PHYS 580 :: Physics Illinois :: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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1. General Information

Welcome to PHYS 580 Quantum Mechanics I

The course will be held in person at 119 Materials Science & Eng Bld, on Mondays and Wednesdays, at 2:00 – 3:20 pm (US central time).

Jorge’s Office Hours: My office hours will take place on Fridays from 2:00 – 3:00 pm (US central time) at 437B Loomis Laboratory. You may also reach me at the same time using the recurring Zoom link for the course (see contact info). I strongly encourage you to use this opportunity to talk about physics with me (course topics, broader physics questions, you decide!). Feel free to contact me via email at other times as well, although an appointment will be probably needed given my other activities. In any case, remember that email is the best way to reach me.

TA Office Hours: Zejun Liu = Tuesdays at 3:30 pm (US central), Cunwei Fan = Wednesdays at 6pm (US central). Same Zoom link for the course. 

The lectures will be recorded and they will be available via MediaSpace. Homework assignments will be available on the course web site.


2. Course Grading

Homework: Assignments will be distributed at regular intervals as much as possible. The lowest grade of the homework assignments will be dropped. I strongly recommend that you develop a regular schedule for doing these assignments, and do not wait until the due date before attempting the problems. Some of the problems can be quite tricky.

The homework assignments should be submitted via GradeScope. We will not accept homework by email. Questions about the grading of homework assignments should be directed to the corresponding TA and, if necessary, to me. Each assignment will have a due date, with late work penalized (10% decrease per week). If you know that you will have a conflict with the due date for some reason, please let me and the TAs know in advance.

The homework is an essential part of the course; you cannot learn physics from just the lectures. The solutions to the homework will not be distributed, but the TAs will provide substantive comments on your work so that you may learn from your mistakes.

Final exam: There will be no midterm, but there will be a final exam in the form of a take-home final. 

Grading: Final grade = 800 homework + 200 final (take-home) exam.

Maximum = 1000 points.

A >= 900

900 < B <= 800

800 < C <=700

700 < D <=600

F < 600  


3. Pre-requisites

PHYS 580 is an advanced quantum mechanics course, but the goal is to make it as much self-contained as possible. Nevertheless, you are strongly encouraged to have first attended an undergraduate physics course in quantum mechanics. For instance, the official Physics Department course website lists PHYS 485 or PHYS 487 as pre-requisites. A reasonable textbook that covers elementary undergraduate material is "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" by D. J. Griffiths. 


4. Textbooks

There is no official textbook for this course. However, you will have access to my handwritten notes right away on the course website. My notes are not meant to be a substitute for your own notes. Note-taking is a valuable and important skill to learn.

Here are some books that are traditionally recommended when it comes to a graduate level statistical mechanics course.

·      R. Shankar, "Principles of Quantum Mechanics": Great book, very detailed, though it lacks more modern topics (e.g. quantum information). 

·      J. J. Sakurai, "Modern Quantum Mechanics": Excellent book, my favorite book when I was a student, though it lacks more modern topics (e.g. quantum information). 

·      S. Weinberg, "Lectures on Quantum Mechanics": It is a book by Weinberg and, therefore, one must read it (though his notation is not standard). 

·      L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshitz, "Quantum Mechanics" (volume 3): A classic, old school book. 

·      Michael A. Nielsen and Isaac L. Chuang, "Quantum Computation and Quantum Information": Great book on quantum foundations and quantum information/computation.


5. Feedback

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments about the class, or if I mistakenly assume that you are familiar with some basic material. Your feedback is essential for this course - please enter in contact with me. There is no point in waiting until the end of the semester (or when you fill in an evaluation) because by then it is too late for me to consider acting on the feedback.


6. Course Outline

These are the main topics we will see this semester: 

1) Mathematics of quantum mechanics

2) A brief review of classical mechanics

3) Foundations of quantum mechanics

4) Simple quantum mechanical systems

5) Symmetries in quantum mechanics

6) Path integral formulation of quantum mechanics

For you to have a better idea of the material in each topic, for 1) and 2) see Chapter 1 and 2 of Shankar's book, for 3) see Nielsen and Chuang's book, while 4), 5), 6) can be found in the books by Shankar, Sakurai, or Weinberg.


7. Academic Integrity

As a student it is your responsibility to refrain from infractions of academic integrity, from conduct that may lead to suspicion of such infractions, and from conduct that aids others in such infractions. A short guide to academic integrity issues may be found at . The authoritative source is the Student Code. I will enforce the University's standards of academic integrity.