Fall 2015

Instructor: Prof. Michael S. Vogeley
Department of Physics
Office: Disque 811
Phone: (215)895-2710
Office hours: Thursday 2:30-3:30pm

Teaching Assistant: Justin Bird
Department of Physics
Office: Disque 808
Phone: (215)895-2786
Office hours: Thursday 4:30-5:30pm

Animation of an excited state of Hydrogen, by Drexel student Glenn Winship.

Course Meetings
Course Description and Philosophy
Course Outline
Textbook and Reading Assignments
Extra Notes
Course rules of conduct
Problem Sets
Problem Set Solutions
Problem Hints
Course Schedule


Welcome to the home page of QM I. This is your resource page for information about the course, including homework assignments, exams, and solutions. This web page is also the syllabus for the course. To save paper, I will not print and distribute copies of documents in class. You may read them on the web or your computer and print out if you need.

Course Meetings

Lectures will be given on Wednesdays and Fridays 12:00-1:50 p.m. in room 104 of the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building. Our class meetings will be a mix of lecture and problem solving.


This web page is the syllabus. Please print this out and save it and/or bookmark this website for the future (no printed copies will be distributed). If you're reading a printed copy, and don't remember the URL, you can find the web page at You should check the web page frequently for updates.

Course Description and Philosophy

Quantum Mechanics (QM hereafter) is one of the foremost intellectual achievements of the 20th century and forms much of the foundation of modern Physics. Many of the giants of Physics (Einstein, Bohr, Pauli, Dirac, Feynmann, et al.) were responsible for its development. Study hard and you will be rewarded by sharing in their insight.

In this first quarter of our three part sequence on QM, you will study the basic equations, discussed the similarities and differences between the classical and QM descriptions, and solve some simple, typically one-dimensional problems. In the second quarter, we'll move on to three dimensional problems, and the QM description of the Hydrogen atom, from which you could first see how the QM formulation yields accurate predictions of the observed phenomena, and begin study of multi-particle systems and perturbation theory. In the final quarter, we'll delve into more advanced topics include the variational principle, WKB approximation, scattering theory, and a deeper look at the interpretation of QM.

Course Outline

Here are the topics we'll cover in QM I

  1. The Wave Function (Ch. 1)
  2. The Time-Independent Schroedinger Equation (Ch. 2)
  3. Formalism of Quantum Mechanics (Ch. 3)

Textbook and Reading Assignments

Required Reading: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, 2nd edition by David J. Griffiths, 2005, (Pearson Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ) ISBN 0-13-111892-7 This text will also be used for Quantum Mechanics II and III, so buy it!

See the course outline above for the chapters that correspond to the material covered in this course.

I will also hand out photocopies of selected passages from other QM texts, as necessary to supplement Griffiths.

Extra Notes

This is a brief (5 page) review of important Fourier transform properties and their relation to the free-particle wavefunction:
Fourier notes (PDF)


Grades will be based on the following weighting of different components of the course:
Final Exam: 40%
Problem Sets: 30%
Midterm Exam: 25%
Class Participation: 5%

Course Rules of Conduct

Most of this is common sense, but some folks need a gentle reminder.

Electronic distractions: Silence your cell phone or leave it home. Only phone calls (to me) from the Nobel Prize committee will be tolerated. Laptop computers may be used only for taking notes. Web surfing, texting, reading/sending email is prohibited during class. I will ask you to leave the class if you violate this rule.

Food: Our class meetings are at lunchtime and everyone has to eat sooner or later. So, if you must bring your lunch, you may do so, provided that you can still take notes while eating it and the smell is not unbearable (or so tasty that I'm tempted to steal it - triathletes are always hungry).

Plagiarism: Use your own very large brain (you're a physicist!) and don't even think about cheating. See homework rules below.

Problem Sets (check for hints down below!)

There will be eight problem sets. You will have a week to a week and a half to complete each. No late homework will be accepted. Please neatly and accurately write up your solutions to these problems; the notation of QM is quite compact in places and small differences in the equations can have large differences in meaning. I will hand out solutions to the problems on or shortly after their due dates, to give you feedback as quickly as possible.

You may discuss the homework with your classmates, but you and you alone are responsible for the work that you turn in. Please write up your own solutions to the problems. Breaches of this policy will result in homework scores being divided by the number of ``participants.'' Second offenses may result in failure (of the class).

You must give the full citation of any outside source that you employ in your solutions. Use of solutions to these problems from previous years or from other outside sources (including web pages that you find by googling for solutions to Griffiths) constitutes plagiarism and may result in failure (of the course).

Problem Set 1 (Due Friday, October 2):
Griffiths 1.5, 1.8, 1.11, 1.14, 1.18

Problem Set 2 (Due Friday, October 9):
Griffiths 2.2, 2.5, 2.7, 2.38

Problem Set 3 (Due Friday, October 16):
Griffiths 2.11, 2.12, 2.15, 2.42

Problem Set 4 (Due Friday, October 23):
Griffiths 1.17, 2.8, 2.14, 2.17

Problem Set 5 (Due Friday, November 6):
Griffiths 2.18, 2.19, 2.20, 2.22

Problem Set 6 (Due Friday, November 13):
Griffiths 2.29, 2.34, 2.35, 2.52

Problem Set 7 (Due Friday, November 20):
Griffiths 2.45, 2.46, 3.3, 3.4

Problem Set 8 (Due Friday, December 4):
Griffiths 3.27, 3.30, 3.34, 3.37

Problem Set Solutions

Hints on Problems


The midterm will be in class on Friday, October 30.

The final exam will be on Wednesday, December 9 at 3:30-5:30 in PISB 106.

Both exams will be half closed and half open book. "Open book" means that you may consult your own notes, your own homework, solutions and handouts that I have provided, and the assigned textbook.

Course Schedule

Please note the following schedule of readings and assignments. This schedule may be revised, so you should recheck this web page. Notation of "HW#" indicates that a homework is due that Friday at the start of class. Exact due dates for the homework will be announced in class. You should do the indicated reading before class.

Week Class Dates Reading Homework Exams
1 September 23 (no class 9/25) 1.1-1.6
2 September 30, October 2 2.1, 2.2 HW1
3 October 7, 9 2.3, 2.4 HW2
4 October 14, 16 2.5 HW3
5 October 21, 23 2.6 HW4
6 October 28, 30 3.1 Midterm in class 10/30
7 November 4, 6 3.2, 3.3 HW5
8 November 11, 13 3.4, 3.5 HW6
9 November 18, 20 3.6 HW7
10 No class - Thanksgiving break
11 December 2, 4 Finish through ch. 3 HW8
12 No Class Final Exam, TBA

Last update: December 7, 2015