Fall 2017

Instructor: Prof. Michael S. Vogeley
Department of Physics
Office: Disque 811
Phone: (215)895-2710
Office hours: TBA

Teaching Assistant: Joseph Fabritius
Department of Physics
Office: Disque 808
Phone: (215)895-2786
Office hours: TBA

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

Course Meetings
Course Description and Philosophy
Course Outline
Course Learning Outcomes
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 Mondays and Wednesdays 12:00-1:50 p.m. in Disque 919. 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)

Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the meaning of Schroedinger's equation and the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics.
  2. Understand the relationship between classical observable and quantum mechancial operators.
  3. Explain the origin and implications of the uncertainty principle.
  4. Solve for the eigenstates and energies of a single particle in various one-dimensional potentials (time-independent Schroedinger equation).
  5. Understand the formalism of quantum mechanics, including Hilbert Space, eigenfunctions of Hermitian operators, and Dirac notation.

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. The usual University rules apply. By stepping into the classroom, you agree to abide by Drexel's policy on Academic Integrity

Students with disabilities requesting accomodation and services at Drexel University need to present a current accomodation letter (AVL) to faculty before accomodations can be made. This cannot be done retroactively. AVL's are issued by the Office of Disability Services (ODS). For additional information, contact ODS at 3201 Arch St., Suite 210, 215-895-1401 (V), or 215-895-2299 (TTY).

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 post 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 Wednesday, October 4 at start of class):
Griffiths 1.5, 1.8, 1.11, 1.14, 1.18

Problem Set 2 (Due Friday, October 13 by 4pm to Joseph in 808 or homework hand in folder on my door):
Griffiths 2.2, 2.5, 2.7, 2.38

Problem Set 3 (Due Friday, October 20 by 4pm to Joseph in 808 or homework hand in folder on my door ):
Griffiths 2.11, 2.12, 2.15, 2.42

Problem Set Solutions

Problem Set 1 solutions(PDF)

Problem Set 2 solutions(PDF)

Hints on Problems

Problem set 1, problem 1.8: It is not necessary to look ahead to what we've started to learn from chapter 2. Instead, take the lazy man's approach to proving the result: test to see if a wave function with that extra time dependence is indeed a solution to the time-dependent Schroedinger equation.


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

The final exam date/time/location will be announced.

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 week, typically in class on Wednesday. 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 25, 27 1.1-1.6
2 October 2, 4 2.1, 2.2 HW1
3 October 11 (no class 10/9) 2.3, 2.4 HW2
4 October 16, 18 2.5 HW3
5 October 23, 25 2.6 HW4
6 October 30, November 1 3.1 Midterm in class 10/30
7 November 6, 8 3.2, 3.3 HW5
8 November 13, 15 3.4, 3.5 HW6
9 November 20 (no class 11/22 - Thanskgiving break) 3.6
10 November 27, 29 3.6 HW7
11 December 4, 6 Finish through ch. 3 HW8
12 December 11 Review session Final Exam, TBA

Last update: October 16, 2017