Upon completion of the course, the student should be able to:
1. State the Einstein postulates of special relativity, and discuss the
concepts of and solve problems involving the transformation of co-
ordinates in space and time, length contraction, time dilation,
relativistic momentum and energy, and the relativistic addition of
2. Trace the development of quantum physics from Planck's work with black
body radiation to Einstein's explanation of the photoelectric effect,
to Compton scattering, and solve problems involving the photoelectric
effect and Compton scattering.
3. State the postulates made by Bohr in developing the Bohr model of the
atom; reproduce the derivation of allowed radii and energy levels in
the Bohr model; solve problems involving electron energy levels and
spectral lines; describe the shell and subshell structure of orbital
electrons relating this structure to the periodic table.
4. Describe what is meant by wave-particle duality; solve problems
involving particles as waves; solve problems using the uncertainty
5. Write the one-dimensional nonrelativistic Schroedinger wave equation;
solve problems involving wave functions for the infinite square well,
one-dimensional harmonic oscillator, and hydrogen atom including
finding probabilities of finding a particle in a region of space and
expectation values of physically measurable quantities.
6. Define terms used in describing atomic nuclei; calculate nuclear
binding energies; write equations for radioactive decay processes;
solve problems involving half-lives; and calculate Q values for
7. Explain the concept of cross-section in nuclear interactions; solve
problems involving cross-sections; write equations for nuclear
interactions; and calculate threshold energies and Q values.
8. Sketch and describe the significance of the curve of binding energy
per nucleon versus mass number; write equations for nuclear fusion
and nuclear fission processes; calculate Q values for nuclear fusions
and fissions; describe the components of and processes occurring in
9. Indicate the properties of quarks, leptons, mesons and baryons and the
conservation laws which apply in their interactions; and list the
fundamental forces in nature and the field particles for and types of
particles involved in each of these interactions.
1. Special Relativity.
a. transformation of space and time coordinates
b. length contraction and time dilation
c. relativistic momentum and energy
d. relativistic addition of velocities
2. Early Quantum Physics.
a. black body radiation and Max Planck
b. the photoelectric effect and the photon
c. Compton scattering
3. The Bohr Model of the Atom.
a. quantization of angular momentum
b. energy levels and spectra
c. the periodic table and electron shells and subshells
4. Early Wave Mechanics.
a. DeBroglie hypothesis and electron diffraction
b. Heisenberg uncertainty principle
c. wave-particle duality
5. The Schroedinger Wave Equation.
a. solution of infinite square well potential & hydrogen atom.
b. probability and expectation values (square well, quantum
oscillator, hydrogen atom)
6. Nuclear Processes
a. nuclear structure, binding energy
b. radioactive decay - half life, decay modes, Q values
c. nuclear interactions - cross-sections, Q values
d. fission - nuclear reactors, fission products, Q values
e. fusion - fusion reactors, Q values
7. Elementary Particles
a. accelerators and detectors
b. the Standard Model - leptons, quarks, mesons and baryons
8. Other topics as time allows (solid state intro., lasers, supercon-
Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Thornton & Rex, 2nd edition,