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Yeshiva University Department of Physics

Introduction to Modern Physics (66849 - PHY 1120 - 231)

Lectures: Professor: Sergey Buldyrev

Monday 3:00 pm 4:15 pm; 5:50 pm 6:40 pm, BH 1610

Wednesday 3:00 pm 4:15 pm, BH 1610

Office: Belfer 1112

extension: 430
e-mail: buldyrev@yu.edu
Office hours:
Tue.: 12:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m.

Textbook: Additional Reading:

Modern Physics The Making of The Atomic Bomb

Paul A. Tipler & Ralph A. Llewellyn Richard Rhodes

ISBN-10: 1-4292-5078-X ISBN: 978-1-4516-7761-4

This is an introductory course into Modern Physics (Relativity and Quantum Mechanics).
The breakdown of the material week by week, including exams is on the following page.
A) LECTURE AND HOMEWORK
Traditional lecture and discussion in class, with weekly assignment of homework (to be
solved individually). The homework problems will require analytical calculations to be
solved with pen and paper ( which should be legible or typed, and professionally
presented) . Some might include reading sources on experimental data (Millikans paper,
Comptons paper, Rutherfords paper, etc.) and processing of such data, or might have an
experimental component to be performed in the laboratory in Belfer C08. Attendance and
participation in class (lecture and recitation) is absolutely required and will be verified. IT
IS EXPECTED THAT ANY STUDENT THAT HAS TO MISS A CLASS OR PART OF
IT WILL COMMUNICATE THAT INFORMATION TO ME IN ADVANCE OVER
EMAIL, OR IMMEDIATELY AFTER IF IT WAS AN UNPLANNED EMERGENCY.
B) SPECIAL PROJECTS:
Weekly news of the week project: Each week, a student designated in advance will
use five to seven minutes at the beginning of the recitation period, to bring copies to
the class and discuss with them something connected to physics that was in the news that
week. Possible sources are the Science section of a newspaper (like the New York Times,
BBC news on Science and Environment), News of the American Physical Society,
http://www.aps.org, http://news.yahoo.com/science/, etc). I will need to receive
information of the topic and source 24 hours in advance of the class (in other words on
Sunday), to check the appropriateness of the subject. You might want to use some image
from the web or that you bring to the class, which you can set up before your
presentation.
First reading project: All students will have to read a book which explains in simple
terms the ideas of relativity, selected among the list of divulgation books at the end of
this document. (the content might overlap to a great extent with what is covered in the
lectures) and prepare a report (no shorter than 1,000 words) discussing the book. Second
reading Project: All students will have to do a little research using books, on-line
resources, etc. in which they discuss either the physical ideas of quantum mechanics, or
some aspect of the history of its creation, or some philosophical issues connected to its
interpretation. This will go beyond what is covered in class. You must submit a one page
proposal detailing what you plan to do, and then the final version of the project of a
length of at least 1500 words.
MORE DETAILS ABOUT THESE PROJECTS WILL FOLLOW
C) SPECIAL TOPICS:
Each student will have to select a special topic in consultation with me (from the list
given), and will have to make a presentation to the class (a 20 minutes lecture, with
transparencies or PowerPoint, or equivalent visual aid, colloquium style, with notes given
to the rest of the class). Other students and Faculty of the Department will attend. It will
be graded not only based on the quality of the presentation, but also on the level of
understanding of the basic ideas showed by the fellow students. This will take place at the
end of the semester, during the official final exam

Your grade for the lecture part of the course will be based on class participation,
homework, projects, midterm and final presentation.
Grade breakdown:
Homework and class participation 25%
Midterm 25%
Projects 25%
Final (presentation of research projects) 25%
Dates Topic Textbook Chapters
August 25 Michelson-Morley Experiment Chapter 1
Einstein Postulates, Lorenz
August 27 Chapter 1
Transformations
Time Dilation, Length Contraction,
September 3 Chapter 1
Doppler Effect
September 8 Relativity Paradoxes Chapter 1
September 10 Relativistic Energy and Momentum Chapter 2
Mass/Energy Conservation & Binding
September 15 Chapter 2
Energy, Invariant Mass
September 17 General Relativity Chapter 2
September 22 General Relativity Chapter 2
October 20 Midterm Chapter 2
October 22 Quantization of Charge Chapter 3
October 27 Photo-Electric Effect Chapter 3
October 29 X-Rays and the Compton Effect Chapter 3
November 3 Atomic Spectra Chapter 4
November 5 Rutherford Model Chapter 4
November 10 Bohr Model Chapter 4
November 12 X-Ray Spectra Chapter 4
November 17 De Broglie Hypothesis Chapter 5
November 19 Particle Wave-Length Chapter 5
November 24 Wave Function Chapter 5
November 26 Uncertainty Principle Chapter 5
December 1 Schrodinger Equation in 1D Chapter 6
December 3 Expectation Values and Operators Chapter 6
December 8 Harmonic Oscillator Chapter 6
December 10 Reflection and Transmission of Waves Chapter 6
December 15 Schrodinger Equation in 3 D Chapter 7
December 17 Atomic Physics Huang, Chapter 14
January 3 Final Presentations Presentation of research projects

Elementary Particles
The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene (Vintage 2000)
The Fabric of Reality, by David Deutsch (Penguin)
The hidden Domain, by Norman Freedman (TheWoodhedge Group)
Nothingness, by Henry Genz (Perseus)
Superforce, by Paul Davies (Simon & Schuster 1984)
Cosmology
Space, Time and Gravity, by Robert M. Wald, (U. of Chicago Press
1997)
A brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking (bantam 1998)
The Matter myth, by Paul Davies and John Gribbin, (Simon & Schuster
1992)
The second of creation, by Robert Crease and Charles Mann, (Rutgers
U. Press 1999)
Cosmology (Historical approach)
The dancing Universe, by Marcelo Gleiser (Penguin 1998)
Relativity
Subtle is the lord by Abraham Pais, (Oxford U. Press 1982)
The great Physicists from Galileo to Einstein, by George Gamow (Dover
1988)
E = mc2, by David Bodamis (Berkeley U. Press)
Relativity: The Special and General Theory, by Albert Einstein (Dover)
General Relativity: From A to B, by Herbert Gerach (U. of Chicago
Press)
Understanding Einsteins Theory of Relativity, by Stan Gibilisco
(Dover)
Relativity: A very short introduction, by Russell Stannard (Oxford
University Press)
Einstein: his life and Universe, by Walter Isaacson (Simon and Schuster)

Quantum Mechanics
The privilege of being a physicist, by Victor Weisskopf (W. H. Freeman
1989)
The infamous Boundary: Seven decades of controversy in Quantum
Physics, by David Wick (Birkhauser 1995)
In search of Schrdingers cat, by John Gribbin (Bantam 1984)
Schrdingers Kittens, by John Gribbin (Orion 1998)
Quantum Physics: Illusions and Reality, by Alistair Rae (Cambridge U.
Press)
Alice in Quantumland, by Robert Gilmore (Springer)
The new World of Mr. Tompkins, by George Gamow (Cambridge U.
Press)
The Physical Principles of Quantum Theory, by Werner Heisemberg
(Dover)
Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics, by Rich Herbert (Random
House)
The Quantum World, by J.C. Polkinghorne (Princeton Science Library)
Taming the Atom: The emergence of the visible microworld, by H. C.
Von Baeyer (Dover)
Paradox Lost: Images of the quantum, by E. Wallance (Springer)
Inward Bound, by Abraham Pais (Oxford University Press 1986)
Quantum Enigma, by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner,
Entanglement, by Amir Aczel
Complexity
The quark and the jaguar, by Murray Gell-Mann, (Freeman 1994)
Fragile Objects, by Philippe de Gennes and Jacques Badoz (Springer)
Simply Complexity, by Neil Johnson (OneWorld, Oford, 2010)
History of Modern Physics
Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in Twentieth
Century Physics, by George Johnson (Vintage 2000)
Genius: the life and science of Richard Feynman, by James Gleick
(Vintage 1993)
Ideas and Opinions, by Albert Einstein (Three Rivers Press)
The meaning of it all, by Richard Feynman (Perseus)
Empire of the stars: Obsession, Friendship and Betrayal in the quest for
Black Holes, by Arthur I. Miller (Houghton Mifflin)
Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time and the Beauty that causes Havoc, by
Arthur I. Miller (Basic Books)
Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science, by Lawrence
Krauss, New York: W.W. Norton, 2011.