Physics 421 - Quantum mechanics - Fall 2023


Renate Wackerbauer,
Office Location: REIC 106
phone: 474-6108                                                         
Welcome !! and have a great semester !!

Open Office hours

walk-ins are welcome, email is effective for straight-forward questions. additional recitation classes can be scheduled on request.... i am happy to meet !!! 

Course Info

Phys421, 4 credits 


Phys213, 220, 301, 341; or permission of instructor. 


MWF 10:30 to 11:30 am, M 3:30-4:30, REIC 207.

Lectures are face to face

Noyes Lab

Access to the Noyes Computer Lab (REIC 101) is provided to all students enrolled in a Physics course. Your polar express card lets you in.


Required text: 

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, by D.J. Griffiths and D. F. Schroeter, Cambridge University Press (3rd  edition, 2018) 

Supplementary readings: 

Quantum Physics, by R. Eisberg and R. Resnick, Wiley (1985) 

--This book represents a detailed introduction into modern quantum physics, tells also about the history and experiments in QM. 

Lectures on Quantum mechanics, by G. Baym, Benjamin/Cumings (1973) 

--for further reading, usually at graduate level 

Quantum Mechanics, by F. Schwabl, Springer (2001) 

--clearly written introduction; good basis for the author's book on advanced quantum mechanics. 

The infinite well and Dirac delta function potentials as pedagogical, mathematical and physical models in QM, M. Belloni and RW. Robinett, Physics Reports, 2014

-- for further reading with interesting applications

There are many books on introductory quantum mechanics in the library that almost all cover the material presented in the lectures. Please explore them to see different approaches to our topics.

Course Content 

Tentative course calendar

Schroedinger's equation, Born interpretation, operator formalism, measurement and projection, stationary states, one-dimensional systems, hydrogen atom, states of definite angular momentum, perturbation theory

Course Goals

This course provides an introduction into quantum mechanics, the physics of the microscopic particles like electrons, protons, atoms, etc. 

The Schroedinger equation - the quantum mechanical equation of motion is studied in very detail for different physical systems. Where does Heisenberg's uncertainty relation really come from, is there just one or are there many?

Student Learning Outcomes

Students learn, 

--how particle behavior in the microscopic world differs from the macroscopic world

--how to describe and solve problems in theoretical quantum mechanics

--some limitations of classical analogons in quantum mechanics 

--how measurement processes are different in quantum mechanics and classical physics



Homework (10 assignments, each counting 100pts) will be assigned weekly (see link). In each homework, 70pts go towards solving the problem and 30pts go towards interpretation and concept discussion for all problems. Homework is due by 2:00 pm on the following Friday, unless explicitly altered at the time of assignment. Late homework will not be accepted. Finished homework (hard copy) should be turned in to my mail box in the main office or handed in in class. 

direct homework link:

You can earn 100 bonus points in the homework by giving a 10min presentation to class on a topic related to class, for example the life of a quantum physicist, an application of quantum mechanics, experiments on quantum mechanics, etc.


Two one-hour in-term examinations and a two hour final examination will be held during the semester. In-term exams will be held in the classroom. Upon request, an additional review class may be scheduled before each exam. The exams will be closed books and closed notes. No calculators, computers, or communication devices are allowed.

Exam 1 (in class)

Fri, Oct 13

Griffiths: approx. chapt. 1-3

Exam 2 (in class)

Fri, Nov 17

Griffiths: approx. chapt. 4-6

Final Exam

Wednesday, Dec 13, 10:15-12:15

Griffiths: approx. chapt. 1-9


The maximum score for each homework will be 100 points. Illegible work will not be graded. To pass the course with a grade higher than "F", you need 40% of the total credits. Grades A to D are assigned equal weight for total credits between 40% and 100%. So, A+ (>97.5), A(>87.5), A-(>85), B+(>82.5), B(>72.5), B-(>70), C+(>67.5), C(>57.5), C-(>55), D+(>52.5), D(>42.5), D-(>40). If this class is in your major you need at least a grade C- for passing the course and fulfilling prerequisites. For the final grade, homework, exams, etc. will be weighted as follows:



Exam 1


Exam 2


Final Exam


Course policies

Attendance at lectures is expected. Active class participation, questions are extremely welcome in the lectures. A missed exam will receive 0 credit unless the instructor is notified by email, phone, etc before the exam starts. Make-up exams will be individually scheduled with the student.

Your instructor follows the University of Alaska Fairbanks Incomplete Grade Policy: “The letter “I” (Incomplete) is a temporary grade used to indicate that the student has satisfactorily completed (C or better) the majority of work in a course but for personal reasons beyond the student’s control, such as sickness, has not been able to complete the course during the regular semester. Negligence or indifference are not acceptable reasons for an “I” grade.”

Student Obligations

As students of UAF, you are bound by the policies and regulations of the University of Alaska, UAF rules and procedures, and the Student Honor Code. You are obligated to make yourselves familiar with all conditions presented in the UAF Catalog. Plagiarism on homework or on an exam will result in a failing grade.

Students should keep up-to-date on the university's policies, practices, and mandates related to COVID-19 by regularly checking this website: 

Further, students are expected to adhere to the university’s policies, practices, and mandates and are subject to disciplinary actions if they do not comply.

Student protection and services statement

Student protections statement: UAF embraces and grows a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion, and caring. Students at this university are protected against sexual harassment and discrimination (Title IX). Faculty members are designated as responsible employees which means they are required to report sexual misconduct. Graduate teaching assistants do not share the same reporting obligations. For more information on your rights as a student and the resources available to you to resolve problems, please go to the following site:

Disability services statement: I will work with the Office of Disability Services to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities.

ASUAF advocacy statement: The Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the student government of UAF, offers advocacy services to students who feel they are facing issues with staff, faculty, and/or other students specifically if these issues are hindering the ability of the student to succeed in their academics or go about their lives at the university. Students who wish to utilize these services can contact the Student Advocacy Director by visiting the ASUAF office or emailing

Student Academic Support:

        Speaking Center (907-474-5470,, Gruening 507)

        Writing Center (907-474-5314,, Gruening 8th floor)

        UAF Math Services,, Chapman Building 

        Developmental Math Lab, Gruening 406

        The Debbie Moses Learning Center at CTC (907-455-2860, 604 Barnette St, Room 120,


        For more information and resources, please see the Academic Advising Resource List


Student Resources:

        Disability Services (907-474-5655,, Whitaker 208) 

        Student Health & Counseling [6 free counseling sessions] 

               (907-474-7043,, Whitaker 203)

        Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities 

               (907-474-7317,, Eielson 110)

        Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (ASUAF) or 

        ASUAF Student Government (907-474-7355,, Wood Center 119)

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