Modern Physics (PY 203)


Physics 203 (University Physics III, Modern Physics) provides an introduction to basic concepts of modern physics intended for undergraduate students majoring in physics or other mathematical sciences. Subjects covered include special relativity and quantum mechanics, as well as simple applications to atomic physics, nuclear physics, and solid state physics. Prerequesites PY201/202, MA 241.

  1. Lecture:
    MW 1:30-2:45, RID 325 (Lecture)
    F 1:30-2:45, RID 325 (Problem Session)
    Instructor: T. Schaefer, Office RID 400F
    email: Thomas_Schaefer[at]
    Office hours: MW. 3:00-4:00 and by appointment.
  2. Homework:
    Most fridays a set of homework problems will be assigned. We will use webassign, and you will have to purchase a subscription (the ``premium'' subscription includes an e-copy of the text book). The homework is due friday the following week at 1:30pm (before the problem session). No late homework will be accepted.
  3. Lab
    See the lab website for information.
  4. Exams
    There will be two midterm exams and a final.
  5. Grade
    Your final grade will be determined by weighting the various portions of the course as follows:
    Midterms: 30%, Final: 30%, Homework: 30%, Lab: 10%
    You are responsible for signing up for a Lab. You have to pass the Lab in order to pass the course. Information on Lab grading policies is available at
  6. Textbook
    (required) Physics for Scientists and by Engineers, Volume 3, P.A. Tipler and G. Mocsa, Publisher: W. H. Freeman; 6th edition.

Handouts: [The twin paradox] [Transformation laws]
Links: [Relativity visualized] [Spherical Harmonics (Mathworld)] [Spherical Harmonics (Some nice plots)] [LHC Rap] [LHC Pictures]

Homework assignments will be posted on webassign.

Questions? Send email to thomas_schaefer(at)ncsu_edu