Instructor: Gregory Scholes & Kyra Schwarz
Description of Course Goals and CurriculumThe major goals of the course were to teach the principles of quantum mechanics as well as their applications to Chemistry. The course is split in two halves – the first half on theoretical quantum mechanics is taught by Prof. Scholes, the second half on chemical quantum mechanics is taught by Prof. Schwarz. The course changed track significantly from one half to the other. The first half was more conceptual, could have been taught in a Physics course, and comprised great cocktail party content. The second half was more specific to Chemistry, more detail-oriented, and contained more information. Derivations were expected to be learned outside of class from the textbook or online resources. Reading the textbook before class is very helpful, as well as taking notes to summarize the main points from each section.
Learning From Classroom InstructionProf. Schwarz and Prof. Scholes lecture very differently. Prof. Scholes writes on the board and explains principles flow-of-consciousness and more improvisationally – though he has also taught the course more often. Prof. Schwarz lectures from bullet point slide shows and outlines, and she speaks in this way too. She presents technical information more often. In precept, students were asked to write their problem set solutions on the board and present them to the class – sometimes in pairs, sometimes individually. Though the preceptor asked for comments and questions every time, not a lot were made. Asking questions to clarify content during class, after class, after precept, and during office hours is extremely helpful. Clearing up any concept that was not entirely apparent immediately makes all the following learning more accessible. All the instructors encourage the asking of questions during class, answer them thoroughly, and genuinely appreciate them being asked.
Learning For and From AssignmentsProblem sets are the chance to apply the learning from the textbook and lectures, so taking time to do them thoroughly is very helpful. Precept provides a chance to deepen that understanding. Use the preceptor’s study notes rather than the textbook for tests. Only the lecture material is required for the test, not the entire textbook content.
External ResourcesOther universities’ class notes for the same topics, which came up in google searches. Yale’s quantum mechanics videos by Prof. Shankar.
What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course Selection1-2 hours reading before lecture : 2-3 hours on problem set : Quantum mechanical principles : Schrödinger equation : Postulates : Operators : Particle in a Box, Rigid Rotor & Quantum Mechanical Oscillator models : Translational, Vibrational & Rotational Spectroscopy : Solving for energy of hydrogen atom : Solving for energy of multi-electron atoms : A few bonding applications : Any previous quantum exposure is very helpful, as quantum mechanics defies the basic principles of physics that were seen as definitions of reality until then.
The Quantum World