Atomic and Nuclear Physics (PHY 211)

Contact Information

Course Description

An introduction to modern physics, including special relativity, the foundation of atomic physics, quantum theory of radiation, the atomic nucleus, radioactivity and nuclear reactions, with laboratory work in each area. Prerequisite: PHY 104/L or 112/L, MAS 111 or 161 or permission. Corequisite: PHY 211L. 3 credits.

Learning Objectives

It is expected that students will

  1. describe physical situations using the languages of four-vectors and wave functions
  2. interpret the results of experiments in terms of relativity theory and wave mechanics
  3. apply the ideas of relativity and wave mechanics to specific physical situations
  4. calculate physical quantities of interest
  5. solve problems in modern physics


The textbooks for the course are


The plan for this course is to read chapters 1–4 of Morin and chapters 3–7 of Krane. While we are studying Morin, I expect you to do 3 problems per week from Morin. I will pick some of these problems, and you will pick some. One of these can be a “Problem”, but at least two should be “Exercises”. We are aiming for the 2-star problems, but sometimes the 1-star problems are good also. The 3- and 4-star problems are pretty hard. While we are studying Krane, we will aim for 5 problems per week. Probably each student will be doing different problems, so we will share our results with each other in class by presenting short summaries of how we solved the problem.


Your grade will be determined by the completeness of the problems that you present.

Class Schedule

Week ofTopic
09/04Morin, Chapter 1
09/11Morin, Chapter 1
09/18Morin, Chapter 2
09/25Morin, Chapter 2
10/02Morin, Chapter 3
10/09Morin, Chapter 3
10/16Morin, Chapter 4
10/23Krane, Chapter 3
10/30Krane, Chapter 3
11/06Krane, Chapter 4
11/13Krane, Chapter 4
11/20Krane, Chapter 5
11/27Krane, Chapter 6
12/04Krane, Chapter 7