Dr. Wolfgang Christian
Office: Dana 171
Phone: 704-894-2322
Email: wochristian@davidson.edu
URL: http://webphysics.davidson.edu/course_material/py360/

PHYSICS 360: Quantum Mechanics

FALL 2009

Text: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (2nd edition) by David Griffiths
Physlet Quantum Physics
by Mario Belloni, Wolfgang Christian, and Anne Cox.
Lecture: T,Th 8:30-9:50 (Required)
Office Hours: MW 2:00-3:00, F 11:30-12:30, and Th 11:15-12:15 and other times by appointment. You can usually find me in the Dana building from 9:00 to 5:00. I teach Introductory Physics MWF at 11:30 and I reserve the hour before both Introductory Physics and Quantum Mechanics lecture for my own class preparation.
Help sessions: Students sometimes request that I have informal (and optional) evening help sessions.  No new material is covered.  I rely on on students to guide the discussion of topics.  These sessions are most popular before a major review but they can be scheduled whenever there is sufficient interest.


The successful student will obtain a thorough introduction to the theory Quantum Mechanics including:

The overall intent of this course is to build upon your foundation from Modern Physics, PHY 320. Quantum Mechanics has many new concepts including operators, observables, Hilbert space, and state functions. The book starts with the Schrödinger equation and applies it to simple physical systems. You should, of course, already be familiar with simple quantum systems and the semi-classical Bohr theory of hydrogen. The more rigorous rigorous mathematical approach presented by Griffiths provides the quantum mechanical basis used by practicing physicists. I will attempt to motivate Griffith's treatment of theory by providing examples from the Physlet Quantum Physics book.


Class periods will be a mixture of theory, analysis, demonstration, computer simulation, and discussion. I believe in the active-learner approach.  You are required to read.  Your English professor will not recite every stanza of a Shakespeare sonnet and it is a waste of our time and your parents' money for me to recite every section of Griffiths.

Homework: You will be assigned homework problems together with due dates.  Because Griffith states that problems marked with a single * are essential, I will assign all of these problems. I encourage you to use as many resources as possible to complete these exercises including: books in the library, other classmates, and me.  There is, of course, a distinction between collaboration and copying (plagiarism).  A student should be able to work each problem independently. Conversations among students for the purpose of understanding concepts are encouraged; however, the final analysis and write-up must be your own work. Copying another student's data or analysis from this class or any previous class is a violation of the honor code.  Since homework is graded, I will require that you specify where you received help and how much. Indicate if a tutor or classmate helped you with a homework problem by writing "Jane Doe showed me how to set up the free body diagram" or something similar next to the problem. Annotating your homework will keep you honest and will let me know if there are topics I need to review in class. I will not collect every homework assignment; I will on occasionally give a similar problem on a test to keep everyone honest.

Computers: Demonstrations, simulations and exercises will be assigned throughout the term.  These exercises work best on Windows XP and require Java.  Use the Windows computers in the Physics Computation Center or the public ITS laboratories.

Mathematica does a good job evaluating integrals, solving differential equations, and evaluating special functions.  There is even a Mathematica tutorial on the Wolfram website:

< http://url.wolfram.com/iy-RmU/ >

You may not, however turn turn in a Mathematica result without justification.  Integrals should be reduced to standard form and evaluated.  You may (should) use Mathematica to check your work.

Some computer exercises will require the Ejs modeling tool.  This tool is available at:

< http://www.um.es/fem/EjsWiki/ >

Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT):  You may be assigned a short JiIT exercise  to prepare you for what will be covered in the next class.   For most classes the theory will have already been covered in class.  But not always.  JiTT exercises are usually not graded on the basis of correctness but rather on the quality of the work and the clarity and depth of your response.

JiTT exercises may reinforce old material or they may require you to study new material. They must be completed before you come to class or to the laboratory. They are usually due ONE HOUR before the beginning of the class. (All pre-laboratory exercises are JiTT exercises.) Strict adherence to this rule is necessary for me to have time to review your work before class starts.


Attendance: You are required to attend all lectures.  Please see me if you have an extended illness or family emergency. You must initial the attendance sheet on the side blackboard every day so that I have a quick check of who is missing.

World Wide Web: You are required to access the Internet in order to retrieve information and complete interactive exercises.

Notebook: You should keep a notebook in which you record your day to day work. 

Tests: Tests are important since they motivate students to study and provide the opportunity to synthesize and review a wide range of material.  Tests should also be a learning exercise; if the questions weren't important, I wouldn't give them.  In order to satisfy both objectives, I often make all my tests a hybrid of in-class and take-home.  I will ask you to do a selection of problems in-class  You must turn in your work at the end of the class test period.  That portion of the test not completed in class will become a "take-home" test due the following day at 10:00AM.  All test work must be pledged and I reserve the right to restrict the reference material you may use on the take-home portion.

Grade: The final grade will be based on the traditional 100 point scale. It will be comprised of the following contributions:

Reference Books:

QM and Modern Physics Texts

 Advanced QM Texts:


Copyright © 2009 Wolfgang Christian. All rights reserved.