**University**** of Maryland**

**Physics 622----Quantum Physics I----Fall 2008**

**Instructor:** Prof. Thomas Cohen (I prefer to be
addressed as Tom)

**Office: **2104 (

**Phone:** 5-6117 (Office); 301-654-7702 (Home---call before 10:00 p.m.)

**E-mail:** cohen@umd.edu

**email****:**

**Office Hours**

Office hours are immediately following class. I am also generally available in my office and happy to see students; just drop by--or, better yet, give me a call and then drop by.

**Course Philosophy**

In my opinion quantum
mechanics is one of the most intellectually beautiful subjects in all of
physics. It is a very rich subject in terms of both the phenomena it describes
and in its formal structure. This
course will focus on the formal structure of the theory. Applications of quantum mechanics will
largely be the domain of Physics 623.

The general approach will
be Dirac’s abstract vector space approach. There will be three main parts to the
course: i) the logical and mathematical structure of
the theory, ii)
Quantum dynamics, and iii) Symmetries including anglular
momentum.

The course assumes that you
have had a strong undergraduate background in quantum mechanics. Ideally you are comfortable with the
ideas underlying Dirac’s approach (bra and ket
vectors and the like). If this is
not the case you may consider reviewing Liboff’s
*Introductory Quantum Mechanics *(ISBN
0-8953-8714-5), an undergraduate level book on quantum mechanics which
covers this rather well.

**Books**

The main text for the
course is Sakurai's *Modern Quantum** Mechanics *(ISBN 0-201-53929-2)*. *The book
is at a fairly high level and its problems are non-trivial. The course will cover topics in
the first four chapters in Sakurai and will generally cover things following
the order of the book. In my
view the principal virtue of this book is its high intellectual level, the
depth in which it treats things and some of its challenging problems. However, it does have some important
drawbacks. One of these is its
emphasis on depth over breadth---many interesting topics in quantum mechanics
are not addressed. Another is that
in places it is not written very clearly.
As a way to deal with these deficiencies, I have listed Baym’s *Lectures
on Quantum Mechanics* (0-805-30667-6) as a recommended text. It is very clearly written and deals
with a broad spectrum of problems.
If you choose to purchase Baym you will likely
find a very useful source for alternative explanations for things which seem
obscure in Sakurai.

**Homework**

Problem sets will be
assigned regularly. Problem sets may require the use of numerical analysis that
can be done in *Mathematica** *or some
other computer program. I strongly encourage students to consult each other on
problem sets. Ideally you should attempt all of the problems by yourselves and
if you get stuck you should then consult your peers. Homework will count approximately 20% of
the final grade.

Not all problems will be graded---a representative sample will be. A set of solutions to the homework problems prepared by the TA will be posted on the course web cite for additional feedback. These solution sets may in part consistent of corrects solutions submitted by students in the course.

**Exams**

There will be a midterm exam and a final exam in this course. The exams will count for approximately 80% of the total course grade.

The exams are currently
planned as take-home. Take-home exams have two virtues: they reduce the time
pressure on students and allow them to perform at their best and they allow for
questions that are less trivial than can be done during a class period. They do
have a potential drawback, however. They are impossible to police efficiently
against cheating. Thus, we must rely on your integrity. I will ask you to
pledge to do the exams alone and to stick to this pledge. I should note that
the whole enterprise of science depends on the integrity of the researchers---
when I read a scientific paper I must assume that the researchers didn't cook
the books or I won't get anywhere.

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****Tentative Course
Outline**

**---The formal structure of quantum
mechanics
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**---Time evolution and quantum dynamics**

**---Angular momentum **

**---Symmetries and conservation laws**