PHY315 — Quantum Physics II | Learning | Beckstein Lab

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PHY315 — Quantum Physics II

PHY315 — Quantum Physics II

PHY 315 is the second semester of the quantum physics sequence for physics majors. The course consists of lectures together with written home work assignments.

The goal of the course is to give you a quantitative understanding of the quantum mechanical behavior of a single particle and of many particles at the atomic scale. Together with an introduction to the theory of special relativity you will acquire core ideas and concepts of modern physics that offer a fundamentally different view of the world than classical physics.

This web page and the Syllabus (PDF) should give you a better idea of what to expect.

(Note that Dr Beckstein taught this class the last time in Spring 2015.)


  • PHY 302 (Mathematical Methods in Physics II)
  • PHY 314 (Quantum Physics I)

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course:

  • You will be familiar with key ideas and concepts in quantum mechanics and special relativity that form the foundation of modern physics.
  • You will deepen your understanding for how our current view of the the nature of reality radically differs from the classical view shaped by our every-day experience.
  • You will be able to use the mathematical tools and the formalism of quantum mechanics to quantitatively describe the behavior of simple one- and many-particle systems, either exactly or using approximate methods.
  • You will be able to solve kinematic and simple dynamic problems for objects near the speed of light.

Outline of topics

Part I: Quantum mechanics

  1. Angular momentum
    • general theory of angular momentum
    • orbital angular momentum and spin
    • solving the Schrödinger equation in centro-symmetric potentials
    • hydrogen atom
  2. Identical particles
    • two-particle systems
    • Bosons and Fermions; Pauli exclusion principle; exchange forces
    • atoms and the periodic table
    • introduction to quantum statistical mechanics
  3. Approximate solutions
    • time-independent perturbation theory (non-degenerate and degenerate cases)
    • variational principle

Part II: Special Relativity

  1. frames of reference; Galilean relativity
  2. Einstein’s postulates
  3. relativistic kinematics
  4. space-time, Minkowski metric, 4-vectors
  5. energy and momentum

Reading materials

  1. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, David J. Griffiths, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 9780131118928
  2. Quantum Mechanics, Nouredine Zettili, Wiley, ISBN: 9780470026793
  3. Special Relativity, A.P. French, Norton, ISBN: 9780393097931

Discuss: “PHY315 — Quantum Physics II”

May 12, 2015 at 11:35 am #

Quantum Physics II is a fascinating class and Dr. Beckstein does an excellent job teaching it. The course is very well structured and the lectures are always interesting. I especially liked the section on relativity, though I wish we had spent more time on it. If I could offer a piece of advice to future students it would be to consistently do the homework assignments, and do them well; it’s very hard to succeed otherwise! Find a group to study with and don’t be afraid to ask questions, since Dr. Beckstein always seems willing to help.

Posted by  Miranda Herman

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