Course Info, Spring 2013

Course summary

This 3-week module introduces the fundamental vibrational states of classical periodic systems, and the fundamental quantum states of periodic quantum systems. This knowledge forms the basis of the theory of solid state physics. Many of the systems we will study have relevance to photonic crystals, circuit theory and other engineering applications.


You should have taken PH211, 212, 213 and PH314, and the pre- and co-requisite math courses. If you have missed any of the preceding Paradigms, please see the instructor. In particular, we will build on concepts and mathematical techniques from

  • PH421: Oscillations
  • PH424: 1d waves
  • PH425: Spins
  • PH426: Central forces


Prof. Ethan Minot (rhymes with not)

  • Office hours: Mon 2-3pm, Wed 2-3pm, Fri 2-3pm.

Teaching assistant: Teal Pershing

  • Office hours: Wed 3-4pm, Fri 3-4pm.

Meeting Times

  • Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 1 pm to 1.50 pm in 212 Weniger Hall
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays: 12 pm to 1.50 pm in 212 Weniger Hall

Please note: Food and drink are not allowed in Weniger 212. The only exception is closed lid water bottles. Contact the instructor if you have health reasons to require food during class time (for example, diabetes).

Text books

Required texts:

  • Main, “Vibrations and Waves in Physics”, 3rd Ed, Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • Taylor, “Classical Mechanics”, see Chpt 11.
  • McIntyre, “Quantum Mechanics: A Paradigms Approach”, 1st Edition.

Other text books where the instructor finds useful information:

  • Kittel, “Solid State Physics”, 8th Edition.
  • Georgi, “The Physics of Waves”
  • Marion J. B., and Thornton, Stephen B., Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems, 4th Ed., Saunders College Publishing, 1995. (also used for Oscillations, Central Forces, and Capstone in Classical Mechanics)
  • Liboff, R., Introductory Quantum Mechanics 3/e, Addison Wesley, 1998. ISBN 0-201-87879-8 (also used for 1-D Waves, Quantum Measurements, Central Forces, and Capstone in Quantum Mechanics)

Web resources


Homeworks are typically due at 5pm. Late homework will be graded, but the maximum score for a late homework will be 50%.

Collaboration on homework is encouraged, but write-ups must be completely and absolutely independent. This applies also to (and especially to) any computer-generated material. If you intend to use Maple or Mathematica as the means to present your solution, you must be VERY particular about your presentation. Well-presented solutions can be excellent, but if you don't take care, they can be impossible to decipher. Discuss with the instructor if you need guidance. If you turn in a solution that is too similar to someone else’s, all of us will discuss the matter, and you and the other party or parties will be asked to generate new, independent solutions.

Homework solutions from previous years are strictly off-limits. You are on your honor not to use them. Allow faculty to use their time interacting with you, rather than continually thinking up new assignments. Besides, if you don't do the work yourself, it will show up very clearly on exams.

If you find that you have worked on a problem for 1/2 hour without making any progress, it would be a good idea to stop and seek help.

Journal Club Assignment

For details see journal club assignment


After the last day of class (a Friday), the final will held on the following Monday evening. The final will be given in Weniger 304 and 304F. You are allowed to bring a calculator and a “cheat sheet”. Cheat sheet size = 8.5”x11”. Only write on one side of the cheat sheet. Write anything that you want. For example, any fundamental constants we have used in class, any equations we have used in class. The front page of the final will have this periodic table.


Homework 35%; Journal Club Talk 15%; Final 50%.

Students with Disabilities

Students with documented disabilities who may need accommodations, who have any emergency medical information the instructor should know of, or who need special arrangements in the event of evacuation, should make an appointment with the instructor as early as possible, no later than the second day of the class.

link for instructors