PHYS-153 Relativity and Quantum Physics
Fall for 2017-2018
Relativity and quantum mechanics are the cornerstones of modern physics and deal with some of the most bizarre and paradoxical behavior seen in the physical world. In this course, we will show how to systematically build a theory based on the fact that the speed of light is a constant in any inertial reference frame, which leads to time dilation, length contraction, and a number of surprising paradoxes. We will then note how Einstein's principle of equivalence leads to a reformulation of our understanding of gravity, namely general relativity. Next we will introduce the quantum-mechanical world and see how wave-particle duality leads to a probabilistic interpretation of physical reality. We will employ the two-slit experiment to understand the bizarre predictions of quantum mechanics. We will use Schroedinger's equation to model simple quantum systems, culminating in a description of the hydrogen atom. The emphasis of the course will be on conceptual ideas and theory building, with support through quantitative problem solving. Weekly tutorials and laboratories supplement the lectures. Three lecture hours, one tutorial hour, and two laboratory hours.
Prerequisites: PHYS-151,152 or -101,102 (pre-requisite), MATH-137 (co-requisite)
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