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Unit V

Matter-Energy Interface

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Overall Expectations

By the end of this course, students will:
demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts of Einsteinís special theory of relativity and of the development of models of matter, based on classical and early quantum mechanics, that involve an interface between matter and energy;
interpret data to support scientific models of matter, and conduct thought experiments as a way of exploring abstract scientific ideas;
describe how the introduction of new conceptual models and theories can influence and change scientific thought and lead to the development of new technologies.

Specific Expectations  Understanding Basic Concepts

By the end of this course, students will: define and describe the concepts and units related to the present-day understanding of the nature of the atom and elementary particles (e.g., radioactivity, quantum theory, photoelectric effect, matter waves, mass-energy equivalence);
describe the principal forms of nuclear decay and compare the properties of alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays in terms of mass, charge, speed, penetrating power, and ionizing ability;
describe the photoelectric effect in terms of the quantum energy concept, and outline the experimental evidence that supports a particle model of light;
describe and explain in qualitative terms the Bohr model of the (hydrogen) atom as a synthesis of classical and early quantum mechanics;
state Einsteinís two postulates for the special theory of relativity and describe related thought experiments (e.g., describe Einsteinís thought experiments relating to the constancy of the speed of light in all inertial frames of reference, time dilation, and length contraction);
apply quantitatively the laws of conservation of mass and energy, using Einsteinís mass-energy equivalence;
describe the Standard Model of elementary particles in terms of the characteristic properties of quarks, leptons, and bosons, and identify the quarks that form familiar particles such as the proton and neutron.

This Unit is in three parts

Part I Chapter 11 Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity

Part II Chapter 12 Quantum Theory of the Atom

Part III Chapter 13 Radioactivity and Elementary Particles

Part I

Part I Special Relativity; just follow the flow of these topics
Opening Key Ideas Galilean Relativity
Historical Background Einsteinean Relativity and SpaceTime Coordinates Simultaneity
The Lorentz Transformations (may not be needed) Applications of the Lorentz Transformations Velocity Transformations
Mass in Special Relativity Summary (isn't one) Homework

To get to notes


A series of short notes on:

1. Atomic Theory

2. Working with alpha and beta decay equations

3. Writing Positron Decay and Electron Capture Equations

Part II Waves, Photons and Matter Notes come in two parts listed as Chapter 28 Quantum Mechanics for the first part of your Chapter 12 and Chapter 29 Atomic Physics for the second part of your Chapter 12

Part I
Quantum Mechanics: Chapter 28
Blackbody Radiation Planck's Hypothesis The Photoelectric Effect
Compton Scattering deBroglie Waves Complementarity
Summary Homework .
To get to notes

Part II
Atomic Physics Chapter 29
Atomic Spectra Rutherford Scattering Bohr's Model of Hydrogen
Atomic Energy Levels Atomic Structure in Quantum Mechanics Complex Atoms
Lasers Summary Homework
To get to notes

Part III

Part III
Nuclear Physics Chapter 30
Nuclear Structure Nuclear Binding Energy Radioactivity
Alpha Decay Beta Decay Gamma Decay
Radioactive Half-Life Iodine Experiment Geiger Counter
Nuclear Power Summary Homework
To get to notes

      on sub atomic particles and particle physics
  1. The subatomic zoo       

  2. Fermions and bosons    

  3. Nuclear decays           

  4. For a complete look at Particle Physics visit the

  5. For an introduction to particle physics presented in a number of slides visit

  6. A nice easy read and not too long of an outline of sub-atomic particles go to the