Summer course on quantum mechanics and Mathemtica

*To*: mathgroup at yoda.physics.unc.edu*Subject*: Summer course on quantum mechanics and Mathemtica*From*: dan at chem.bu.edu (Dan Dill)*Date*: Tue, 12 Apr 1994 14:33:12 -0400

P l e a s e P o s t a n d D i s t r i b u t e Hi everyone. I wanted to let you know about a course I will be teaching in the second summer term session at Boston University, July 5 to August 13, 1994. An Explorer's Guide to Quantum Mechanics (CH651 Molecular Quantum Mechanics) The discovery of quantum mechanics is a crowning intellectual achievement of the twentieth century. On one level quantum mechanics is a door to our understanding of the universe; on another it provides the foundation for much of modern technology. Learning quantum mechanics requires that everyday intuition be abandoned, and so there are few guide posts to anchor understanding. Indeed, Niels Bohr has said that ``Those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum theory cannot possibly have understood it.'' As if things are not challenging enough, mastery is made more difficult by the abstract nature of the mathematics of quantum mechanics. Real understanding can only come from active exploration, but students need an explorer's guide to find their way. CH651 Molecular Quantum Mechanics is just such a guide. It is a novel exposition of quantum mechanics based on Mathematica, Stephen Wolfram's system for doing mathematics by computer. Mathematica itself is a revolutionary development. It indeed ``does for mathematics what the calculator has done for arithmetic.'' With Mathematica students new to quantum mechanics are able to develop sophisticated quantum mechanical applications, something not otherwise possible in an introductory course. The end result is that students learn to use quantum mechanics with the same ease that they use calculus now, as a routine tool for their own future explorations of the microworld. Special note about prerequisites Quantum mechanics is a fascinating subject and I am anxious to introduce it to students as early as possible in their studies. If you have completed introductory courses in chemistry and physics, and are comfortable with calculus of several variables, then you know enough to do well in CH651 Molecular Quantum Mechanics. If you have studied quantum mechanics in a physical chemistry course, that will be a benefit too, but I am willing to admit you without this experience, provided your previous chemistry and physics courses were good ones. The course will use TeX/Mathematica, on the Boston University UNIX computer systems. I do not assume *any* previous experience with Mathematica, TeX or UNIX. We'll learn everything we need as we go along. Further Information If you have any questions I'd be happy to hear from you at dan at bu.edu or (617) 353-9305. Registration is through Boston University Summerterm, (617) 353-6000. If you decide to take this course --- and I certainly hope you do! --- let me know and I will provide advance materials. Thanks Dan Dill dan at bu.edu