Course Web Site and Preliminary Syllabus

Introductory Quantum Mechanics I/II

Physics 530 (Quantum Mechanics II): Northern Arizona University: 2011 Spring

Don't Panic.
This is so cool.
Unchain your inner nerd.
In science, we are slaves to the truth---only error can set us free.

The course mottos: very reassuring I think.


  1. Instructor Information
  2. Syllabus Items
  3. Semester 1 This is the tentative schedule for semester 1.
  4. Semester 2 This is the tentative schedule for semester 2.
  5. Section 1 Grades Posting grades by anonymous alias is allowed by NAU rules, but ordinary emailing grades (as opposed to GPS emailing grades) is not (see Ferpa Rules on Grades). You will need the supersecret username and password access the grade posting. The password protection adds a bit of security.
  6. Section 2 Grades A fictitious section used for testing the marking program and demonstrating the posting format to students.
  7. University Sites of Relevance

Warning: This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Any changes will be announced in class as well as made on this page.

  1. Instructor Information
  2. Instructor:
    Dr. David Jeffery, Physical Science Building, Rm 212, Tel: 928-523-9542, Email: David.Jeffery AT (also jeffery AT, jeffery AT, Office hours: as on instructor schedule. (If you need to see the instructor for sure, make an appointment. I'm usually happy to see students at any time that I'm relatively free.)

  3. Syllabus Items
    1. Jump in with QUESTIONS? at any time, of course---this applies to the whole course.

    2. Course Web Site:

    3. Place and Time:

    4. Prerequisites/Corequisites:

        As specified in the online graduate course web page or permission of the instructor.

        However, the usual prerequisites are as follows:

          For Semester 1:

          1. Modern Physics (pre/corequisite): At least some of quantum and relativity theories with applications to atomic, nuclear, solid state and elementary particle physics.

          2. Mathematical Physics (pre/corequisite): Mathematical techniques needed in upper division physics courses, including vector analysis, matrices, Sturm-Liouville problems, special functions, partial differential equations, complex variables.

          For Semester 2:

          1. Introductory Quantum Mechanics I (pre/corequisite): At least some of three-dimensional theory, angular momentum, motion in central potential, identical particles, and spin.

    5. Academic Integrity:

      It's pretty easy: follow the rules, don't plagiarize, don't cheat on homeworks or tests.

      Tests are really serious: cheat on test and its zero for the test and possibly an F for course. There also university sanctions beyond an instructor's authority.

      The e-Learning Center has an Introduction to Academic Integrity with links to student code of conduct, quizzes, and videos (e.g., What Does Academic Integrity Mean to You?).

    6. Breaks:

        No rest and relaxation breaks for 50-minute lectures.

        But we will take a 5--10 minute homework question break. See below.

    7. Textbooks: Griffiths and Greene.

        Griffiths is the official textbook for the lecture material.

        I expect many students have a copy already earlier courses. If so good.

        But if not and you have a more-or-less equivalent textbook that will work just as well.

        So don't buy Griffiths, unless you are sure you need to.

        Everyone agrees Griffiths a pretty darn good intro quantum mechanics textbook.

        I've not looked at infinitely many intro quantum mechanics textbooks, but this is the best I've seen.

        But familiarity breeds quibbles, and so there will be a lot of deviations and additions in my lectures. But if you knew everything in Griffiths, you would know a whole lot about intro quantum mechanics (QM)

        Brian Greene, 2004, The Fabric of the Cosmos is the 2nd textbook. It is purely for reading, I will NOT lecture on it. But the readings are reported for marks. So you really, really do need a copy. See below.

        Greene is pretty cheap: $ll or so new.

    8. Notes:

        For each chapter of the texbook, the instructor will try post online handwritten notes on the schedules for Semester 1 and Semester 2.

        But be warned, the instructor may not be able to keep up.

        Some chapters have latex-ed notes which in various stages of underconstruction---from next to nothing to complete. At the moment and for the foreseeable future, they are all nothing.

        So you may not need to take any notes. But taking notes is still good. It keeps the mind active in class and revising notes until you thoroughly understand them is a good study strategy

        The instructor will NOT follow Griffiths closely all the time.

        But this is good. It gives different perspectives and insights.

        The notes and Griffiths are complementary. This is the rationalization.

        I may NOT lecture on every topic that you need to know.

        In general, you can assume that you need to know all of the Griffiths chapter corresponding to the notes and probably a good deal of the notes too.

    9. Nature of the Course:

        This is a course of intro quantum mechanics (QM).

        At this level, quantum mechanics is rather abstract and idealized.

        How you get from this level to modern real world results is a long journey yours truly as never followed.

        It's no surprise to you that this is a pretty hard course.

        But as I always say, it's nothing like organic chemistry.

        You really need to put in at least 2 hours out of class for every hour in class.

        The two-hour rule is true for almost all courses actually.

        This course will be run in a somewhat active mode.

        The instructor is trying to get beyond just passive learning---which is rather inefficient learning.

        There will be a question break: see below.

        Also since the students will have required daily note readings, they should be prepared every day to think and discuss the topics.

        In order to do science, you have to think and talk science.

    10. Homeworks: There are homeworks for each chapter.

        They are/will be posted below on schedules for Semester 1 and Semester 2.

        You will need the SUPERSECRET username and password access to the homeworks and solutions. They are the same as for the grade posting. The username/password is just for a bit of extra security. The posted grades are really protected by the anonymous aliases.

        The homeworks are NOT handed in and NOT marked.

        But you do get a mark for reporting that you have completed/vigorously attempted each one.

        After reporting completion/attempted, you can look at the solutions which will be already posted below on schedules for Semester 1 and Semester 2.

        Typically about 50 to 70 % or more of the exam questions will be drawn from the homeworks or, in the case of the FINAL, past exams also.

        Questions that reappear on the exams might be tweaked a bit from previous versions.

        Homeworks will count 10 % or less of the final grade.

          Homeworks are primarily a learning component of the course, NOT an evaluation component.

          They are worth some marks for completion/attempted just for a little frisson.

          The marks are psychological trick to make students do what the should do anyway---we all play these tricks on ourselves.

        The students are strongly encouraged to sweat over the homeworks alone first---relying on notes, the textbook, and the power of pure thought---and then seek help from friends and the instructor (office hours per instructor's schedule).

        Learning is forming neural connections in the brain---and this takes exercise---just like building muscles.

        Question Break

    11. Readings:

    12. Exams:

        There will be 2 (or less likely 3) in-class exams and a 2-hour COMPREHENSIVE FINAL.

        The in-class exams cover the material up to some cut-off point that will be announced in class and below on schedules for Semester 1 and Semester 2.

        The final is about 50 % weighted or more on material since the last in-class exam and about 50 % weighted or less on all the material that came before the last in-class exam.

          The last material may receive less weighting on the final if the time from the last in-class exam is short.

        Nosta bene: Even though exams are formally restricted to set exam topics, intro QM is intrinsically cumulative and earlier topics are assumed known insofar as they are needed for the exam topics. Earlier topics include those from Semester 1 if we are in Semester 2.


              Exam        Date     Solutions (posted post-exam)
              Exam 1      Mar09 W   Exam 1 solutions
              Exam 2      Apr15 F   Exam 2 solutions 
              Exam 3      Apr29 F   Exam 3 solutions May be omitted.
              Final Exam  May11 W   Final Exam solutions
                                    The final is 7:30--9:30 am in the regular class room
                                    as specified by Finals Schedule for 2011 Spring.

        The in-class exams will consist of maybe 10--20 multiple-choice questions and a few full-answer questions.

        The multiple-choice questions are NOT intended to be hard or tricky; they are intended as a warm-up.

        The final exam will be somewhat like the in-class exams, but about twice as long.

        The exams are closed book.

        Calculators are permitted for calculational work only. No stored constants, solutions, or formulae. No using algebra or calculus solvers. No use of programmable features.

        Cell phones MUST be turned off and be out of sight.

        An equation sheet will be provided with the exams. This is the same equation sheet that comes with the homeworks.

        There are NO scheduled review days. But students can keep the instructor busy answering questions on the day before exams.

        Make-up exams are possible, but students must ask for them promptly and avoid knowing anything about given exams.

    13. Posting Grades:

      The instructor does NOT use Vista Blackboard---it's going away soon---and he's an old stick in the mud.

      I post grades by anonymous alias if so requested with a signature.

      This allowed by NAU Ferpa Rules on Grades.

      A example of a completed course set of grades for a fictitious class is Section 2.

    14. Evaluation and Grading:

        The grading categories, their weightings, and their drops are:
                  homeworks                  10 % or less     1 drop
                  note readings              10 % or less     3 drops
                  G & A readings             10 % or less     no drops
                  2 or 3 in-class exams      35 % or more     no drop
                  1 comprehensive final      35 % or more     no drop
                      Each in-class exam is worth 17.5 % or 11.67 % of final grade.
        Attendance is NOT kept and NO marks are assigned for attendance. Daily note readings can be reported without attending.

        Students are encouraged to keep good attendance.

          Like any course, just showing up 3 times a week for session of physics keeps us moving forward in the course.

          So 3 in-class hours and at least 6 out-of-class hours.

        There are absolutely NO extra credits.

        Letter grades will be assigned per NAU grading policy--which allow instructors some freedom of interpretation on how do determine ``average''.

        The instructor uses a curve to automatically assign letter grades during the semester---if there are enough students to make a curve meaningful---if there arn't the instructor just decides on letter grades. There is NO fixed scale.

        The final grades are decided on by the instructor directly---the curve is NOT used, except as a guide.

        Students can always ask the instructor for their current mark record and letter grades. But this cannot be done over the phone. I can email a response by GPS.

        The instructor will submit MIDTERM GRADES (for lower level courses) and FINAL GRADES as scheduled in the academic calendar---which doesn't specify any midterm grade dates for summer courses.

        This semester, I will be submitting grades sometime on or before May19 as per Spring 2011 Grading Schedule".

        Remember that after an instructor has submitted FINAL GRADES, any adjustments (except for purely clerical errors) are NOT allowed by university policy.

          See Policy on Grades from the UI Catalog. Note that E-6 states that grade changes after instructor submission are only allowed for clerical corrections, not for reweighting or additional work. There is another avenue for grade emendation: the Academic Hearing Board (1640.02 C-4) can have a say on grades---but it's not very promising.

        Students should make any queries about their final grades before the instructor submits them.

        Aliens and Grades Beware of aliens bearing grades.

  4. Semester 1: Tentative Schedule of Topics from Griffiths
  5. No dated schedule has ever been adhered to by the instructor.

    So there are no dates for chapters in this tentative schedule.

    However, we have 16 weeks in the semester (not counting spring/fall recess) and we may lose about two weeks of classes for in-class exams and holidays: e.g., in the fall, Labor Day and in the spring Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day.

    So about 14 weeks and 42 lecture class hours.

    We will cover from the beginning to chapter 5 or chapter 6.

    Some parts of chapters may be assigned as readings with NO in-class lecturing on them.

    1. Chapter 1: The Wave Function

    2. Chapter 2: The Time-Independent Schroedinger Equation

    3. Chapter 3: Formalism

    4. Chapter 4: Quantum Mechanics in Three Dimensions

    5. Chapter 5: Multi-Particle Systems, Identical Particles, and the Symmetrization Principle This lecture may be omitted if there is no time in Semester 1. It will then be covered in Semester 2.

  6. Semester 2: Tentative Schedule of Topics from Griffiths
  7. No dated schedule has ever been adhered to by the instructor.

    So there are no dates for chapters in this tentative schedule.

    However, we have 15 weeks in the semester (not counting spring/fall recess) and we may lose about two weeks of classes for in-class exams and holidays: e.g., in the fall, Labor Day and in the spring Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day.

    So about 13 weeks and 39 lecture class hours.

    We will cover material from or related to that in chapters 5, 6, 7, and 9 of Griffiths for sure. Some other chapters/material will probably be covered too.

    Some parts of chapters and notes may be assigned as readings with NO in-class lecturing on them.

    1. Chapter 5: Multi-Particle Systems, Identical Particles, and the Symmetrization Principle This lecture will be omitted if has been convered in Semester 1.

    2. Chapter 6: Time-Independent Perturbation Theory

    3. Chapter 7: The Variational Principle

    4. Chapter 8: The WKB Approximation May be omitted.

    5. Chapter 9: Time-Dependent Perturbation Theory

    6. Chapter 10: The Adiabatic Approximation

    7. Chapter 11: Scattering

    8. Chapter 12: Afterword

    9. Chapter 13: Linear Algebra