Physics 273 – Advanced Honors Physics III – Modern Physics – Fall 2018

Course Information

01:750:273 Advanced Honors Physics III is a 3-credit course that completes the Honors Physics sequence. It covers the topics of Modern Physics, i.e. the physics that was developed in the 20th and 21st centuries.  We will cover special relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, and cosmology.  Lectures will be in the Physics Lecture Hall (PLH) on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:35pm to 4:30pm.

The instructor for this class is Prof. John Paul Chou (johnpaul at  Office hours will be held by appointment.



A variety of sources will be used throughout the semester.  Earlier editions of the textbook noted below are also usable, although caveat emptor applies regarding the specific chapters/sections quoted for the reading.




Lecture Topics



Mon. 9/3

Labor Day

Wed. 9/5

Introduction; Michelson-Morley Experiment

T&R 2.1-2.2; K&K 12.1-12.3


Mon. 9/10

Postulates of SR and Lorentz transformations

T&R 2.3-2.4; K&K 12.4-12.7

Wed. 9/12

Lorentz contraction, time dilation, velocity transformations

T&R 2.5-2.6; K&K 12.8-12.9


Mon. 9/17 (HW1 due)

Doppler shift, paradoxes

T&R 2.8, 2.10; K&K 12.10-12.11

Wed. 9/19

Momentum and Energy

T&R 2.11-2.12; K&K 13.1-13.4


Mon. 9/24 (HW2 due)

Massless particles and the photoelectric effect

T&R 2.12, 3.6; K&K 13.5-13.6

Wed. 9/26

Minkowski space and four-vectors T&R 2.9; K&K 14.1-14.5


Mon. 10/1 (HW3 due)

Momentum-energy four-vectors and relativity revisited T&R 3.8-3.9; K&K 14.6-14.7

Wed. 10/3

Magnetism as a relativistic effect T&R 2.14; Purcell 5.1-5.4


Mon. 10/8 (HW4 due)

Magnetism as a relativistic effect (cont.)

Purcell 5.5-5.9, link

Wed. 10/10

Exam I


Mon. 10/15

Wave nature of matter

T&R 5.2-5.5; FL3 1.1-1.8

Wed. 10/17

Uncertainty principle

T&R 5.6-5.7, 6.1-6.2; FL3 2.1-2.6


Mon. 10/22 (HW5 due)

Particle in a box

T&R 5.8, 6.3

Wed. 10/24

Simple harmonic oscillator

T&R 6.4-6.6


Mon. 10/29 (HW6 due)

3D Schrodinger Equation

FL3 19.1-19.3, Laplacian derivation, Spherical Harmonics

Wed. 10/31

Hydrogen Atom

T&R 7.1-7.2


Mon. 11/5 (HW7 due)

Angular Momentum

FL3 19.4-19.5

Wed. 11/7

T&R 7.3-7.5


Mon. 11/12 (HW8 due)

Zeeman effect

T&R 8.1-8.3

Wed. 11/14

WKB approximation and tunneling (class cancelled) T&R 6.7


Mon. 11/19

Exam 2

Wed. 11/21



Mon. 11/26

Guest Lecture: Prof. Sevil Salur
Nuclear Physics

T&R 12.1-12.8, 13.1-13.6

Wed. 11/28

Guest Lecture: Prof. Weida Wu
Condensed Matter Physics

T&R 10.3-10.5


Mon. 12/3 (HW9 due)

Introduction to the Standard Model

T&R 14.1-14.8

Wed. 12/5

Guest Lecture: Prof. Amit Lath
Particle Physics


Mon. 12/10 (HW10 due)

Introduction to nuclear physics T&R 12.1-12.8, 13.1-13.6

Wed. 12/12

Introduction to general relativity and cosmology

T&R 15.1-15.5, 16.1-16.7


Homework will be due at 4:30pm on Mondays.  Please submit them in the mailbox of recitation instructor (Amir Kazemi-Moridani).  The mailbox room can be found on the 2nd floor of Serin across from the Chair's office.  Homework not turned in by the end of class time will be counted as a zero.  Solutions are posted below:


Two in-class midterms will be held on Oct. 10th and Nov. 19.  The final will be held on Friday, December 21 from 12-3pm in the PLH.
You should bring a scientific calculator for each exam.  For the midterms, you are allowed one 8.5x11" formula sheet (both sides).


The recitation instructor is Amir Kazemi-Moridani.  Amir's office hours will be held on Fridays from 10:00-11:30am in ARC 229.  Recitations will be held on Thursdays every week except:


The grades will be accounted for as following: There is an online gradebook for this course.  Please refer to this to learn your exam grades.

Students with Disabilities

Please consult the professor as early as possible if you have a disability that might interfere with learning.  We will help you as much as possible. Also, please consult the website on disabilities.  The University has coordinators for students with disabilities.