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PHYS 519 A: Quantum Mechanics

Meeting Time: 
MWF 9:30am - 10:50am
PAA A114
Stephen R. Sharpe

Syllabus Description:

Prof. Steve Sharpe (

MWF 9:30-10:50  Via Zoom---links have been announced and are also in calendar---lectures are recorded and available for watching through Canvas (except for the first lecture)

Office hour: 1-2pm Tuesday & TBD--via Zoom also.

TAs: Tyler Blanton ( & Andrew Baumgartner (

TA Office hours: Th 4-5, M 4-5, Tu 3-4/4-5 (alternating weeks), all via Zoom 

Welcome to PHYS 519 (Spring 2020). This is the final quarter of the graduate QM sequence. For information about texts, homeworks, exams and grading see COURSE INFORMATION (PHYS 519) (which is also on the "Pages" link). Key facts: HWs will be due, tentatively, on Wednesdays in class; there will no be no final exam but instead two midterms, one midway through the quarter, tentatively on Friday, May 8, and the second on the last day of classes, Friday, June 5th. There will be a review session in the lecture slot prior to each midterm. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, lectures and office hours will be via zoom, homeworks will need to be submitted electronically, and midterms will have to be take-home (details TBD). 

We are allotted "4.5" hours/week (really 3*80=240 mins of class time/week)  instead of what is appropriate for a 4 credit class (2*80+50=210 mins/week). Thus, strictly speaking, we have between 3 and 4 extra lecture slots over the course of the quarter. I will use these for 2 review sessions, and will cancel the lectures on Monday May 18 and Wednesday May 20.

My aim this quarter is to cover Sakurai & Napolitano (SN) Chapters 6-8, with some additional material included as needed. Note that I will not follow SN's development or order precisely.

  • Scattering theory (this is a huge subject and will take about 9 lectures)
  • QM of multiple identical particles--starting with 2 and going to any number, i.e. ``second quantization". This will include some discussion of how to describe a Bose-Einstein condensate in an a trap.
  • Quantization of the EM field (dipping our toes into Quantum Field Theory)
  • Relativistic QM, including an introduction to the Dirac equation

The detailed lecture by lecture coverage will emerge as the quarter progresses---see below. I will post detailed lecture notes, which can be accessed from the daily links below, or from "Files".

Required statement concerning the recording of lectures:

This course is scheduled to run synchronously at your scheduled class time via Zoom. These Zoom class sessions will be recorded. The recording will capture the presenter’s audio, video and computer screen. Student audio and video will be recorded if they share their computer audio and video during the recorded session. The recordings will only be accessible to students enrolled in the course to review materials. These recordings will not be shared with or accessible to the public.

The University and Zoom have FERPA-compliant agreements in place to protect the security and privacy of UW Zoom accounts. Students who do not wish to be recorded should:
Change their Zoom screen name to hide any personal identifying information such as their name or UW Net ID, and Not share their computer audio or video during their Zoom sessions

Code of Conduct (excerpted from Physics Department Code of Conduct)

``Creating a supportive environment to foster academic and scientific progress and ensuring that all members of the department have access to a safe working and learning environment is a collective responsibility.  Should unprofessional or inappropriate actions or comments be observed or experienced, direct intervention calling attention to the problematic behavior is often the best response.  If that does not feel appropriate or safe, one should contact Physics Student Services, one’s supervisor, the Physics Ombud, and/or SafeCampus to help determine and effect an appropriate response.''

As appropriate, please feel free to bring up issues with me, either in person, by email, or via an anonymous  comment.

UW student code of conduct is here.

Religious Accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Faculty Syllabus Guidelines and Resources. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations The request form is available here.

Catalog Description: 
Continuation of PHYS 518. Modern non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Physical examples and conceptual problems. Topics include: atomic structure, scattering processes, density operator description of mixed states, and measurement theory. Abstract operator methods emphasized in the exposition of angular momentum, scattering, and perturbation theory. Offered: Sp.
Section Type: 
Last updated: 
January 22, 2020 - 9:51pm