Physics 331, Modern Physics II

MWF 11:00-11:50, Spring 2011

Room 126 RHSC

Dr. Jeff Wragg

Office: room 103 RHSC

Office Hours: MW: 1:30-2:20 | R: 11:00-11:50 | → But come by any time

phone: 843-953-5781

email link or send me an anonymous web-based email

Text: Any fairly recent modern physics text. Please consult me if you are unsure.

This course continues the introduction to twentieth century physics you began in Physics 230. I expect to cover material beginning with statistical physics and to continue through with some of the topics listed here. The course will be heavily supplemented with relevant current topics and applications. We want to further develop your physical intuition, to extend your physics experience more deeply, to enhance your capacity for solving problems both qualitatively and quantitatively, and for you to understand the motivation and process of the development and application of modern physics.

I intend to make this course as relevant as possible, consistent with the overall design philosophy of the course. Supplemental material will be heavy with current industrial technology. We will briefly discuss the topics below, and any others that come up, and as a class will pick the order of coverage.

- Statistical Physics (covered first, no matter what)
- Nanoscience
- Cryogenics
- Lasers
- Semiconductor Fabrication
- Plasmas
- Magnets
- Nuclear
- Condensed Matter
- Vacuums
- Elementary Particles
- Non-chemical space propulsion

If you have a question, please ask it. If you have a comment, please make it. Even an anonymous note under my door or in my mailbox is fine. Communication is the essence of the classroom experience. I am pleased to see you any time you can find me.

You will need to maintain a working knowledge of the physics and mathematics at the level of physics 111/112, 230, and math at the level used in phys230. Mathematics is the elegant shorthand of physics. We will use calculus and differential equations along the way to develop our view of the problem and to formulate simple, mathematical relationships among physical aspects of the universe.

I also assume that you have computer skills, including email, using the web, word processing, Mathematica, spread sheets, and other generic, scientific computer tools.

Computational systems such as Mathematica are very common tools in many fields of science and engineering. The experience you gain in this class will likely be a significant benefit in your further education and in your career. You will be encouraged, and sometimes mandated to work problems using Mathematica.

I expect you to have studied the relevant material for each day. Assume that I may give you a short quiz at any time to help motivate you to be prepared for class. The most common, and perhaps the deadliest habit is to postpone your assault of the material. You are expected to diligently apply yourself, since it is your future you are working for. Assume that I may give you a short quiz at any time to help motivate you to be prepared for class. The best advice I can give you is come to every class, take good notes, read the book, do the problems, talk with your classmates, and **keep up**. I know these sound trivial, but they are all too often ignored.

Attendance, timliness, and participation are critical to the learning process and an integral part of this course. Since class time is heavily invested in supplemental material you cannot possibly make up missed material simply by studying the text. I may circulate an attendance sheet that you initial so I can keep track of attendance. In general, I believe that absence is its own punishment, that is, you miss things you can't possibly get by going over a classmate's notes. You are responsible for material covered that day. Contact one of your classmates for the notes. Failure to attend class on the day an assignment is assigned or due does not mean that you may turn in a late assignment without penalty. There are certain aspects of the course for which the information can be obtained only in class, thus, a student who misses class will miss material they will need on quizzes and tests. There will be no makeup quizzes. If you have a catastrophe please contact the undergraduate dean's office to get it documented. After I get notified by the Dean's Office I will judge whether you get an excused miss or a zero for the late or missed material.

- To increase understanding of natural laws by surveying the major topical areas of modern physics
- To develop physical curiosity
- To enhance problem solving and critical thinking skills
- To connect abstract laws with concrete objects and phenomena
- To enhance investigative and observational skills
- To develop an appreciation for logical qualitative and quantitative reasoning
- To develop communication skills
- To connect physical concepts, principals, and laws to global and societal issues

- Design experiments which examine modern physics
- apply conservation laws
- Describe problems and their solutions to a variety of audiences
- Solve word problems
- Qualitatively and quantitatively apply physical principles to novel situations
- Provide a description of how to solve a problem, justifying their choices
- Provide different representations for a problem (verbal, graphical, vector, diagrams, or equations)
- Describe qualitatively and quantitatively philosophical and societal problems relevant to modern physics
- Apply principles of modern physics to the practical world
- Connect science and technology

A key word in education is RESPONSIBILITY. I have responsibilities as the instructor. You have responsibilities to yourself, me, and the class. One responsibility is to be in class every day and be there on time. As a student it is your job. Another is to be prepared for class. Also please do not think it is my job or my responsibility to teach you. IT IS NOT. It is my job to create an environment in which you can teach yourself. This course is organized by the above goals and objectives in order to achieve this end. The goal of education is to empower the individual student to be self-taught. I can't do this for you, but I can help a lot.

Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the assigned day. Late assignments may be accepted (at my whim), but will ordinarily be penalized substantially.

Work problems neatly using only one side of the paper. Put your name on the top right corner on the back of the page. **Neatness counts**. Computer help, such as Mathematica, is appropriate, just be sure you print out your worksheet and turn it in with your assignment or email it to me as an attachment.

I may give pop quizzes without notice. If you keep up on your homework, reading assignments, and classroom activities you should have little difficulty with the quizzes.

We will have a quiz covering each topic or two. They may include problems, graphs, sketches, and explanations. I generally do not have multiple choice or true/false questions. If you question your score on a quiz you must bring it to my attention within 24 hours after the graded quizzes were returned in class.

You will write a paper, at least 1500 words long (not counting title page and references). It may be over any topic relevant to our Modern Physics course. I am the judge of whether a topic is suitable or not. I generally allow a great deal of latitude when making this judgement. It is usually an easy call for me if your topic is tied in closely with your career or educational goals. A couple of weeks before the end of the semester (by Wednesday, 13 April) you will turn in a draft of your paper, at least 800 words. The last two meetings of the class will be devoted to oral presentations of your topic to the class. You will talk for 7-9 minutes and have a couple of minutes to answer questions from the audience. I will pass out more specific information on the paper and talk later. The final exam will include material presented in the talks. Here are some Paper and Talk guidelines.

I assign letter grades to exams when I return them to you. I encourage you to see me at any time for my assessment of your work. Below are the relative weights of the pieces of your semester grade.

Subject to changeHomework and pop quizzes 15%

Topic Quizzes 40%

Paper 12%

Talk 8%

Final Exam 25%

**Disposal of submitted work**

I will dispose of old, unclaimed quizzes, homeworks, tests and papers about a month into the next semester, so if you want them, please contact me. Final exams I keep for a couple of years, but you can look at them if you want.

6 Feb 2011 - jlw