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PHYS 519 A: Quantum Mechanics

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

Syllabus Description:

Prof. Steve Sharpe (

MWF 9:30-10:50  Remote via Zoom

Office hour: 12:30-1:30pm Tuesday & Wednesday (starting in week 2) via Zoom:

TAs: Zeeshawn Kazi ( and Isaac Shelby (

TA Office hours: 2-4 Wednesdays (although may change some week) Zoom link

Welcome to PHYS 519 (Spring 2020). This is the final quarter of the graduate QM sequence. For information about texts, homeworks, and grading see COURSE INFORMATION (PHYS 519) (which is also on the "Pages" link). There will be no exams in this class, only HWs, 9 in all, which will be due on Wednesdays, except for the last one (which is due on the last days of classes and can be substituted by a project). Lectures and office hours will be via zoom, homeworks will be submitted electronically.

Another change from the previous two quarters of this sequence is that most of the course will be "flipped". Aside from the first lecture, and an occasional new lecture, all lectures for this class are prerecorded (from last year) and available under the Panopto tab (in the Spring 2020 folder). Lecture time this year will be used for a brief summary of the material, followed by questions, followed by breakout groups discussing questions and exercises, and a roughly weekly extra-credit problem. The last 20 minutes or so of each lecture will serve as an additional office hour.

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 is given below and will be updated as the quarter progresses---see below. I will post detailed lecture notes, which can be accessed from the daily links below, or from "Files".

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.

Remote Lecture Rules 

I will record the portion of lecture time when I am lecturing, but will turn off recording during active participation/breakout sessions. 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. These recordings will not be shared with or accessible to the public.

Office hours will not be recorded.

Screenshots or recordings of other students during active video (Zoom) participation sessions are strictly forbidden. Any student caught engaging in this behavior will be reported to the Student Conduct Office.

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 26, 2021 - 2:21am