Quantum Mechanics I (PHYS*3230)

Code and section: PHYS*3230*01

Term: Fall 2021

Instructor: Michael Massa


1 Course Details

1.1 Calendar Description

This course consists of a formal treatment of quantum mechanics.  Topics include wave packets and free particle motion, the Schrodinger equation, harmonic oscillator, piecewise constant potentials, central forces and angular momentum, and the hydrogen atom.
Prerequisites: (CHEM*2070 or PHYS*2260), MATH 2160, (MATH*2170 or MATH*2270), (PHYS*2340 or PHYS*2470)

1.2 Course Objectives

This course is intended to provide you with a basic understanding of the similarities and differences in the behavior of particles in the large (classical mechanics) and small (quantum mechanics) limit.  Thus, on one hand you are expected to learn the fundamental postulates of quantum mechanics and some of the more elementary mathematical techniques of quantum mechanics and to appreciate the very peculiar predictions and observations on the small.  On the other hand you are also expected to understand the many similarities in the behavior of quantum particles with the macroscopic particles of common everyday experience.

1.3 Timetable


Day Time Location
Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9:30a - 10:20 am MCLN 107


Day Time Location
Thursday 2:30 – 3:20 pm ROZH 105

1.4 Final Exam

Day Time Location
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 2:30 - 4:30 pm TBD

2 Instructional Support

2.1 Instructional Support Team

Instructor: Mike Massa

Email: massam@uoguelph.ca
Office: MacN 328
Office Hours: TBA

TA:  Georgios Palkanoglou

Email: gpalkano@uoguelph.ca
Office: TBA

3 Learning Resources

3.1 Required Resources

  • Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, by D.J. Griffiths and D.F. Schroeter (Cambridge Press, 3rd edition, 2018)
  • Courselink (Website)
    Links to lectures, office hours, assignments & tests will be posted on Courselink.

3.2 Additional Resources

At this stage of your education, you should be consulting more than one text, to enhance your learning and understanding of the material.  There are many introductory texts on quantum mechanics each of which offers different perspectives, explanations and examples on the same content.  Feel free to ask the instructor for suggestions.

Two additional areas that may support your learning are in the areas of mathematical methods and modern physics.  You may have used these, or similar texts in previous coruses:

  • Essential Mathematical Methods for Physicists, by H.J. Weber and G.B. Arfkin (Elsevier Academic Press, 2004)
  • Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers, by J.R. Taylor, C.D. Zafiratos and M.A. Dubson (Pearson, 2nd edition, 2003)

4 Teaching and Learning Activities

Topics for PHYS*3230:

  1. Review of mathematical tools required for the course.  Wave function, Schrodinger equation.  Statistical interpretation of the wave function.
  2. One-dimensional quantum mechanics:  Free particle and a wave packet; finite and infinite potential wells; bound states and quantization; scattering states; potential barrier tunneling; reflection and transmission; delta-potential.
  3. Mathematical formalism of Quantum Mechanics; observables and Hermitian operators; eigenvalue-eigenfunction problem; operators of position and momentum and the uncertainty principle; momentum representation; Dirac notation.
  4. One-dimensional quantum mechanics, additional topics, which may include Kronig-Penney potential and energy band structure of solids; the harmonic oscillator, ladder operators, coherent states.
  5. Three-dimensional quantum mechanics:  Coulomb potential and hydrogen atom; angular momentum.  If time permits:  Symmetries and Conservation Laws in Quantum Mechanics; Spin; identical particles; exchange interactions.

5 Assessments

5.1 Marking Schemes & Distributions

Method of Evaluation Weight
Quizzes 10%
Assignments 25%
Midterm 1 10%
Midterm 2 20%
Final Exam 35%

The final examination has been set for Tuesday, December 15, 2021 from 2:30 - 4:30 pm. The exam is expected to be conducted in-person; however, updates will be provided in the event that health-safety measures change in response to COVID-19.

The midterm tests are tentatively scheduled for: Friday, October 15, 2021 in class (9:30-10:20 am), and Monday November 8, 7:00-9:00pm.  The date of the second midterm may be adjusted to minimize conflict/crowding of students’ midterm schedules.  This will be discussed in the first week of class.

There will be 5-8 short quizzes, given in class, typically at the end of week. Each will have about 3-5 multiple choice or short answer questions which will test the material covered in the lectures and assignment work.

Assignments (5-6) will be due approximately every two weeks, on the date of the deadline (no late assignments accepted unless prior arrangements have been made).  Completed assignments will be submitted via dropbox on Courselink.  Some questions will require computation (using python). High presentation standards are expected (legible hand writing, commented code, etc.)

6 Course Statements

6.1 Collaboration versus Copying

Scientists work alone or in groups, very often consulting fellow scientists and discussing their research problems with peers. Collaboration is a feature of scientific activity and there are many benefits to working with others. However, no ethical scientist would ever publish or claim the work of others as his or her own and generally scientists give reference to the appropriate source of ideas or techniques which are not their own.

You are a young scientist and, in this spirit, I encourage you to discuss with others as you learn the material and work on the problem assignments. However, the work that you submit as your assignment must be your own and not a copy of someone else’s work. Identical scripts will be given a mark of zero and plagiarism will be dealt with severely. I encourage you to cite your references, citing books and other articles when they are used and acknowledging discussions with those who have helped you in your understanding and completion of the problem. This is good scientific practice.

6.2 Course Evaluation Information

The Department of Physics requires student assessment of all courses taught by the Department. These assessments provide essential feedback to faculty on their teaching by identifying both strengths and possible areas of improvement. In addition, annual student assessment of teaching provides part of the information used by the Department Tenure and Promotion Committee in evaluating the faculty member's contribution in the area of teaching. The Department's teaching evaluation questionnaire invites student response both through numerically quantifiable data, and written student comments. In conformity with University of Guelph Faculty Policy, the Department Tenure and Promotions Committee only considers comments signed by students. Your instructor will see all signed and unsigned comments after final grades are submitted. Written student comments may also be used in support of a nomination for internal and external teaching awards.

NOTE: No information will be passed on to the instructor until after the final grades have been submitted.

7 University Statements

7.1 COVID-19 Disclaimer

Please note that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may necessitate a revision of the format of course offerings and academic schedules. Any such changes will be announced via CourseLink and/or class email. All University-wide decisions will be posted on the COVID-19 website and circulated by email.  


The University will not normally require verification of illness (doctor's notes) for fall 2020 or winter 2021 semester courses.  However, requests for Academic Consideration may still require medical documentation as appropriate.

7.2 Email Communication

As per university regulations, all students are required to check their e-mail account regularly: e-mail is the official route of communication between the University and its students.

7.3 When You Cannot Meet a Course Requirement

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons please advise the course instructor (or designated person, such as a teaching assistant) in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. The grounds for Academic Consideration are detailed in the Undergraduate and Graduate Calendars.  

7.4 Drop Date

Students will have until the last day of classes to drop courses without academic penalty. The deadline to drop two-semester courses will be the last day of classes in the second semester. This applies to all students (undergraduate, graduate and diploma) except for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Associate Diploma in Veterinary Technology (conventional and alternative delivery) students. The regulations and procedures for course registration are available in their respective Academic Calendars. Undergraduate Calendar - Dropping Courses 

7.5 Copies of Out-of-class Assignments

Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all out-of-class assignments: you may be asked to resubmit work at any time.

7.6 Accessibility

The University promotes the full participation of students who experience disabilities in their academic programs. To that end, the provision of academic accommodation is a shared responsibility between the University and the student. When accommodations are needed, the student is required to first register with Student Accessibility Services (SAS). Documentation to substantiate the existence of a disability is required; however, interim accommodations may be possible while that process is underway. Accommodations are available for both permanent and temporary disabilities. It should be noted that common illnesses such as a cold or the flu do not constitute a disability. Use of the SAS Exam Centre requires students to book their exams at least 7 days in advance and not later than the 40th Class Day.

7.7 Academic Integrity

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity, and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community-faculty, staff, and students-to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring. University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff, and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that encourages academic integrity. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor. Undergraduate Calendar - Academic Misconduct 

7.8 Recording of Materials

Presentations that are made in relation to course work - including lectures - cannot be recorded or copied without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a student, or guest lecturer. Material recorded with permission is restricted to use for that course unless further permission is granted.

7.9 Resources

The Academic Calendars are the source of information about the University of Guelph’s procedures, policies, and regulations that apply to undergraduate, graduate, and diploma programs. Academic Calendars