout.  Many of the phenomena encountered through our study of the Schrödinger equation represent universal features of wave motion that also apply to classical material systems.  We will discuss the universality of the following phenomena as they are encountered:

Simple harmonic oscillation, linearity and superposition, the wave equation, standing waves, Fourier series, traveling waves, dispersion, boundaries, reflection, transmission, attenuation, pulses, Fourier analysis, uncertainty principle, phase velocity, group velocity.


John S. Townsend, Quantum Physics: A Fundamental Approach to Modern Physics, University Science Books (2009);   ISBN-10 1891389629,  ISBN-13: 978-1891389627.


We'll adopt the philosophy that class time is best spent bringing the material in your textbook to life through discussion and problem solving.  I'll try to restrict lecturing to hitting the highlights of your reading assignments and to "big picture" ideas.  For that reason, it will be very important for you to stay on top of the reading.  Most of the class time will be devoted to working through problems.


Homework: 30% (distributed weekly, due most Wednesdays)
Exams: 25% + 25% + 20% (lowest score counts 20%, other two 25% each)

Exam 1:  2.5 hours, closed book;  distributed Fri 26 February and due Wed 2 March
Exam 2:  2.5 hours, closed book;  distributed Fri 1 April and due Wed 6 April
Exam 3:  2.5 hours, closed book;  during final exam period Wed 04 May – Fri 13 May.

I hope that there will be much discussion both inside and outside of class.  You are allowed (and encouraged!) to work on the problem sets together and to form study groups.  The solutions you submit must of course be prepared yourself and not be reproductions of other people's work.


The laboratory is a required part of the course, but is run independently.  While no official grade will be assigned to the laboratory, satisfactory completion of all laboratory exercises is required in order to pass the course.  In the event that you are on the border between two grades, good lab performance and other indications of effort throughout the course will help to justify the higher grade.


Students who think they may need accommodations in this course because of the impact of a learning, physical, or psychological disability are encouraged to meet with me privately early in the semester to discuss their concerns.  Students should also contact Deborah Adler, Coordinator of Access Services (610-526-7351 or, as soon as possible, to verify their eligibility for reasonable academic accommodations.  Early contact will help to avoid unnecessary inconvenience and delays.

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