You are here

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  PAA A114

Office hour: Wed 1-2pm, hybrid (I'll be in my office, B406, and have this zoom turned on)

TA: Isaac Shelby (

TA Office hours: Tuesday 5-6 pm, Wednesday 4-5 pm (2nd floor lounge)

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, 7 or 8 in all, which will mostly be due on Wednesdays.  Homeworks will be submitted electronically. The final HW can be substituted by a term paper on a QM-related topic of your choice, with prior approval. 

I will determine the format of the class after input from you. We will discuss this in the first class, and there is a HW0 (worth 6 points) in which you can give your ranking of different options. Because the prior two years were on zoom, there are lots resources: lecture notes, summary lecture notes + exercises, as well as recordings of both lectures and summary lectures. I want to use the lecture time in a way that is most useful for those who intend to attend regularly. After our discussion of this point in class, and given the results from HW0, I will make a choice (which may get tweaked as we proceed). Based on feedback, lectures will be in person, aiming for 50-60 minutes of lecture time, with an exercise after that.

Another issue is that, despite being a 4 credit class (which nominally has 200-210 mins lecture time/week) we actually are assigned (for reasons that I've never understood)  240 mins/week. Over the course of a quarter this means that we have 3-4 "extra" lecture sessions. In a normal quarter these are devoted to review for exams. However, since we have no exams, my plan is to (a) not have a lectures on April 25 or May 4 (the latter being the day before the midterm in Classical Mechanics (PHYS 505)), and (b) to not have lectures in the final week of classes. 

Turning to physics, 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. 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 (if appropriate)

I will record the portion of lecture time when I am lecturing remotely, 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, 2022 - 4:24am