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Physics 12B Winter 2017

Physics 12b - Intro to Quantum Physics, Jan-Mar 2017

Physics 12b is a 10-week introduction to quantum physics for students planning to major in physics, astronomy, or related fields.



Instructor: Prof. Brad Filippone
Office: 102 Kellogg Radiation Lab;  Mail Code: 106-38; Phone: x4517; E-mail: bradf AT

Math 1abc or equivalent (differential equations, complex numbers, ...)
Physics 1abc, or equivalent (mechanics, special relativity, electromagnetism)
Physics 2a or Physics 12a: Waves

Tuesdays, 10:30-11:55, 269 Lauritsen.
Thursdays, 10:30-11:55, 201 East Bridge.
Any changes will be announced well in advance.

Textbook for Phys 12b:
David Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, 2nd ed; (amazon)

Recommended: Liboff, Introductory Quantum Mechanics, 4th ed;
Also French & Taylor, Eisberg & Resnick, Feynman lectures
There are many other good introductory QM textbooks

Class notes:
PDF files under "Class Notes"

Problem Sets:
Due on Monday at 5pm in the Physics 12b IN box by the East Bridge mailboxes, and returned to the Physics 12b OUT box also by the East Bridge mailboxes by the following Monday (I hope!). Solution sets will be posted on the web. You are strongly encouraged to check your work when it is returned to you. Problem sets are essential for mastering the material in this class!

Midterm and final exams during appropriate weeks of the term (5th and 10th). Both will be take-home and ``limited" open-book (only the text and class notes allowed). The final exam will be comprehensive.

Grading: 50% problem sets, 15% midterm, 35% final exam.

Recitation Leaders:

  • Min-Feng Tu [ mtu at ...], Sun. 4PM, 114 E. Bridge
     Office Hrs: Sun. 5PM, 114 E. Bridge

  • Matthew Heydeman [mheydema at ...], Fri. 2PM, 107 Downs
     Office Hrs: Fri. 3PM, 4th floor Lauritsen Interaction Area

Head Grader:

  • Kung-Yi Su [ ksu at ]
     HW Grading: HW1=ksu, HW2=mtu, HW3=mheydema, ...


  • OFFICIAL policy: Work (the entire problem set) will be accepted up to one week late at 1/2 credit, no credit thereafter. Please put a note at the top of your problem set if it is late.
  • Students may request extensions from the corresponding grader (see emails above) a day or more in advance. Extension requests are governed by the honor system.
  • One extension (for up to one week) is allowed without question (your silver bullet). Please put a note at the top of your problem set that you are using your silver bullet.
  • Extension requests should be accompanied by a good excuse (eg, physical or mental illness), and in principle should be accompanied by a note from the dean.
  • Please put late or extension problem sets in the corresponding grader's mail box, and email them.
  • Late papers make far more work for the graders, who have their own set of pressures and deadlines as graduate students. There is no entitlement to extensions, so please do not be demanding.

Honor Code and Collaboration policy:

  • Work is governed by the honor system.
  • You may not use sources that contain the answer to a problem or to a very similar problem.
  • In particular, do not use solution sets from previous years, problem/solution books, or internet searches at any time. Exams and their solutions from past years are not to be used in any fashion.
  • Discussion with others is encouraged, but then you should go off alone and write it up; the work you hand in must be your own.
  • Mathematica may be used in problem sets, or in exams for getting past some mathematical chore (not for gaining knowledge of the physics). It should never be necessary; it is much better to master the mathematical analysis yourself without help from Mathematica. If you chose to use Mathematica anyway, make sure you simplify the result as much as possible, so that it is easy to see what the math is telling you.
  • Please attend class, and section meetings!
  • Please ask questions of the TA's and the prof.
  • Please clearly write your name, date, assignment number on all of your assignments and exams.
  • Clearly mark the problem numbers and answers.
  • Please write as neatly as possible. A human being is trying to read your work well enough to give credit!

I greatly appreciate student feedback; feedback prior to the end-of-term evaluations lets me modify the class to fit your needs. I also welcome any comments in person, by email to bradf AT, by campus mail, whatever you like. Or, talk to your:

Ombudsfolk are student volunteers who represent the students of each of the undergrad houses. They collect suggestions, comments, complaints, etc, and present them to the head ombudsperson at periodic meetings (free lunch!). Talk to your ombudsperson!

  • Ben Calvin, bcalvin AT (Blacker)
  • Jake Mattinson, jmattins AT (Ricketts)
  • Walker Melton, wmelton AT (Avery)
  • Anusha Pai, apaiasno AT (Ruddock)
  • Madeline Schemel, mschemel AT (Lloyd)
  • Alejando Yankelevich, ayankele AT (Dabney)
  • Charles Ross, charleshenryrosstd AT (Fleming)

Handouts: (Access to solutions are restricted to Caltech)