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Year of entry: 2021
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Course unit details:
Quantum Physics and Relativity
|Unit level||Level 1|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Offered by||Department of Physics & Astronomy|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
Quantum Physics and Relativity
- To explain the need for and introduce the principles of the Special Theory of Relativity.
- To develop the ability to use the Special Theory of Relativity to solve a variety of problems in relativistic kinematics and dynamics.
- To explain the need for a Quantum Theory and to introduce the basic ideas of the theory.
- to develop the ability to apply simple ideas in quantum theory to solve a variety of physical problems.
This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 21/22 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact. Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.
On completion successful students will be able to:
- define the notion of an inertial frame and the concept of an observor.
- state the principles of Special Relativity and use them to derive time dilation and length contraction.
- perform calculations using the Lorentz transfornation formulae
- define relativistic energy and momentum, and use these to solve problems in mechanics.
- perform calculations using four-vectors.
- use the ideas of a wave-particle duality and the uncertainty princple to solve problems in quantum mechanics.
- perform calculations using the quantum wave function of a particle moving in one dimension, including making use of the momentum operator.
- use the Bohr formula to calculate energies and wavelengths in the context of atomic hydrogen.
- Galilean relativity, inertial frames and the concept of an observer.
- The principles of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity
- Lorentz transformations: time dilations and length contraction.
- Velocity transformations and the Doppler effect.
- Spacetime and four-vectors.
- Energy and momentum with applications in particle and nuclear physics.
- Basic properties of atoms and molecules. Atomic units. Avogadro’s number.
- The wavefunction and the role of probability.
- Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and the de Broglie relation.
- The momentum operator and the time-independent Schrödinger equation: the infinite square well.
- Applications in atomic, nuclear and particle physics: energy levels and spectra and lifetimes.
Feedback will be offered by tutors on students’ written solutions to weekly examples sheets, and model answers will be issued.
Forshaw, J.R. & Smith, G, Dynamics & Relativity (John Wiley & Sons)
Young, H.D. & Freedman, R.A., University Physics (Addison-Wesley)
Cox, B.E. & Forshaw, J.R. Why does E=mc²? (and why should we care?) (Da Capo)
Cox, B.E. & Forshaw, J.R. The Quantum Universe (Allen Lane)
Rindler, W. Relativity: Special, General & Cosmological (Oxford)
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||1.5|
|Independent study hours|
|Jeffrey Forshaw||Unit coordinator|
|Brian Cox||Unit coordinator|