Sudhakar Prasad

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Fall 2005

Sudhakar Prasad

Phone: 277-5876

MWF 12:00 - 12:50 PM, Regener Hall 103

Note:    Problem Session, Physics 267, meets Mondays at 2 pm, Regener Hall 114

[1 credit hour; CR/NC grade]


Fundamentals of Physics (Extended), Halliday, Resnick, and Walker;



6th Edition: Chapters 17, 32, 34-41


Special Relativity: A Modern Introduction, H. C. Ohanian (paperback)



(sections of) Chapters 1-4

Office Hours:

M: 12:55-1:55 pm, RH 109; W, F: 2:30-3:30 pm, P&A, Rm 1119 (at Yale and Lomas, NE corner)

General Introduction:
The course will cover three major areas of physics – optics, special relativity, and quantum physics. The importance of optics can hardly be overstated, as light pervades our daily lives in ways no other technology ever has, while the latter two areas constitute the very foundation of modern physics. Because of the nature of the subject matter, lectures will be at a somewhat more advanced level than you are accustomed to from Phys 160 or 161, but you no doubt expected that. Hopefully, however, I can make the subject not only accessible but also enjoyable and inspiring for you.
Please do not hesitate ever to ask questions as and when they arise in your mind. Outside the classroom, the best way of contacting me is by phone or email. Although I prefer to answer your questions during my regular office hours, you are welcome to call/email me and set up an appointment outside these hours too, if absolutely necessary.
Exams: There will be four, in-class, equally weighted exams in this course – three “sectional mid-terms,” on Sep 23, Oct 31, and Dec 2; and a final “comprehensive” exam on Dec 16. Your best three exam scores will count for 75% of your grade. No make-up exams will be given.
HW Assignments: There will be roughly two HW assignments per week – one via WebAssign and one graded by the grader. HW grade will carry 25% of the weight of the final grade. Non-webassign HW assignments and their solutions will be posted on e-reserves, click on my name/course number.
WebAssign: You must register online with your webassign access cards purchased at the book store by the end of the first week of classes. Your temporary passwd is the last 4 digits of your SS number (ignoring any leading zeroes); username: your unm-email prefix (without; for those without email, last name as one word
Lecture Notes: They will be posted to e-reserves as well, hopefully no later than the day of the lecture. Other supplementary materials will also be posted there from time to time.

CPS (“Clickers”) Quizzes: There will be 1-2 questions (“quizzes”) each class period to test your understanding of key concepts. You will be asked to answer these questions by using your CPS pads. I will use your performance in these quizzes for extra credit of up to 10% of the overall grade. Please purchase a pad at the bookstore and be registered at by the end of the 1st week of classes. Your class key is 211620p48
Grader: Zahyun Ku (; office hrs: to be determined
Problems Classes: Only a few of you have signed up for the P267 Problems class on Mondays at 2 pm. This year you will be able to sign up for one of two other problem sessions as well to be run by Paul Thorman, a Physics graduate student and special Supplemental Instructions TA. His session times will be determined in consultation with your schedules; I will be asking for your preferences in the first lecture on Monday, 8/22/05. Please take full advantage of these opportunities. Problem sessions are an excellent way for you to get more individualized help with the course and thus to improve your overall performance in the class. Additionally, problem solving is one major scientific skill you will be able to develop further in this way.

Course Outline

  1. Electromagnetic and Other Waves: 4 lectures

    1. Review of general wave behavior – 17.1-5, 17.8-11

    2. Wave equation from Maxwell’s equations – 32.9-11, 34.1-3

    3. Poynting vector, polarization, refractive index, reflection, refraction – 34.4-9

  2. Geometrical and Physical Optics: 12 lectures

    1. Mirrors, images, refracting surfaces, thin lenses, the eye – 35.1-7, extra material

    2. Interference, diffraction, coherence, resolving criteria – 36.1-7, 37.1-9

  3. Special Relativity: 14 lectures – Ohanian, Chaps 1-4

    1. Speed of light, principle of relativity, simultaneity (clock synchronization)

    2. Time dilation, length contraction, Lorentz transformation, velocity transformation

    3. Celebrated paradoxes, space-time diagrams, Doppler effect

    4. Relativistic mechanics, 4-vectors

  4. Introduction to Quantum Theory: 12 lectures

    1. Blackbody radiation, photoelectric effect, Compton scattering – 19.11, 39.1-4

    2. Matter waves, Schrödinger equation, complex amplitudes, probabilities – 39.5-7

    3. Uncertainty principle, barrier tunneling – 39.8-9

    4. One, two, three-dimensional traps – 40.1-7

    5. Hydrogen atom – Bohr model, quantum theory – 40.8

    6. Stern-Gerlach experiment, spin, bosons and fermions, application to atoms – 41.1-9

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