Relativity and Quantum Physics
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Sonoma State University
Class: M Tu W Th 11-11:50 am, Stevenson 3015
Instructor: Dr. Hongtao Shi
Office: Darwin 300J
Office Hours: M 9:30 -11 am, Tu 4 - 5 pm, and by appointment
Course Description: Modern physics often refers to work done in physics in the years 1890-1930. These were years of a great revolution in physics and most of the work done today directly descends from that period. In this course you will learn about special relativity, the quantization of radiation and matter, quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle, thermal physics, and both classical and quantum statistical mechanics. You will also encounter many applications of these theories.
Course Objectives: You
are required to demonstrate (a) knowledge, understanding and use of the principles
of physics, (b) ability to use reasoning and logic to define a problem in terms
of physics principles, and (c) ability to use mathematics and computer applications
to solve physics problems. By the end of this course, it
is to be expected that you will have acquired a concrete understanding of the
following topics: Special relativity, elementary quantum mechanics, the
Bohr model and de Broglie waves, the Schrödinger wave equation with applications
to one-dimensional problems and to atomic structure, introduction to equilibrium
statistical mechanics, the partition function, Boltzmann distribution and quantum
Prerequisites: You should have completed one year of calculus-based physics (Physics 114 and 214) and third-semester calculus (Math 261).
Text: Randy Harris, Modern Physics, 2nd edition, published by Addison Wesley Pearson, ISBN-10: 0805303081 | ISBN-13: 9780805303087.
Other Sources: It is often helpful to read and understand difficult new material from several viewpoints. Other, comparable texts include the 5th edition of Modern Physics by Paul Tipler and Ralph Llewellyn; Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 2nd edition, by John R. Taylor, Chris D. Zafiratos, and Michael A. Dubson. A preliminary version of Modern Physics, 3rd edition, by Kenneth Krane, is also available in pdf format at no charge for enrolled students only.
|Homework, Tests and Final Exam||Final Exam, 25%, Monday, May 14, 11 am-12:50 pm. Comprehensive!|
|Three Tests: 15% each|
|Homework Assignments: 30%|
|Course Grade||Percent||Course Grade||Percent||Course Grade||Percent|
Computer use: You are encouraged to use Mathematica or similar software in doing your homework, wherever it is appropriate.
Important University policies, such as add/drop classes, cheating and plagiarism, grade appeal procedures, can be found at
Email me if you have questions or comments.Last updated: 01/21/2018