Physics 221AB

Quantum Mechanics

Fall 2019 and Spring 2020

University of California, Berkeley

Instructor:  Robert Littlejohn
Office:  449 Birge
Office Hours:   Fridays 11am-12
Telephone:  642-1229
TA:  David Dunsky
Office Hours: Thursdays, 10-11am, Panic Room (4th Floor Birge)

Lecture:  251 LeConte
Time:  TuTh 6:30-8pm
Discussion Section 101:   Wed 4-5, 205 Dwinelle
Discussion Section 102:   Tue 11-12, 310 Hearst Mining
Recommended text:   Eugene D. Commins, Quantum Mechanics: An Experimentalist's Approach.
Final Exam:  Take Home; Available 5pm Tuesday, May 12; due 5pm Thursday, May 14. Link to Final Exam

Organization and Logistics

The email address for this course is   Use this to send me emails if you have any questions etc. Also, I maintain an email mailing list for the course, and use it to send out announcements, corrections to homework assignments, etc back to you. If you received an email from me on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, then you are on the email mailing list and do not need to do anything. If you did not receive an email from me, then send an email to the course email address (above) and ask to be added to the mailing list (you do not need to be enrolled). If you drop the course or don't want to receive any more announcements, send an email to this address with a request to be dropped. 

The course web site (this site) will be used to post lecture notes, special notes, homework assignments, and homework solutions.

There will be no discussion section during the first week.

The prerequisites for 221B are graduate standing and Physics 221A or equivalent. "Graduate standing" implies a graduate student in the physics department, so it will be expected that you have sufficient background in subjects such as classical mechanics, statistical mechanics and electricity and magnetism to do this course. Note that this course also requires a background in special relativity, such as what is taught in Physics 209. Graduate students from other departments are advised that some knowledge of these subjects will be required for Physics 221B. Undergraduates wishing to take this course must make an application by filling out a form that may be obtained from Kathy Lee in the student services offices. The instructor will review these forms and decide on the admission of all undergraduate applicants. To be accepted you must have completed Physics 221A or equivalent, and you must also have had a sufficient number of other upper division physics courses, and you must have done well in all of them.

The grade will be based on homework and a final exam. The final exam will be a take-home; details will be announced later, but I expect it to be similar to a homework assignment, except that it will attempt to cover the whole course.

Weekly homework assignments will be made available on this web site (usually) by Saturday of each week, and will be due at 5pm on Friday afternoon of the following week. Homework should be turned in in the 221B homework box on the second floor of LeConte at the entrance to the breezeway that crosses over to Birge Hall.

Late homeworks will be accepted up to one week late at 50% credit. Homeworks more than one week late will not be accepted. Please do not ask the reader to take late homeworks. Exception: Each student is allowed one free late homework (up to one week late) during the semester, no questions asked.

Students are encouraged to work together on homework, and to trade ideas. There is no better way to learn. However, it is expected that the work you turn in is your own work in your own words. It is not legal just to copy someone else's solutions. It is also strictly illegal to look at or use solutions from any previous version of this course from earlier years. You can't find those solutions anyway without going to some trouble.

Lecture notes will be available in one of two forms. By now typed up versions of lecture notes are available for almost all my lectures, but for those lectures without typed notes, I will usually try to supply hand-written notes. There are enough notes that usually it should be possible to get by without taking notes in class. Do not be afraid to interrupt the lecture to ask questions.

Homework assignments will normally be made available on this web site by Friday or Saturday of each week, and will be due at 5pm on Friday of the following week in the 221A homework box on the second floor of LeConte at the entrance to the breezeway that crosses over to Birge Hall. 

Interesting Movies.

Typed lecture notes are available for some lectures, not others.

Homework Solutions.


Links to web sites for other courses I have taught.

  • Physics 209, Fall 2002.
  • Physics 250, Fall 2015.