Basic Info

Instructor: Dave Feldman
Email: daveAThornacekDOTcoaD0Tedu
Office: Second Floor, Turrets Annex
Office Hours: By appointment.
Mailing List: physics3AThornacekD0TcoaDOTedu
Help Session: Thursdays, 6:30-8:00pm Deering Common


As our text we will use The Strange World of Quantum Mechanics by Dan Styer. I expect that we'll cover most of the chapters in this book.

We will also make use of Spins and Quantum Measurement. This is a short book written by Professor David McIntyre. These materials have been developed for Spins and Quantum Measurement, an innovative course offered at Oregon State University for physics majors. I'll give you photocopies of these in a few weeks.

I also recommend getting a copy of Introducing Quantum Theory: A Graphic Guide to Science's Most Puzzling Discovery by J.P. McEvoy and Oscar Zarate. This is a graphic-novel/cartoon book covering the history and basic ideas of quantum mechanics. It's fun and it's one of the best introductions and overviews of quantum mechanics that I've seen. I'll assign reading from this book very occasionally. So you can certainly get by without owning a copy.

We will also read a handful of photocopied articles and essays.


Your evaluation will be loosely based on the following:

  • Weekly Homework Assignments: 70 percent.
  • Final Project: 20 percent.
  • Class Participation: 10 percent.

I recommend against grades; I believe they are more likely than not to interfere with genuine, reflective learning. However, I will assign grades (for those who so opt) by following the guidelines in the COA Course Catalog. I do not have any quota of A's, B's, etc.

Class Structure and Policies

  1. The final version of this and related documents can be found on the course web page.
  2. Homework will usually be due at the end of the day on Friday. More than one unexcused late homework assignment will result in me mentioning this in your narrative evaluation and may result in a lowering of your grade.
  3. If you need extra time for one or two of the homework assignments, it's not a big deal. But be very careful to not fall farther behind every week.
  4. I will accept late homework assignments. However, I may not be able to grade these assignment thoroughly. I'll check off that you did it, but I might not have time to make as many comments and suggestions as I normally do.
  5. More than two missing homework assignments will result in a grade no higher than a C.
  6. You are strongly encouraged to work together on homework. You can also consult me, class tutors, other faculty, friends, and family. However, the homework you hand in should represent your own understanding. This means that if your friends get a homework problem and you don't understand how they did it, you shouldn't photocopy their solution and turn it in.
  7. You will do some sort of a final project. It could be a synthetic final problem set, a final paper, or something else. I'm pretty flexible as to the format and topic. We will discuss this sometime around week three.
  8. As I plan on sending out homework assignments and other information via email, it is important that you check your email regularly.
  9. Unless we have made prior arrangements, I expect you to attend class.
  10. Academic misconduct -- cheating, plagiarizing, etc. -- is bad. Any cases of academic misconduct will likely result in a judicial hearing; see the academic handbook for details. Possible consequences range from failure of the assignment to expulsion.
  11. A more informal description of the course can be found here.