PHYS 2P50: Modern Physics
Course Outline 2017
What this course is about:

We will be introducing concepts from the first part of the "Modern Era" of Physics, begining around 1905: special relativity, and the wave and particle aspects of both electromagnetic radiation and matter. Every other course you might take in Physics owes its origins to these discoveries.


In this course some simple integrals will be solved, so it is important that the students feel comfortable with the calculus covered in Y1 mathematics courses. Elementary classical mechanics is essential.

Topics covered:
Special Relativity
  • Relativity of Time, Length
  • Lorentz Transformations
  • Relativity of Velocity
  • Doppler Effect for Light
  • Relativistic Dynamics
Quantum Theory of Light
  • Photoelectric Effect
  • Blackbody Radiation
  • Compton Effect
Wave Nature of Matter
  • De Broglie's Hypothesis
  • Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
Quantum Mechanics
  • The Schrodinger Equation
  • Probability Density
  • Examples in 1-D
  • The Hydrogen Atom

Good news: your textbook for this class is available for free online, in web view and PDF format! You can also purchase a print version, if you prefer from OpenStax on Amazon. You can use whichever format(s) you want. Web view is recommended -- the responsive design works seamlessly on any device. If you buy on Amazon, make sure you use the link on your book page on so you get the official OpenStax print version. (Simple printouts sold by third parties on Amazon are not verifiable and not as high-quality.)

University Physics Volume 3 from OpenStax, ISBN 1938168186,

Supplementary Reading:

Other textbooks on Modern Physics such as:

Modern Physics, 3rd Edition by Kenneth Krane


9:30-11:00 am Tuesday and Friday, in TH 241


11:00-12:00 pm Friday in WH 206


Maureen Reedyk (MC B205, ext. 3877, e-mail:

Teaching Assistant:

Mathew Pula

The marking scheme:
Component Weight
Homework Assignments 15%
Tutorial Exercises 20%
Test #1 15% During LECTURE Period Fri. Oct. 20, 2017
Test #2 15% During LECTURE Period Fri. Nov. 17, 2017
Examination 35% You must obtain a grade of 40% or greater on the final exam in order to pass the course
Academic Misconduct
  • No late assignments or tutorial work sheets will be accepted.
  • The tests and the examination will be based on material covered during lectures, tutorials and in assignments.
  • Attendance at the tutorial session is mandatory. Worksheet must be completed during the tutorial session in order to obtain credit for it.
  • Topics may be covered in lectures, assignments and/or tutorials
  • If your grade is less than 40% on the final exam your final grade in the course can be no greater than 45%.