WesMaps - Wesleyan University Catalog 2018-2019       Summer Session       Winter Session       Home       Archive       Search
Advanced Topics in Atomic and Molecular Physics
PHYS 572
Spring 2019
Section: 01  
This course may be repeated for credit.

Symmetries underlie the great conservation laws. For example, conservation of momentum is a consequence of translation invariance; energy conservation is a manifestation of time invariance.

PHYS572 will be devoted to a survey of the role of symmetry in physics. Symmetry has many more consequences in physics than just explaining the conservation laws; it underlies and unifies the mathematical description of nature in all the branches of physics. The course will begin with the symmetries underlying the conservation laws of classical mechanics and then use symmetry as a springboard toward a deeper understanding of the structure of mechanics. We will then turn our attention to quantum mechanics, exploring how the theory of point groups and continuous rotation groups can be used to generate bases for quantum mechanical states. The meaning and significance of results ranging from selection rules to the Wigner-Eckart theorem will be examined.

Examples will be drawn predominantly from atomic and molecular physics, but the applicability of the results to other branches of physics, including condensed matter and high energy physics, will be explored. Along the way, we'll take time to examine concepts such as accidental symmetry and broken symmetry.
Credit: .5 Gen Ed Area Dept: None
Course Format: LectureGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: GRAD Prerequisites: PHYS515
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on MAY-20-2022
Contact wesmaps@wesleyan.edu to submit comments or suggestions. Please include a url, course title, faculty name or other page reference in your email ? Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 06459