Welcome to Modern Physics

There are multiple versions of this course, so please read the following carefully:

If you are an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia (either in the College or Engineering) or an undergraduate student elsewhere you should register for PHYS 2620 through the Summer Session. You can find information about the Summer Session at http://summer.virginia.edu/registration-and-academic-procedures .

If you are a K-12 teacher needing a professional development course or in our Masters of Art in Physics Education program, you need to register for PHYS 6330. You should contact the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (email: scpsregistration@virginia.edu, phone 434-982-5252, 434-982-5293, 434-982-5316, 434-982-2779). Teachers need permission from Professor Stephen Thornton (stt@virginia.edu ) to take this course.

Anyone else interested in taking either 2620 or 6330 can contact Professor Thornton to discuss whether the course is appropriate for them or not.

This distance learning course is offered every year beginning in mid-May and lasts until early August. Late registrations are accepted until June 1 and even later with special permission, but this requires extraordinary efforts to catch up.

There are two versions of the course (click one for further information):

Physics 2620 for undergraduate engineering and science majors (including physics majors). Four credit hours.

Physics 6330 for middle and high school teachers of physics and physical science. Three credit hours.

This distance-learning course will introduce
  • relativity
  • particle and wave properties of matter
  • atomic structure
  • quantum mechanics
  • the quantum mechanical model of the atom
  • solid state physics including transistors and solar cells
  • nuclear physics, reactors
  • particle physics, acceleraors
  • cosmology including the origin and demise of the universe

The organization of the course is based on the textbook. This website supplements the required textbook readings.

To see how to register for this course go here.

All homework and exams are taken on WebAssign, an internet web service.

At least 10 questions for each chapter are available on WebAssign to test your understanding and knowledge of each chapter. These questions are for practice and do not count towards your grade. You should look at these questions before taking the chapter tests.