Fall 2020

Modern Physics

Listed in: Physics and Astronomy, as PHYS-225

Formerly listed as: PHYS-25

Moodle site: Course


David S. Hall (Section 01)


The theories of relativity (special and general) and the quantum theory constituted the revolutionary transformation of physics in the early twentieth century. Certain crucial experiments precipitated crises in our classical understanding to which these theories offered responses; in other instances, the theories implied strange and/or counterintuitive phenomena that were then investigated by crucial experiments. After an examination of the basics of Special Relativity, the quantum theory, and the important early experiments, we will consider their implications for model systems such as a particle in a box, the harmonic oscillator, and a simple version of the hydrogen atom. We will also explore the properties of nuclei and elementary particles, and study other topics such as lasers, photonics, and recent experiments of interest in contemporary physics. Three class hours per week.

This course is designed to involve in-person lectures and discussions, with problem sets and projects; but provisions will be available for remote and asynchronous learning, including recorded class meetings, online activities, and synchronous office hours at times TBA.

Requisites: MATH 121 and PHYS 117 or 124 or equivalent or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Hall.


Quantitative Reasoning


2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023