Intermediate Modern Physics (PH 354)
Spring 2010

Instructor: Andreas Piepke (202A Gallalee; 348-6066)
Time and place: Tuesday and Thursday 11:00 am to 12:15 pm in room 313 or 202 as per agreement (Gallalee Hall).
Office hours: 10:00 am to 12:00 am Wednesday. I have an open door policy. You may see me whenever I am in.
Texts used: Kenneth Krane, Modern Physics, second edition
Jeremy I. Pfeffer, Shlomo Nir, Modern Physics
A. Das and T. Ferbel, Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics, second edition
J.D. Walecka, Introduction to Modern Physics Theoretical Foundations
D.J. Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, second edition
Purchase of any of these books is NOT required.
Prerequisite: PH 253
Credit: 3 hours
PH354 Web site:

Learning Objectives:

Physics 354 is a calculus based course to modern physics. The physics concepts covered in this class were all discovered within the last 100 years, hence the name 'Modern Physics'. It will reinforce concepts covered in PH253.
During the course of this class the students should develop a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the class subjects. The class will cover selected problems from nuclear and particle physics, modern neutrino physics, and applied subjects. Because of the breadth of the class, some topics will be covered more in-depth than others.
Physics is a quantitative science, describing nature by using observational facts (data) and Mathematics as its language (theory) to relate the observations to each other. This allows physicists to identify patterns in the data and ultimately formulate a few fundamental laws that summarize the data in form of few more or less simple equations. Math skills, as covered in MATH 126, are thus essential. You will need to be familiar with algebra, trigonometric functions, exponentials, logarithms, differentiation and integration. Some subjects involve differential equations.

Class Format:

Because of the small size the class will be a mix of lectures, discussions, and student presentations. The lectures will be presented in form of PowerPoint presentations or at the white board.
Electronic lecture notes will be linked to the class schedule, on the web as the class goes on. You will need PowerPoint or PowerPoint Viewer to view the lecture notes. PowerPoint Viewer can be downloaded from the web free of charge.
The students will select concepts or experiments in the area of modern neutrino physics and present journal club-like oral talks on the chosen subject. These presentations will count as homeworks.


Homework will consist of problems or journal club like project reviews given as oral presentations. Problems will be assigned through the web. Click here to get a listing of the class assignments. Solutions will be handed in on paper and will be hand graded.

In case of trouble with the homework feel free to see me in my office. I am available for homework help.

Attendance and Makeup Policy:

Students are expected to attend the classes. Regular attendance is a crucial element in being able to pass the exams. Studies have shown a clear and direct correlation of attendance with grades. Short quizzes will be administered on a regular basis. The quiz grade will count towards the class grade. A correct answer will count 1 point, a wrong answer 0.5 points. If you are not handing in an answer sheet you will receive 0 points.

No makeup of in-class work or exams will be given. If you have a legitimate reason for missing a major exam, then you must inform the instructor as soon as possible. If the reason is acceptable, then the final exam will count proportionately more.


A mid-term exam will be administered: Tuesday, March 2 (11:00 am to 12:15 pm). The comprehensive final exam is scheduled for Thursday, May 6 (8:00 am to 10:30 am). All work must be done in pen in an exam book that will be provided. The exam results will be published in the glass box in the 2nd floor hallway of Gallalee Hall.
In both exams you will be allowed to use one (letter sized) equation sheet and a pocket calculator. The use of the textbook or the lecture notes will not be permitted. Cell phones have to be turned off during the exams.


Homework problems will be submitted in class. Short (10 min) quizzes will be given based on in-class work done during the week and the most recently submitted problem assignment. Thus, class attendance is very important. There will be no makeup of missed class work. Each exam problem will be assigned a point value. The exams will usually contain extra-credit problems. This will allow you to drop some exam problems without penalty. There will be no grade scaling.

Grading Policy

Letter Grade
Numerical Grade

(Min. percentage points)




Superior ability or attainment significantly beyond all minimum expectations (93%)






Good ability or attainment which meets and exceeds many minimum expectations (83%)






Ability or attainment which is acceptable and meets all minimum (required) expectations (73%)






Ability or attainment which does not meet all minimum (required) expectations (63%)




Attainment of some but not a number of important minimum expectations and is, thus, not appropriate for a minimum professional level of performance (0-59%).

Academic Misconduct

Students are expected to follow the Code of Student Conduct, as laid down by The University of Alabama. All acts of dishonesty in any work constitute academic misconduct. In particular each student is expected to do his/her own work on quizzes and exams. Suspected violators of this policy will be referred to the Dean's Office in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students are encouraged to work together when studying and preparing for homework.

Disability Accommodations

To request disability accommodations, please contact Disability Services (348-4285). After initial arrangements are made with that office, contact Dr. Piepke.