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Physics 314, "Introduction to Modern Physics", Winter 2005

This material can be found online at URL

Outline for the course, class schedule, etc.

Syllabus, including reading assignments and test dates.

Grades so far


  1. If it's so old, why is it called "Modern Physics?"
  2. Review of Classical Mechanics
  3. The Michelson-Morley experiment
  4. The puzzling results of the Michelson-Morley experiment.
  5. Einstein's explanation
  6. Consequences: Time Dilation

  7. Consequences: Contraction and Velocity Addition
  8. The Lorentz Transformations
  9. Simultaneity
  10. The Relativistic Doppler Effect

  11. Relativity, Momentum, and Kinetic Energy
  12. Rest Energy
  13. An example of relativistic dynamics
  14. "Superluminal" motions in astronomical sources

  15. Blackbody Radiation -- the Ultraviolet Catastrophe
  16. Planck's solution to the Ultraviolet Catastrophe
  17. Einstein and the Photoelectric Effect
  18. The Compton Effect
  19. The Inverse Compton Effect -- in Spa-a-a-ce!

  20. Wave/photon duality I. Interference by single photons?
  21. Wave/photon duality II. The delayed-choice experiment
  22. Review of Interference and Diffraction

  23. Diffraction of Electrons and other particles
  24. Uncertainty, in waves and elsewhere
  25. Heisenberg's microscope
  26. Some examples of the Uncertatinty Principle in action

  27. A cast of characters for the sub-atomic realm
  28. Very simple models of the atom
  29. Rutherford and the discovery of the nucleus
  30. The mystery of emission-line spectra
  31. Bohr's model of the atom explains atomic spectra

  32. The Franck-Hertz experiment supports Bohr's model
  33. Problems with Bohr's model
  34. Review of differential equations

  35. The Schrodinger equation
  36. Using Schrodinger's method: particle in a 1-D Box
  37. Using Schrodinger's method: potential barriers and tunnelling
  38. The Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM)

  39. The Simple Harmonic Oscillator
  40. The REAL hydrogen atom
  41. Where is the electron in a hydrogen atom?
  42. More quantum numbers: angular momentum
  43. Spin: the last quantum number

  44. Elements with more than one electron
  45. The Periodic Table of the Elements
  46. The discovery of radium

Homework sets.

You must use the Webwork system to generate problem sets and provide answers.

Extra Credit Projects (each student may hand in up to 2 extra credit projects during the quarter)

  1. The Decay of a Neutron Due Wednesday, Jan 18, at 5 PM.
  2. Halogen vs. ordinary light bulbs Due Wednesday, Jan 18, at 5 PM.
  3. Macroscopic Photons? Due Wednesday, Jan 25, at 5 PM.
  4. What is the mystery object? Due Wednesday, Feb 8, at 5 PM.
  5. Identify the element using K- and L-shell electrons Due Friday, Feb 24, at 5 PM.

Other Physics Information

This page maintained by Michael Richmond. Last modified Nov 28, 2005.

Creative Commons License Copyright © Michael Richmond. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.