Physics 215A (Fall 2014)

Physics 215A, Graduate Quantum Mechanics, Fall 2014


Prof. Matthew Fisher 

email: ;
Office: 1118 Kohn Hall
Lectures: Tuesday, Thursday 11:00-12:15 pm, Phelps 1508
Office Hours: Tuesday, Thursday  2:30-3:30 pm

Find the course web site thru my personal web site:

Grader/TA: Alex Rasmussen

email:  ;
Office: 6218 Broida Hall
Office Hours: Wed 2-4pm


Textbooks: The "official" textbook for 215A is Sakurai/Napolitano (2nd edition), which is a good book covering many traditional topics.   And of course there are a number of other such books - including Shankar, Gottfried/Yan, Landau-Lifshitz, among others.  However, I am hoping to include some more modern topics (eg entanglement entropy, quantum computing) which are not in these books.  I will try to suggest other reading/books when relevant.

Homework:  Roughly 6-8 homeworks throughout the quarter, available on the course web site.  Homework solutions also posted online.  You are encouraged to work together on the homeworks.

Exams:  Perhaps a Take-Home final.


Help/feedback:  In addition to my office hours and Alex' office hours, I would be happy to schedule a mutually convenient time to chat about homework or other topics (best arranged by e-mail).  I would greatly appreciate feedback on any aspect of the course, anytime throughout the quarter.  


Quantum mechanics is a truly remarkable field.  Hopefully we can all develop a conceptual intuition for the topic (perhaps dispensing with some of the math, early on?), and have some fun along the way!


SYLLABUS: (tentative)

Mathematical Primer:

  • Linerar vector spaces, dual spaces, Dirac notation and operators 
  • Eigenvectors/eigenvalues of Hermitian operators
  • Projection and Completeness
  • Unitary Transformation and Representations
  • Compatible and Incompatible Operators

Formulation of Quantum Mechanics:

  • U-Process:  Dynamics, Unitary Time Evolution and the Hamiltonian Operator
  • R-Process: Measurements and State Reduction

2-State Quantum System(s):

  • Measurements 
  • Dynamics

Density Matrices: 

  • Pure versus mixed ensembles
  • Quantum Statistical Mechanics
  • Thermal Entropy


  • Entanglement entropy and Non-locality
  • Local Measurements and disentangling
  • Bell's Inequality
  • Schrodinger's Cat
  • No-clone Theorem

Quantum Computing: 

  • Quantum Information, Complexity and Parallelism
  • Q-bit formalism
  • Quantum Algorithms - Deutsch algorithm, Grover Algorithm

 Quantum Particles: 

  • Single Quantum particle - tight binding model, translational symmetry and the continuum limit
  • Many Quantum particles: 2nd Quantization for Bosons and Fermions
  • Lattice Quantum Field Theories