PHY 2203 Introduction to Modern Physics

Introduction to the experimental and theoretical basis of 20th century ideas in physics including relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic, molecular and solid state physics, nuclear structure, particle physics and cosmology. Calculus used extensively.

Division: Science, Mathematics and Engineering
Department: Physics
Repeatable Credit: No
Offered Online: No

Prereqs: PHY 2202 AND MAT 2280 


  • Discuss the experimental evidence for the rejection of the ether hypothesis and the conclusion that the speed of light is the same in all inertial frames.
  • Transform length, time and velocity measurements from one inertial frame to another in relative motion to the first.
  • Apply relativistic ideas regarding energy transformations to the behavior of real world objects.
  • Discuss the experimental basis for the photon concept, and apply the concept to analysis of phenomena such as the photoelectric effect in metals and Compton scattering.
  • Cite and discuss examples of phenomena that illustrate the dual nature of light.
  • Determine and interpret solutions to the one-dimensional Schrodinger equation.
  • Compare models of atomic structure and apply wave mechanics to explain atomic and molecular properties (e.g. light spectra).
  • Apply the idea that the measurable effects of a gravitational field are equivalent to the observer being in an accelerated reference frame.
  • Apply ideas from wave mechanics to explain the measureable properties (e.g. conductivity) of crystalline solids.
  • Apply the energy and charge conservation laws towards the analysis of nuclear structure and reactions.
  • Describe and classify subatomic particles in terms of mass, charge.
  • Describe the four fundamental interactions ("forces") and classify subatomic particles in terms of which interaction(s) affect their behavior.
  • Contrast and compare models of the evolution of the universe based on ideas from particle physics, general relativity and classical physics.

Credit Hours: 3

Classroom Hours: 3