Subject: Physics       Number: 300
Course Title: Modern Physics
Section: A
Semester/year: Fall/2013

Schedule/Notes/Assignments || Grading || Website (last year) || Text Book || Absences ||

Instructor: Prof. Lawrence Wiencke
   Contact information: MH 338   303-273-2234
   Office hours:             MH 338 M&W 3:15-5:45 (and by appointment)
   Class meeting days/times:    MWF  2:00-2:50
   Class meeting location:        MH 220
   Web Page:

Teaching Assistant: Jon Peltzer
   Contact Information: MH 225
   Office hours:             MH 225   Tu 2:00-4:00 (and by appointment)

Instructional activity: 3 hours lecture    0 hours lab    3 semester hours

Course Description from UG Bulletin: Our technical world is filled with countless examples of modern physics. This course will discuss some historic experiments that led to the key discoveries, and the basic concepts, theories, and models behind some of our present day technologies. Topics may include special relativity, quantum physics, atomic and molecular physics, solid-state physics, semiconductor theory and devices, nuclear physics, particle physics and cosmology.

Text Book
All Students are required to have a modern physics text book written for science and engineering students.
My recommendation is Modern Physics (Krane) Third Edition 2012 ISBN 978-1-118-06114-5
Many of the problems and reading assignments will come from this text.

However many other texts are also acceptable. For example
   Stephen Thornton and Andrew Rex Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers Third Edition
   Modern Physics (Serway, Moses, Moyer)
   Modern Physics (Harris), Modern Physics (Tipler)
While not a substitute for one of the above, Issac Asimov's Understanding Physics discusses some of the topics quite clearly. A used copy is about $10 on Amazon..

Student Learning Outcomes: At the conclusion of the class students will:

  1. Have a basic qualitative understanding of the topics covered in the course
  2. Have learned about some cool things going on in physics
  3. Be able to apply basic calculations using special relativity to time, length, and kinematics
  4. Apply the time independent Schroedinger equation to simple cases
  5. Be familiar with different atomic models and be able to use them.
  6. Understand the connection between potentials and binding energy
  7. Know what Rutherford scattering is and it's significance and be able to apply it to simple cases
  8. Be able to apply the Heisenberg uncertainty principle
  9. Have a basic knowledge of nuclear physics, radiation, radioactivity
  10. Understand the origin and significance of band gaps in semiconductors
  11. Build a working crystal radio and understand the physics that makes it work
  12. Have a qualitative knowledge of the fundamental forces and fundamental particles
  13. Appreciate and remain curious about physics

Brief List of Topics Covered: Waves, Introduction to: special relativity, particles and waves, quantum mechanics, atomic models, solid state devices, nuclear physics and radiation, particle and astrophysics

Policy on academic integrity/misconduct: The Colorado School of Mines affirms the principle that all individuals associated with the Mines academic community have a responsibility for establishing, maintaining an fostering an understanding and appreciation for academic integrity. In broad terms, this implies protecting the environment of mutual trust within which scholarly exchange occurs, supporting the ability of the faculty to fairly and effectively evaluate every student's academic achievements, and giving credence to the university's educational mission, its scholarly objectives and the substance of the degrees it awards. The protection of academic integrity requires there to be clear and consistent standards, as well as confrontation and sanctions when individuals violate those standards. The Colorado School of Mines desires an environment free of any and all forms of academic misconduct and expects students to act with integrity at all times.
Academic misconduct is the intentional act of fraud, in which an individual seeks to claim credit for the work and efforts of another without authorization, or uses unauthorized materials or fabricated information in any academic exercise. Student Academic Misconduct arises when a student violates the principle of academic integrity. Such behavior erodes mutual trust, distorts the fair evaluation of academic achievements, violates the ethical code of behavior upon which education and scholarship rest, and undermines the credibility of the university. Because of the serious institutional and individual ramifications, student misconduct arising from violations of academic integrity is not tolerated at Mines. If a student is found to have engaged in such misconduct sanctions such as change of a grade, loss of institutional privileges, or academic suspension or dismissal may be imposed.
The complete policy is online

Grading Procedures
All are closed book. Cell phones, pagers, ipads, smart phones, laptops, etc are not permitted.
A simple calculator is allowed.
A short list of physical constants is provided.
You may bring a one sided 8.5"x11" "cheat sheet'" to each exam.
2nd and 3rd exams cover material since the preceding exam.
There is no cumulative final exam. The 3rd exam will occur during finals week at the time slot for the final exam.
There is no group exam prior to the 3rd exam.

15%     Homework (due at start of Friday class. Late homework not accepted. lowest homework score dropped)
10%     2 Group Exams (5% each. There is no group exam prior to the third individual exam.)
10%     Class Participation. (Class attendance taken on random dates will be part of this 10%)
65%     3 Individual Exams (20% 20% 25% each)
100%   Total

Final Grade Assignment
Grading is not done on a curve. Everyone could earn an A (or no one).
The minimum total score (see above) that is required for each letter grade is listed below
A   93.0
A-  90.0
B+ 87.0
B   83.0
B-  80.0
C+ 77.0
C   73.0
C-  70.0
D+ 67.0
D   63.0
D-  60.0
F   below 60.0

Course work Return Policy: Homework and exams are returned within a week and generally sooner. Homework is returned in class. The two practice exams are typically graded the evening of the day they are given. Students are informed via email when the graded exams are ready for pickup.

Absence Policy:
All students are advised to be familiar with CSM’s policy regarding the make-up of work missed due to excused absences. This policy may be found in the Bulletin. In all cases of unexcused absences the faculty member has the right to deny the student the opportunity to make up all or part of the missed work.
The make-up policy for missed work in PH300 is as follows:

  Homework is due at the start of class on the day it is due.
  Late homework is not accepted and will be assigned a grade of zero.
  Students missing class because of sports, interviews, etc are expected to turn their homework in early or arrange for a classmate to bring it to class.
  In determining the final course grade, the lowest homework grade is dropped from the calculation.
Make up tests are not normally given, except under special circumstances.
Special circumstances include incapacitating illness, family emergencies, or other excused absences.
Special circumstances do not include: " I had a test or major assignment for another class", "I already bought an airplane ticket"

Detailed Course Schedule: Found Here