29209 - Modern Physics M

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The course aims to consolidate the knowledge of classical physics and to introduce elements of Modern Physics. It will address the study of wave phenomena, with particular attention to the case of elastic waves in fluids and solids. Elements of relativistic mechanics and quantum mechanics will be introduced. Special attention will be devoted to experiments that led to the crisis of classical physics and the formulation of quantum mechanics. Finally, some basic topics in nuclear physics will be studied.

Course contents

Wave mechanics

Free, dumped and forced armonic oscillations.Resonance. Wave propagation. Elastic waves in fluids and solids. D'Alambert equation. Energy, transmission and reflection. Superposition. Phase and group velocity. Stationary waves. Plane and sferical waves. Electromagnetic waves. Light and electromagnetic spectra. Diffusion and absorption. Light propagation in media. Riflection and refraction. Wave interference, coerence and diffraction. Huygens principle. Polarization

Special Theory of Relativity 

Limits of classical mechanics. Speed limit. Fundamental experiments in relativistic mechanics. Space, time and reference systems. Simultaneous events. Time dilatation; twin paradox. Lenght contraction. Lorentz transformation. Energy, Force, acceleration and mass. Mass-energy equivalence. Main concepts of general relativity. Relativity concepts used in everyday life.

Introduction to Quantum Physics

Classical theories successes. Crisis elements: black body radiation, photoelectric effect. Electromagnetic waves as particles, particles as waves. Experience interference and diffraction of electrons and photons. Wave-particle duality. Basic concepts of quantum mechanics: probability interpretation, electromagnetic wave equation and the Schroedinger equation, wave function and quantum state, the uncertainty principle. Correspondence principle. Free states and bound states: wave packets and Fourier analysis. The Schroedinger equation with potential, one-dimensional study of some cases. Wall and barrier potentials. Tunnel effect. Fermi level, conductors, semiconductors and insulators. The Schroedinger equation in three dimensions. The hydrogen atom: quantum numbers and levels. Electromagnetic radiation. Emission and absorption spectra. Principle of operation of the laser. Spin: Stern and Gerlach experiences. Elements of Fundamental interactions. Elements of Nuclear Physics: structure and systematic of nuclei, radioactivity, fission and nuclear fusion. Nuclear solar energy. 


Physics for Scientists & Engineers with Modern Physics, 4th Edition

Douglas C. Giancoli, University of California (from Ch. 31)

Additional materials is available at http://campus.unibo.it.

Teaching methods

The lecture will be held on the blackboard and are supplemented by video projection and slides. The slides will be distributed in advance.

Assessment methods

The assessment will be an oral exam, with a minimum of four questions and/or simple exercises.

Teaching tools

Lecture's notes and exercises with solutions.

Office hours

See the website of Angelo Carbone