The class's Teaching
Assistant is Clark Highstrete. He is available for discussions and/or
questions, and holds weekly office hours in Room 190 of the main Physics
and Astronomy Building: from 2 to 3 pm on Monday! If you
like, you may also send him email by clicking
here, suggesting a time
and place for you to meet with him.
Introduction to the Class
This is the third semester of a general
introduction to physics.
We will study Optics and the history and foundations of Modern Physics this
semester.
Optics is the study of the interaction of light with matter, and is
divided into three distinct parts:

Geometrical, or Ray, Optics, where the interactions are such that a reasonable
model for light uses rays following trajectories, which are straight until they
come to some intersection of the media through which they travel;
 Physical Optics,
where we need a "finer" model, which uses the theory of Electromagnetic Waves,
from Maxwell's equations; and, lastly,
 the theory of Photons, where we need the more sophisticated models that take
their basis in the work of Einstein in 1905, when he introduced the notion that
light has its energy quantized, sized according to the frequency of the light in
question: E = hf .
Modern Physics actually begins
with the work of Planck (1900) and Einstein (1905) on photons, a century ago.
We will consider two large
sections of Modern Physics,
 special relativity, which describes the "unexpected"
behaviors of things that move very fast, and
 quantum theory, which describes the "unexpected" behaviors of
the smaller particles that make up the world:
molecules, atoms, protons, neutrons,
electrons, quarks, and gluons.
Photons, being both small
and fast, are at the intersection of these modern understandings of "the way
the world works."
Several different aspects of the
course are described in the list below:

We will follow the weekly, online
class Syllabus.
Your input, in terms of questions and comments, and your work
with problems and exams, will help determine our pace, so that it
may be updated from time to time. I note that the Syllabus given this
semester is in considerable more detail than the ones I have given for
the previous two semesters.
It is important to read the material before classtime.
Therefore I will occasionally give
brief "quizzes" over the material to be covered that day,
as a reminder that you do need to read the material before class!
 From time to time, I feel we need some textual material appended
to what is found in the textbook. Therefore, as they are created,
I will put links here to additional material (which is required for
the course):
 I have put here the
calculations and pictures that concern details of the
Twin Problem as discussed in class
on 24 March.
 A new set of additional notes
has just been put here. They present some detailed philosophical considerations
about the difference between classical physics and
the (new) quantum physics which we
are beginning to study.
In particular they try to discuss the fact that what we call `` elementary particles"
sometimes act (approximately) like classical particles,
sometimes act (approximately) like classical waves, and sometimes
like neither one.
 A new set of additional notes
has just been put here. They concern
Planck's Law for the spectral radiancy of Thermal Radiation, and are
required reading for the course. The material
will be covered in class during the week that begins 7 April.
 Also, please read Chapters 1 and 2 of
Volume III of The Feynman
Lectures on Physics, by Richard Feynman. You may find copies either
by going to the Reserve Book Section
at CSEL, and asking to borrow the book, or you can access it online from
CSEL's new electronic reserve service, at
this link.
The bound copies are on reserve under either
my name or the name/number of the class, or both.
In order to access them electronically you will need the password for
our class for this electronic reserve service. You should have received
this password via email; if not, please ask me, or a fellow student.

the Hydrogen Atom:
 There will also
be three examinations, homework assignments due (almost) every
class period, and a comprehensive
final examination.
You must take all three of the examinations. The final
examination is comprehensive, BUT OPTIONAL! However, you may use your
grade on the Final Examination to replace your lowest examination grade
if you so desire.
The three exam grades and the homework will then
each count 25% of the total grade for the course.
The examinations
will be during class time; you may use the Formula Sheets that I hand out in advance,
for the exams and/or a single page that you have written yourself.
The Final Examination is scheduled for 1012 AM, Friday, 16 May.
The grades will be "curved" so that the class average becomes a grade
approximately a (high) C+.
IF you miss an exam, you will make that up by taking the final examination;
therefore, there
will be NO make up examinations.
 Older exam questions on
optics
are available at this link.
 Review and Equation Summary for
the first exam may be downloaded, in Acrobat (.pdf) format here.

 Older exam questions on
special relativity may be found at this link.
 Older exam questions on
quantum physics may be found at this link.
 The problem session, P. 267001, graded CR/NC, is optional, but is very useful for help with the problems;
it meets Friday at 9 AM, in
Room 114 of Regener Hall. In order to receive credit for it, you must
enroll separately. However, attenders are welcome even if not registered for that class.
Since many of the topics in this semester are ``exciting,''
we will spend some time in P. 267 trying to answer questions
raised in class that would take us too far afield during the regular classtime.
 I strongly recommend the laboratory for this class, P. 262L. The material this semester
is far from intuitive, mostly because it deals with very, very small things and/or things
moving very, very fast. These phenomena are well outside of our usual realm of experience.
Therefore, acquiring some better acquaintance, within the laboratory classes, is quite
useful!
There are two sections, one on Wednesday afternoon, and one on Thursday morning.

Assigned Homework will be very important in your process of learning
the material being discussed. Therefore, it will
count 25% of your
final course grade.
The majority of the required homework will be done, and graded, on the
web, through the national program called Webassign. In order to use
WebAssign, you must receive a "ticket" from me, allowing you access
to the system, along with a "username" and a "password."
 You may click on WebAssign
for a direct
link to their website; however, you should set up your own bookmarks
to get there more quickly and reliably.
Although you can probably figure out what to do without
any further directions, you can go to my WebAssign page for some
more detailed comments about how to proceed.
There will also be problems to be done
directly on paper, and turned in.
Some of them will be of the nature of
Bonus Problems,
which may be used to help out one's other HW grades.
I will create solutions for both sorts, that may be accessed
from links on the assignment pages as they become available.
Direct links are given here to go to
the listing of homework assignments, divided into
three sets:

homework sets IXV, preparing for Exam 1;

homework sets XVIXXV, preparing for Exam 2;

homework sets XXVI  XXXIX, preparing for the Third Exam;
Links to the solutions are provided on the homework assignment pages.
Each of you must have a computer account.
Please use the email facility on the class home page to send
me your address, or give it to me in class.
If you are a qualified person
with disabilities who might need appropriate academic adjustments, please
communicate with me as soon as possible so that we may make appropriate
arrangements to meet your needs in a timely manner. Frequently, we will
need to coordinate accommodating activities with other offices on campus.
Once again, a special welcome to you all. I expect our working together
at learning some physics to be a very rewarding time.
Click here to return to
the top of this page.

 
finley@tagore.phys.unm.edu
 
Last updated/modified: 12 March, 2003
