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Unit outline_

PHYS3034: Quantum, Statistical and Comp Physics

Semester 1, 2024 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Quantum statistical physics has revolutionized the world we live in- providing a profound understanding of the microscopic world and driving the technological revolution of the last few decades. Modern physics increasingly relies on solving equations using computational techniques, for modelling anything from the big bang to quantum dot lasers. Building on 2000-level physics, this unit will develop the full formalism for deriving properties of individual atoms and large collections of atoms, and introduce advanced numerical techniques. You will start from Schroedinger's equation and derive the full properties of hydrogen atoms, and systems of particles. You will study perturbation techniques qualitatively, including for the interaction of radiation with atoms. You will study the theoretical foundation of statistical mechanics, including both classical and quantum distributions. You will apply a variety of numerical schemes for solving ordinary and partial differential equations, learn about the suitability of particular methods to particular problems, and their accuracy and stability. The module includes computational lab sessions, in which you will actively solve a range of physics problems. In completing this unit you will gain understanding of the foundations of modern physics and develop skills that will enable you to numerically solve complex problems in physics and beyond.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Physics Academic Operations
Credit points 6
Prerequisites
? 
(PHYS2011 OR PHYS2911 OR PHYS2921) AND (PHYS2012 OR PHYS2912 OR PHYS2922)
Corequisites
? 
None
Prohibitions
? 
PHYS3934 or PHYS3039 or PHYS3939 or PHYS3042 or PHYS3942 or PHYS3043 or PHYS3943 or PHYS3044 or PHYS3944 or PHYS3090 or PHYS3990 or PHYS3991 or PHYS3999 or PHYS3099
Assumed knowledge
? 

(MATH2021 OR MATH2921 OR MATH2061 OR MATH2961 OR MATH2067)

Available to study abroad and exchange students

Yes

Teaching staff

Coordinator Jonathan Bland-Hawthorn, jonathan.bland-hawthorn@sydney.edu.au
Lecturer(s) Archil Kobakhidze, archil.kobakhidze@sydney.edu.au
Jonathan Bland-Hawthorn, jonathan.bland-hawthorn@sydney.edu.au
Ben Fulcher, ben.fulcher@sydney.edu.au
The census date for this unit availability is 2 April 2024
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
? 
Final exam
Closed book, 2-hour, time-limited exam.
50% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Online task Quantum physics quiz
Canvas quiz in weeks 7, 8, 10 and 12
8% Multiple weeks 15 minutes each
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO2
Skills-based evaluation Computational Physics Computer Labs
Weeks 7, 8, 9, 10, 11; see Canvas for details.
10% Multiple weeks 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO7 LO4
Online task Statistical mechanics quiz
Canvas quiz
2% Week 04 15 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO2
Assignment Statistical physics assignment
Written assignment
10% Week 05
Due date: 22 Mar 2024 at 23:59
~ 5 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Computational physics assignment
Written assignment
10% Week 13
Due date: 21 May 2024 at 23:59
~ 5 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Quantum physics assignment
Written assignment
10% Week 13
Due date: 24 May 2024 at 23:59
~ 5 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6 LO7

Assessment summary

  • Assignments: There are four assignments in this unit, one per module and one larger problem assignment using aspects of both, quantum and statistical physics. You are encouraged to start early on the problem assignment as you will be able to solve aspects from it as early as it is released. Assignments are to be submitted through Canvas. Typewritten and handwritten assignments are acceptable – for handwritten assignment make sure the scans have good resolution and contrast and are not blurry or distorted. Only parts of the assignment that can readily be read on screen will be marked. Plan plenty of time for uploading your files ahead of the deadline to make room for connectivity issues, as deadlines will be enforced strictly. It is your responsibility to ensure that files have uploaded correctly with all pages.
  • Quizzes: There will be one statistical mechanics quiz, and 4 quantum physics quizzes. All quizzes will be online and last 15 minutes. You will have to do each quiz within a 24h window on the due date.
  • Computer Physics Practice Quizzes: Optional multiple choice quizzes are available under Canvas. These quizzes test your understanding of the lecture material and can be completed at any time. The quizzes are formative (weight is 0%).
  • Computational Physics Computer Labs: The laboratory sessions consist of sets of exercises requiring you to modify the codes introduced in the lectures (available via the Canvas site), and to write your own codes. The tasks involve implementing numerical methods and solving science problems. The laboratory sessions support the lecture material, and are a crucial part of the unit. The lab question sheets are available online as a Canvas quiz, and you may complete the lab at any time each week before the due date. Tutors will be available during the scheduled computer labs to assist you.
  • Final exam: The final exam will be a supervised, closed book exam on just the SM and QP sections of the course.
  • Final exam: If a second replacement exam is required, this exam may be delivered via an alternative assessment method, such as a viva voce (oral exam). The alternative assessment will meet the same learning outcomes as the original exam. The format of the alternative assessment will be determined by the unit coordinator

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range

Description

High distinction

85 - 100

A student demonstrates a flair for the subject and comprehensive
knowledge and understanding of the unit material. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects
exceptional achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates the
ability to apply subject knowledge to novel situations.

Distinction

75 - 84

A student demonstrates an aptitude for the subject and a solid
knowledge and understanding of the unit material. A ‘Distinction’ reflects
excellent achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates an
ability to apply the key ideas of the subject.

Credit

65 - 74

a student demonstrates a good command and knowledge of the unit material. A ‘Credit’ reflects solid achievement and is awarded to a student who has a broad understanding of the unit material but has not fully developed the ability to apply the key ideas of the subject.

Pass

50 - 64

At PS level, a student demonstrates proficiency in the unit material. A ‘Pass’
reflects satisfactory achievement and is awarded to a student who has
threshold knowledge of the subject.

Fail

0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

Support for students

The Support for Students Policy 2023 reflects the University’s commitment to supporting students in their academic journey and making the University safe for students. It is important that you read and understand this policy so that you are familiar with the range of support services available to you and understand how to engage with them.

The University uses email as its primary source of communication with students who need support under the Support for Students Policy 2023. Make sure you check your University email regularly and respond to any communications received from the University.

Learning resources and detailed information about weekly assessment and learning activities can be accessed via Canvas. It is essential that you visit your unit of study Canvas site to ensure you are up to date with all of your tasks.

If you are having difficulties completing your studies, or are feeling unsure about your progress, we are here to help. You can access the support services offered by the University at any time:

Support and Services (including health and wellbeing services, financial support and learning support)
Course planning and administration
Meet with an Academic Adviser

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Statistical Physics Lectures: Introduction, Boltzmann Distribution; Partition Function, Ideal Gas Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Statistical Physics Computer Lab 1: Stirling’s approximation, Paramagnetism Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 02 Statistical Physics Lectures: Gibbs factor, quantum statistics - bosons and fermions Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Statistical Physics Tutorial Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Statistical Physics Computer Lab 2: Paramagnetism, partition function Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Complex Linear Algebra for Quantum Physics 1 Tutorial (1 hr) LO1
Week 03 Statistical Physics Lectures: Blackbody radiation; black holes and Hawking radiation Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Statistical Physics Tutorial Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Statistical Physics Computer Lab 3: Einstein Solid Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Complex Linear Algebra for Quantum Physics 2 Tutorial (1 hr) LO1
Week 04 Statistical Physics Lecture: Degenerate Fermi gases 1 Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2
Quantum Physics Lectures: Schrödinger Equation; 1D examples; harmonic oscillator; Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Statistical Physics Tutorial Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Statistical Physics Computer Lab 4: QUIZ + Rotation of diatomic molecules, Maxwell speed distribution Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 05 Statistical Physics Lecture: Degenerate Fermi gases 2 Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2
Quantum Physics Lectures: multi-dimensional problems, separation of variables, application to the hydrogen atom; Quantisation of angular momentum and application to molecular vibrational-rotational spectra; Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Quantum Physics Tutorial Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Statistical Physics Computer Lab 5: Ideal Gas, Gibbs factor Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 06 Statistical Physics Lecture: Bose-Einstein condensation Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2
Statistical Physics Tutorial Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Statistical Physics Computer Lab 6: Bosons and fermions, blackbody radiation Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Quantum Physics Lectures: Orbital angular momentum; spherical harmonics; Wave functions for hydrogen atom Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 07 Computational Physics Lecture 1: Types of numerical error – rounding and range error, truncation error; Euler's method Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Computational Physics Computer Lab 1: Types of numerical error – rounding and range error, truncation error; Euler's method Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO7
Quantum Physics Lectures: Hydrogen energy spectrum; energy levels and emission series; Hydrogen orbitals; superposition of states; emission and absorption of radiation by Atoms; Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Quantum Physics Tutorial Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 08 Computational Physics Lecture 2: Dynamical ODEs – the Kepler problem; Non-dimensionalisation of the problem; The Verlet method; Properties of the Verlet method Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Computational Physics Computer Lab 2: Dynamical ODEs – the Kepler problem; Non-dimensionalisation of the problem; The Verlet method; Properties of the Verlet method Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO7
Quantum Physics Lectures: Transition probability; life time of excited state; absorption and stimulated emission; selection rules; Einstein relations; Magnetic moments, gyromagnetic ratio, ESR, NMR Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Quantum Physics Tutorial Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 09 Computational Physics Lecture 3: General form of ODEs for numerical solution; Runge-Kutta (Taylor series) methods; Fourth order Runge-Kutta (RK4); Deriving second order Runge-Kutta (RK2) Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Computational Physics Computer Lab 3: General form of ODEs for numerical solution; Runge-Kutta (Taylor series) methods; Fourth order Runge-Kutta (RK4); Deriving second order Runge-Kutta (RK2) Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4
Quantum Physics Lectures: Non-degenerate perturbation theory; Fine structure; spin-orbit coupling; Dirac’s theory; Lamb shift Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Quantum Physics Tutorial Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 10 Computational Physics Lecture 4: Partial Differential Equations or PDEs; Classification of PDEs (Initial Value Problems or IVPs and BVPs); Parabolic PDEs and the diffusion equation; Forward-Time Centred Space discretisation, and solution for diffusion, numerical stability of FTCS for 1-D diffusion Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Computational Physics Computer Lab 4: Partial Differential Equations or PDEs; Classification of PDEs (Initial Value Problems or IVPs and BVPs); Parabolic PDEs and the diffusion equation; Forward-Time Centred Space discretisation, and solution for diffusion, numerical stability of FTCS for 1-D diffusion Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO7
Quantum Physics Lectures : Hyperfine structure; addition of angular momenta; Identical particles, symmetry requirements, fermions and bosons Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Quantum Physics Tutorial Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO6 LO7
Week 11 Computational Physics Lecture 5: Hyperbolic PDEs and the wave and advection equations; FTCS applied to advection; von Neumann stability analysis; Lax method for advection Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Computational Physics Computer Lab 5: Hyperbolic PDEs and the wave and advection equations; FTCS applied to advection; von Neumann stability analysis; Lax method for advection Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4
Quantum Physics Lectures: Helium atom; Pauli exclusion principle, electron-electron interaction, exchange energy; Bose-Einstein condensation; multielectron atoms; periodic table; laser cooling Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Quantum Physics Tutorial Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Computational Physics Lecture 6 : 2-D elliptic PDEs and the Laplace and Poisson equations; Jacobi and Gauss-Seidel methods of relaxation for elliptic PDEs; Successive Over-Relaxation or SOR for elliptic PPDs; Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Computational Physics Computer Lab 6 : 2-D elliptic PDEs and the Laplace and Poisson equations; Jacobi and Gauss-Seidel methods of relaxation for elliptic PDEs; Successive Over-Relaxation or SOR for elliptic PPDs; Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO7
Quantum Physics Lectures: Fermi's golden rule; Transition probabilities, selection rules Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Quantum Physics Tutorial Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 13 Computational Physics Lecture 7 : Order/accuracy of PDE solution methods; Implicit methods for diffusion (Crank-Nicolson); More general diffusion problems; Summary and recap Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Computational Physics Computer Lab 7 : Order/accuracy of PDE solution methods; Implicit methods for diffusion (Crank-Nicolson); More general diffusion problems; Summary and recap Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO7
Quantum Physics Tutorial Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Quantum Physics Lectures: Zeeman and Paschen-Back effect; Time-dependent perturbation theory (time permitting) Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2

Attendance and class requirements

There will be no practicals – only computer labs, which are well suited for online delivery. Students will now have a week to complete the computer labs. Instead of checkpoints students will fill out a canvas quiz (not timed).

Tutors will be available to help them during the scheduled computer lab hours (2 hours weekly). 

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed on the Library eReserve link available in the Canvas site for this unit.

  • McIntyre, D.H., Minogue, C.A., Tate, J., "Quantum Mechanics," Pearson
  • Schroeder, Daniel V., “An introduction to thermal physics,” Addison Wesley
  • Garcia, A., "Numerical methods for physics" (any edition)
  • Press, W.H. et al. "Numerical Recipes" (any edition)

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of key concepts in two foundation areas of physics – quantum mechanics of atoms and statistical physics
  • LO2. apply these concepts to develop models, and to solve qualitative and quantitative problems in scientific contexts, using appropriate mathematical and computing techniques as necessary – Compare and critique different models in quantum and statistical physics
  • LO3. design computer programs to solve physical problems
  • LO4. compare and critique different approaches to numerically solving physical problems
  • LO5. communicate scientific information appropriately, through written work
  • LO6. analyse a physical problem in quantum physics and statistical physics and develop a formalism appropriate for solving it
  • LO7. demonstrate a sense of responsibility, ethical behaviour, and independence as a learner and as a scientist.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5 GQ6 GQ7 GQ8 GQ9

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.

The School of Physics recognises that biases and discrimination, including but not limited to those based on gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and age, continue to impact parts of our community disproportionately. Consequently, the School is strongly committed to taking effective steps to make our environment supportive and inclusive and one that provides equity of access and opportunity for everyone.

The School has three Equity Officers as a point of contact for students and staff who may have a query or concern about any issues relating to equity, access and diversity.  If you feel you have been treated unfairly, bullied, discriminated against or disadvantaged in any way, you are encouraged to talk to one of the Equity Officers or any member of the Physics staff.

More information can be found at https://sydney.edu.au/science/schools/school-of-physics/equity-access-diversity.html

Any student who feels they may need a special accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact Disability Services:

http://sydney.edu.au/current_students/disability/ who can help arrange support.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service: unihealth.usyd.edu.au/

Disclaimer

The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.