- Code PHYS6013
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Research School of Physics and Engineering
- ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
- Course subject Physics
- Areas of interest Physics, Science, Engineering
Quantum mechanics (along with General Relativity) is one of the two foundational theories on which modern physics rests. This course introduces the basic theoretical concepts and formalism, including the wave mechanics developed by Schroedinger and others and some aspects of the matrix formalism first developed by Heisenberg.
The course starts with an overview of the historical evidence that led to the development of a quantum theory of matter and light. This is followed by an introduction to the key elements of quantum mechanics, including the statistical interpretation of wave functions, the role of operators and their connection with observables, and uncertainty. These concepts are initially introduced and reinforced through relatively simple problems with analytic solutions, but computational solutions are also examined where appropriate.
This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Appraise the kinds of experimental results which are incompatible with classical physics and which required the development of a quantum theory of matter and light;
- Interpret the wave function and apply operators to it to obtain information about a particle's physical properties such as position, momentum and energy;
- Solve the Schroedinger equation to obtain wave functions for some basic, physically important types of potential in one dimension, and estimate the shape of the wavefunction based on the shape of the potential;
- Examine the role of uncertainty in quantum physics, and use the commutation relations of operators to determine whether or not two physical properties can be simultaneously measured;
- Apply the technique of separation of variables to solve problems in more than one dimension and to understand the role of degeneracy in the occurrence of electron shell structure in atoms;
- Compare the matrix formalism to the use of basis states, and solve simple problems in that formalism.
Indicative AssessmentAssessment will be based on:
- MC questions (online): after most lectures there will be a series of exercises (multiple choice questions). You will in general have one go at each question and they should be done independently. The combined mark from all these exercises will form 10% of the mark. (LO 1-6)
- Assignments (offline): There will be a total of 8 assignments that you will do throughout the course. These will be released on the Wattle site and will contribute 16% to your final mark. (LO 1-6)
- Quiz (offline): there will be Two quizzes during the course (held in the Lute), approximately evenly spread throughout the semester. These quizzes will consist of multiple choice questions and will be worth 4% each. The first quiz will be held a quarter of the way through the course and the second quiz will be held ¾ of the way through the course. The idea of these quizzes is that you get some feedback of how you’re travelling throughout the course. (LO 1-6)
- Mid-Term Exam (offline): There will be a mid-term exam – that will ensure you are keeping up with the course, it will be worth 20%. (LO 1-3)
- Final Exam (offline): There will be a 3hr final exam, similar to previous years exams. Previous exams are available from the library. The final exam will be worth 30%, and will focus on the second half of the course, although concepts from the first part of the course will still be needed. (LO 1-6)
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WorkloadThe course now follows the ‘flipped classroom’ model, that is, there are no lectures but instead short videos that convey the course content. After each of these videos there are a serious of multiple choice (MC) questions which are intended to test your understanding of the video content.
In this course you will learn how to perform calculations in quantum mechanics. This is best done in a weekly 2hr ‘workshop’ environment. A typical workshop consists of a problem sheet that is based on concepts of the weekly videos that the whole class works through. Discussion with other students at your table, about the problems, is encouraged, however, the real strength of the workshop is the student’s access to experienced tutors/lecturer (about 15 students per tutor for this course). These tutors will walk round the workshop answering questions about the problems and any other questions the student might have about the course.
There will be NO assessment in these workshops (for this course), however attendance at the weekly workshop is compulsory.
For 1 hour each week I will meet with the class and discuss concepts in QM. Since this is the combination of a lecture and a tute, I call this a Lute. The main reason for this hour is for discussion of the assignment problems (hints not direct answers) as well as other similar problems. This session will not be compulsory, accept when quizzes are held.
Requisite and Incompatibility
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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