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Quantum Mechanics 171.606         Spring 2012


 This is the second part of a two-semester graduate level course in quantum mechanics. Arguably, the quantum theory represents the finest intellectual achievement of modern science. Its predictions are as profound as they are bewildering -- our "common sense" intuition is frequently overwhelmed when faced with its many paradoxes. Yet, the combined power of its logical, mathematical structure and numerous experimental validations force us to accept quantum mechanics as our basic theory of the physical universe -- it is the most quantitatively accurate theory in physics and its myriad of applications influence every aspect of modern life, from latest advances in medical technology to rise of trillion dollar computer & communication industries to laptops, iPods, quantum computing and the like. After this two-semester course, a graduate student will be equipped with solid conceptual and practical understanding of quantum theory and be able to start gaining a foothold on the contemporary research frontier in physical sciences.


In lieu of a detailed Syllabus, a sampling of topics to be covered, in chronological order: (First semester) review of the wave mechanics and the Schrödinger equation, Hilbert space and quantum operators, harmonic oscillator, coherent states, equations of motion for operators, the WKB approximation, central forces and angular momentum, scattering theory, (Second semester) Coulomb and resonant scattering, spin, density matrix, entangled states and quantum information, perturbation theory (time-independent and time-dependent), quantized radiation field, absorption and emission of radiation, identical particles, second quantization and quantum many-body problem with examples, Dirac equation and relativistic quantum mechanics.



  Class announcements:

Midterm Exam

Tuesday, March 27, 10:30-11:45 am, Bloomberg 278

Final Exam

Friday, May 11, 2-5 pm, Bloomberg 278


  Exams and grading

During the semester there will be weekly/biweekly homeworks each carrying 100 points. Out of these, no more than 8 on which you scored the most points will be included in the computation of the final grade (note that, depending on the course schedule, we might end up having no more than 8 homeworks). The homework will ordinarily be distributed on the day of the conference, and will be due the following week. No late homework will be accepted! There will be a closed book midterm exam in late March/early April, worth 400 points. At the end of the semester there will be a final exam, worth 800 points. Your grade will be decided on the basis of total number of points from homework, midterm and final exam. Graduate students are generally expected to do convincingly better than the 1,000 points total to receive a passing grade (for example, 800 points on homework and 210 on exams does not qualify for a pass).



Homeworks are due at the start of each class/conference, one week after being posted. The problems will be posted on this page in Adobe Portable Document Format (*.pdf). PDF is the preferred format for viewing documents on screen.




Problem Set 1.

Homework #1


Problem Set 2.

Homework #2


Problem Set 3.

Homework #3   


Problem Set 4.

Homework #4   


Problem Set 5.

Homework #5   


Problem Set 6.

Homework #6   


Problem Set 7.

Homework #7   


Problem Set 8.

Homework #8   NEW


Problem Set 9.



Problem Set 10.



Problem Set 11.




  Class hours and Location

Lectures : Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 -- 11:45 am, Bloomberg 278

Conference: Fridays, 12:00 noon -- 12:50 pm, Bloomberg 274


  Lecturer and TA info


Professor: Zlatko Tesanovic

TA: Jian Kang

Office location:

Bloomberg 315

Bloomberg 357


x6-5391, Secretary: x6-8429 (Sharon Karsk)


E-mail address:

zbt@pha.jhu.edu , karsk@pha.jhu.edu


Office hours:

Thursdays 12:00 noon –1:00 pm and by appointment

Tuesdays 3:00 -- 4:00 pm and by appointment

  Textbooks and related links

Primary textbook: This is an advanced graduate level course and there is no single primary textbook; you have to attend the lectures and take notes. That being said, “Quantum Mechanics” by F. Schwabl (Springer) offers a solid and comprehensive introduction to the subject and perhaps is the closest in style and emphasis to the lectures.  Toward the end of the Spring semester, we will also discuss subjects covered in the second part of Schwabl's treatise, the “Advanced Quantum Mechanics” (Springer). Older editions of Schwabl’s book will serve just fine.

Other useful textbooks and www links: There are at least ten good textbooks on quantum mechanics. The formidable classics are Landau & Lifshitz, Davydov, Messiah, Schiff and Baym. The modern standouts are Shankar and Sakurai. Cohen-Tannoudji, Diu & Laloe “Quantum Mechanics” (Wiley) is beloved by students for its step-by-step style, R. Robinett’s “Quantum Mechanics” (Oxford) has many contemporary physics examples, A. Bohm’s “Quantum Mechanics; Foundations and Applications” (Springer) is heavy on mathematical rigor, R. Omnes’ “The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics” (Princeton University Press) dwells on the conceptual side, while the good old S. Flugge’s “Practical Quantum Mechanics” (Springer) still separates the men/women from the boys/girls.

There are also numerous useful web links on various aspects of quantum theory. A sampling (many in the form of Java applets) includes a 1D Quantum Crystal, Curious world of quantum by Prof. M. Franz from UBC, Quantum Physics Online from French Ecole Polytechnique, Visual Quantum Mechanics from Kansas State, 1D Quantum Mechanics by Paul Falstad, etc.

  University-wide statement on Academic Ethics

The strength of the university depends on academic and personal integrity.  In this course, you must be honest and truthful.  Ethical violations include cheating on exams, plagiarism, reuse of assignments, improper use of the Internet and electronic devices, unauthorized collaboration, alteration of graded assignments, forgery and falsification, lying, facilitating academic dishonesty, and unfair competition.  Report any violations you witness to the instructor. You may consult the associate dean of students and/or the chairman of the Ethics Board beforehand. See the guide on "Academic Ethics for Undergraduates" and the Ethics Board web site (http://ethics.jhu.edu) for more information.