Course Syllabus

MWF 9:30-10:30, PAA A118

Instructor: Jason Detwiler (
Office: PAB B444
Office hours: Mondays 12:00-1:30, PAB B444

TAsStephen FrenchJosh KahnDianqi LiFrancis WalshTong WanDake Zhou
Office hours: 
  Tuesdays 1:30-2:30, PAB B205 (Josh Kahn)
  Wednesdays 2:30-3:30, PAB B231 (Dake Zhou)
  Thursdays 1:30-2:30, PAB B149 (Francis Walsh)

This course is an introduction to quantum mechanics. It will focus primarily on two-state systems because they are the simplest quantum systems that exhibit the quantum behavior that distinguishes quantum mechanics from classical mechanics. 

Course goals:

  • Introduce you to the main features and calculations of quantum mechanics.
  • Prepare you for PHYS 324 (and to a lesser extent for PHYS 226).
  • Improve your ability to understand current physics in the news by laying a conceptual and mathematical foundation for understanding quantum behavior.

The textbook for this course is a special UW paperback set of selected chapters from David McIntyre’s Quantum Physics, Pearson, 2012. Additional materials, including additional pages from McIntyre, will be posted as needed.

Learning Catalytics:
In-class questions (clickers) will use the Learning Catalytics web-based system, so please purchase access if you don't already have it. Access codes for each lecture's Learning Catalytics session will be given during lecture. You will need to bring to class a smartphone, tablet, or laptop with web access. If you do not have such a device, you may borrow one from student services, contact Professor Detwiler for more information.

Your course grade will be computed from the following elements:

  • Two midterm exams: 22% each
  • Final exam: 28%
  • Six homework assignments: 12%
  • Pre-lecture quizzes, surveys, and other online assignments: 8%
  • In-class assignments (such as clicker questions and worksheets): 8%

For the last two items (In Class and Online) 80% of your score is based on completeness / participation, while the remaining 20% is based on correctness.

Homework Policy:
Homework is due at the start of class on the assigned due date. You may turn it in at the end of that class period with a 25% penalty. Except for HW2, you may turn in your homework by the end of the following lecture with a 50% penalty, at which time solutions will be posted, so no further extensions are possible. HW2 solutions need to be posted on the HW2 due date for use as a study guide for Exam 1 so no extensions are possible for HW2. You may turn your homework in early to Prof. Detwiler's department mailbox at any time up to 15 minutes before the start of the lecture during which it is due.

Course Summary:

Date Details