Spring 2020 - PHYS 285 D100

Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Mechanics (3)

Class Number: 1471

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    WMC 3210, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 21, 2020
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    AQ 3149, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    PHYS 255, with a minimum grade of C-.



Special relativity, including relativistic kinematics and dynamics; tests of relativity; matter waves and early quantum models; wave mechanics and its application to molecular, atomic and subatomic systems. Quantitative.


Section 1: Galilean relativity

                 Ideas of space and time; Galilean transformation; the ether and the Michelson-Morley

Section 2: Special relativity

                 Einstein’s postulates; Lorentz transformation; length contraction; time dilation
                  simultaneity; paradoxes

Section 3: Relativistic kinematics

                 Velocity and acceleration; relativistic Doppler effect

Section 4: Relativistic particle dynamics

                 4-vectors; energy and momentum; invariant mass; dynamics; relativistic scattering

Section 5: Classical waves

                 Simple harmonic motion, wave equation; travelling and standing waves

Section 6: Experimental basis for Quantum Mechanics

                 Blackbody radiation; Photoelectric effect; electron scattering

Section 7: Bohr model: success and failure

                 Bohr’s hydrogen atom; quantization of angular momentum

Section 8: Matter waves

                 de Broglie wavelength; wave packets; probabilistic interpretation; uncertainty principle

Section 9: Wave mechanics

                 Schrodinger equation; properties of solutions; one-dimensional potentials

Section 10: Tunneling in 1 dimension

                   1-dimensional solution; applications: coulomb barrier, ammonia vibration

Section 11: Hydrogen Atom

                     Schrodinger equation with the Coulomb potential; hydrogen atom wave functions; spin

Section 12: Applications

                   Fermi energy; electrons in solids; nuclei and quarks; neutron stars


  • Assignments 25%
  • Midterm 20%
  • Final Exam 55%


Grading scheme is tentative and subject to change.



Required Text:
Modern Physics, 6th edition by Tipler & Llewellyn
*Not currently available at the Bookstore.  Copy can be obtained online.

Recommended Text:
Special Relativity by T.M. Helliwell.  ISBN: 978-1891389610

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students who cannot write their exam during the course's scheduled exam time must request accommodation from their instructor in writing, clearly stating the reason for this request, before the end of the first week of classes.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html