PHY293F - 2010

Modern Physics

Dr. Pierre Savaria
(MP129E, phy293h1f physics utoronto ca)
Office Hours: Any time I am there and free, or by appointment (see * below)
Secretary: April Seeley (MP129)

*Fixed office hours may not be convenient for some of you. So do feel welcome to drop by at any time, any week day, until 18h. If I am in my office and not otherwise busy with other people, you will have my undivided attention. If I am not around, leave a message with my keeper (April) in MP129, and I will get back to you. You can also schedule an appointment by email.

Topics | Textbook | Correspondence | Lecture Notes


After reviewing basic but essential ideas in classical mechanics, we give an introduction to Einstein's special relativity, including evidence for the frame-independence of the speed of light, time dilation, length contraction, causality, and the relativistic connection between energy and momentum. Then we follow the historical development of quantum mechanics with the photoelectric and Compton effects, Bohr's model of the atom, wave-particle duality, leading to Schrödinger's equation and wave functions with a discussion of their general properties and probabilistic interpretation.


The textbook for the Modern Physics part of the course is Quantum Mechanics by B.H. Bransden and C.J. Joachain. Copies are available in the U of T Bookstore and the Discount Bookstore. This book will be used from the 8th lecture on. For the first seven lectures, the reference will be the lecture notes. The Relativity chapter of any general first-year physics textbook (eg. Serway & Jewett) can also serve as a reference if needed.


All correspondence with me about the content of the course and the assignments should be sent to phy293h1f physics utoronto ca. Requests for an appointment concerning course administration matters should be sent to the Course Coordinator, Prof. Trischuk.

The tutorials for PHY293/Modern Physics will be held each week on Thursday from November 4 to December 2.

Lecture Notes

The Topic column of the following table contains the outline of each lecture for this part of the course. Comprehensive notes for each lecture will be posted in pdf format as soon as possible after the lecture. A cumulative file containing all lecture notes up to that point will be updated weekly. That cumulative file will have a hyperlinked table of contents and hyperlinked equation and section references.

The lecture notes constitute the main reference for the Modern Physics part of the course. All the material they contain is examinable, whether or not it has been explicitly discussed in class.

Problem sets will be posted on the day they are going out, before the lectures, not earlier. They are due one week after the date they are posted.

Lecture Date Topic Textbook Reference Problem Sets Practice Materials
October 25 Quick review of mechanics I Notes    
October 26 Quick review of mechanics II Notes    
October 29 Einstein's relativity postulates Notes    
November 1 Spacetime interval, Lorentz transformations Notes Problem Set #1 Survival kit #1
November 2 Time dilation, length contraction Notes    
November 5 Addition of velocities, causal structure Notes    
November 8 Relativistic mechanics Notes Problem Set #2 Survival kit #2
November 9 Photoelectric effect B&J, section 1.2    
November 12 Compton effect B&J, section 1.3 Solutions 1  
November 15 Bohr's model of the atom B&J, section 1.4 Problem Set #3 Survival kit #3
November 16 De Broglie's matter-wave hypothesis B&J, section 1.6    
November 19 Double slit and nature of light/matter B&J, section 2.1 Test & problem set 2 solutions  
November 22 Wave function, complex numbers B&J, section 2.1 Problem Set #4 Survival kit #4
November 23 Probabilistic interpretation, linearity B&J, section 2.2    
November 26 Wave packets B&J, section 2.4 Solutions 3  
November 29 Heisenberg's uncertainty principle B&J, section 2.5    
November 30 Constructing Schrödinger's equation B&J, section 3.1   Survival kit #5
December 3 Time-independent Schrödinger equation B&J, section 3.5 Solutions 4  
December 6 Qualitative features of energy eigenfunctions B&J, section 3.6   Exam Equation Sheet

Problem sets are due at 17h on the due date noted on the assignment. They should be left in the course's problem-set drop box in the basement of the McLennan Physics building (across from the elevators -- where you have been handing in past Physics course problem sets). Your tutors will pick them up, grade them and return them in tutorial that week.

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