29209 - Modern Physics M

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

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

The course is divided into three main parts:

  • Special Theory of Relativity
  • Quantum Physics
  • Nuclear and Sub-nuclear physics

Each part is presented giving to the students theoretical, experimental and historical elements. For each part, some teaching hours will be dedicated to exercises.

Special Theory of Relativity (24 hours)

Michelson-Morley experiment. Postulates of special relativity. Time dilation and length contraction. The Lorentz transformation. Property of the Lorentz transformation. The casualty in relativity. Velocity and acceleration transformation in relativity. The relativistic momentum, energy, and mass. The Lorentz invariance. The momentum-energy vector.

Quantum Physics (24 hours)

D'Alambert Equation, classical and relativistic Doppler effect. Waves as solutions of the Maxwell equations and the Pointing vector. 
The black body radiation and the photoelectric effect. Wave-particle duality. Compton effect. De Broglie wavelength. The Young experiment. The Schödinger equation and its quantisation. The Schödinger equation with a potential, one-dimensional study of different walls and barriers of potentials. The tunnel effect.

Nuclear and Sub-nuclear physics (12 hours)

The Bohr model of the atom, the hydrogen atom, and its spectrum. The quantum number describing electrons. The Stern-Gerlach experiment. Nuclear fusion and fission. Elementary particle physics. 


to be defined

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 a quiz. In the case of success, the student has to finalise the assessment with an oral exam, in the same day or in one of successive exam session, with questions on various topics, with at least one question in Special Theory of Relativity and one in Quantum Physics.  

Teaching tools

Lecture's notes and exercises with solutions.

Office hours

See the website of Angelo Carbone