Quantum Mechanics 2 and Electromagnetism

School of Physics and Astronomy

College of Engineering and Physical Sciences


Code 20266

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester 1 and 2

Module description

This module combines two existing modules from the School of Physics and Astronomy into a 20-credit linked module.

Quantum Mechanics describes the behaviour of matter on sub-microscopic scales, and together with Relativity, is one of the two foundations of "modern" physics. Quantum systems are often described as having both "wave-like" and "particle-like" aspects to their behaviour, and are famous for producing results which defy "common sense" intuition based on observations at everday scales. We will discuss the Schrodinger Equation and some of its applications as well as the concept of a wavefunction. We will illustrate some of the "non-intuitive" behaviour of quantum systems, show how it arises, and how in the limit of large energies, it tends towards classical behaviour. We will discuss "operators", the Uncertainty Principle and will introduce the quantum treatment of angular momentum as well as electron spin. We will consider how to write a wavefunction describing a pair of electrons, and show how the existence of complex chemistry, and thus of life, depends on the answer. And we'll also discuss what Schrodinger really meant with that business about the cat...

Electromagnetism deals with mankind's greatest advances in the understanding of electricity and magnetism thanks to pure research carried by the likes of Farday, Ampere and Maxwell. According the Feynman, the most significant event of the 19th Century was Maxwell's four equations for electromagnetic fields published between 1855 and 1865. These four equations described the whole of electricity and magnetism and, for the first time, unified the electric and magnetic forces into one theory of electromagnetism. Maxwell also used thse equations to show that light was an electromagnetic wave and accurately predicted the velocity of light. His equations also showed the electromagnetic waves were Lorentz invariant some forty years before Einstein.