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PHYS 507 A: Physical Applications of Group Theory

Meeting Time: 
TTh 12:30pm - 1:50pm
PAA A114
Stephen R. Sharpe

Syllabus Description:

Prof. Steve Sharpe he/him (

Tu Th 12:30-1:50 PAA: A114

Office hour: Thursdays, 2-3pm B406 (by zoom if requested) 

TAs: Yiyun Dong ( & David Liu (

TA Office hours: Fridays in C421, 12:30-1:30pm (David) and 4-5pm (Yiyun)

Welcome to PHYS 507 (Autumn 2023). This course aims to provide an  understanding of finite and continuous groups and the tools needed to apply them.  The split between finite and continuous groups will be about 1:1. Group theory is important in most branches of physics, most notably solid state, nuclear and particle physics.  I assume no prior instruction in group theory, but a strong background in linear algebra is required. I assume some knowledge of QM. Based on past experience, the course should be accessible to all physics graduate students (including those in their first year) and also to advanced undergraduates with a strong math background. 

I am happy to try and answer questions by email (or zoom) if you cannot make any of the office hours. 

All the information about texts, homeworks and grading see the COURSE INFORMATION (507 A23) page (also available from the "Pages" link). There will be no exams.

Useful links are collected here: LINKS---please email suggestions for further content.

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

``We each commit to doing our part to create an environment that:

      • upholds the highest standard of scientific conduct;
      • is collegial, considerate, inclusive, respectful; and
      • is welcoming to individuals of diverse identities and characteristics, which include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical appearance, manner of speech, age, family background, religion, and marital, parental, veteran, or ability status."

As appropriate, please feel free to bring up issues with me, either in person or by email, or the department Chair.

The 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 request form (available here).

Here is the tentative schedule, which is based on what I covered in this course in 2022, so is likely quite accurate.

Catalog Description: 
Applications of finite and continuous groups, representation theory, symmetry, and conservation laws to physical systems. Offered: Sp.
Section Type: 
Last updated: 
July 1, 2023 - 2:55am