Physics III: Quantum Mechanics. Spring 2007. College of the Atlantic

Advice and Informal Description

What this course is not:

Rough Outline

These parts of the course will not be done strictly in sequence; they will overlap some, especially toward the end of the course.
  1. The first part of the course of the course we will use Dan Styer's book, the Strange World of Quantum Mechanics. The last time I taught this class students like this book, but occasionally wondered if Styer was overs-implying things. Also during this part of the course we'll take a little detour and cover some key ideas from probability.
  2. The second part of the course we will dig deeper into some of the philosophical questions raised by QM. In so doing we will read a handful of articles and book chapters that aren't from Styer.
  3. For the third part, we will use parts of the short book by McIntyre. In so doing, we will revisit many of the topics covered by Styer, but in a much more mathematical way. Those of you who like math and abstraction will enjoy this. I think you will find, however, that the math doesn't help with the philosophical or conceptual questions raised by QM. I suspect at this point that you will appreciate Styer's book much more than you might have at first.
  4. We will then look some at the historical development of QM. There will be two prongs to this. One will be scientific, the other historical and social. For the scientific prong, we'll use some materials from traditional modern physics texts. And for the historical, we'll read a few essays about the social conditions under which QM was developed.