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Posts in category Education

Classically Quantum

That was the lecture I gave today in the course Fairy Tales. Usually I give this one in the end of the whole course since I think it demonstrates very neatly the power of theoretical physics. Technically, it is about the correspondence between the classical 1d statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics. We looked at path integrals, transfer matrix methods, and learned that a sushi roll is better be sliced before consuming 🙂

Well, that was forth lecture I gave this week. Kind of a big and pretty tiring fluctuation :(.

Fourth lecture Quantum Transport

was about extra conservation laws in quantum mechanics as compared to classical one, magic mirrors that permit to look through the self-averaging, templates of theories … We have started circuit theory of transmission distribution.

I’m still having half-lecture shift, this is annoying, yet I still do not have an opportunoty to change the situation.

Fifth lecture Advanced Quantum Mechanics

I took time slot of a Thursday problem-solving session. This was mostly to achieve a better synchronization between the lectures and PPS. Unfortunate effect on this is that the students are bored with my face since I show up too often. So I was told by my colleagues. I have to believe in this since I myself is seldom bored with my own face.

Anyway, this was my favorite topic(s): superconductivity and superfluidity. I enjoyed talking and told at least three “side” stories, in particular, the legend about Leiden street boy. I think I could do all important things on time.

There was a question about some skipped algebra in the break. I always get confused with such questions and perhaps did not react adequately. Actually, for all twenty years I’m giving the lectures I never managed to derive for myself a golden rule that would automatically tell me how much derivations I need to hide. So I always remain in a stressfull balance between “…substitute zis to zis and see how beautiful is the cancellation of factors of 2 in the numerator and denominator…” and “as, you know, you can easily see …” Between Scylla and Charybdis is my endless way 🙂

Fourth lecture Advanced Quantum Mechanics

We got through the formal part of the course – and started enjoying the examples! Magnetism, the puzzle of centuries:) I’ve put quite some new material I’ve never taught before. This was about magnons and other excitations in a magnet. I was not sure I could do it in time from the first attempt and warned the students in the beginning that perhaps I will have to skip this part.

Well, it went better than expected, though I had to skip a couple of slides. Moreover, it looks I could catch an attention provoking questions. The idea of the energy splitting of two spin subbands has spontaneously originated in the audience, a way before I was planning to talk about it. Nice 🙂

Anyway, there is room for improvement for the next time.

Third lecture Quantum Transport

was half-inteference, half-restoration of Ohm’s law – I still keep half-lecture shift. The advantage of this was that I could repeat the double junction that plays a key role in both topics. It occurred to me that the audience was more active than in former years at the interference part – good, but less active for Ohm’s law. Was I too monotonic for the second half of the lecture or the student’s tastes fluctuate from year to year?

Problem-solving session AQM

Neither Michael nor Albert could help me on this day: I had to do PSS myself. Fortunately all students were in place with the presentations and spoke sense. I also gave some practical advices on second-quantization calculations: hope it works. Besides, I asked students to fill in a survey about the course. I will investigate the data collected and present the results on next week.

Third lecture Advanced Quantum Mechanics

was the core of the course: second quantization. It was pretty formal, though I did my best to outline the logics and motivation behind the formulas. The students were warned that it will be boring, so they remain rather accepting. I went slower trying to establish better contact. This resulted in a time problem: in fact, I said only few most important things about fermion quantization. Luckily, it is almost the same as for bosons.

Second lecture Quantum Transport

was on Friday. I was supposed to start with the interference. However, there was a sweet topic of counting statistics left from the first lecture. Since I liked the topic, and since one needs to brush some probability analysis to understand the issue, it went slower than expected. So I’ve managed to do only a half of the interference lecture. Well, this is rather inconvenient – to have a half-lecture shift, but I do not want at the moment to make the shift integer 🙂

Second Lecture Advanced Quantum Mechanics

on this Monday was reasonably well attended. The topic: identical particles, despite importance and fundamental interest, was rather easy, both for me and for students. This gave enough time to go slow and even made an actual experiment with identical particles 😉 There was a good contact. Hope we can go on in this pace.

First lecture Fairy Tales

was about KdV equation, the spectacular advance of early Dutch science. There were many students. I was flattened with the fact that most were familiar with the Lagrangian, and variational calculations in this context. I begin to believe in progress and knowledge accumulation since I did not quite see this in former generation.

Moreover, the students were able to correctly describe the activities of a theoretical physicist. Well, I was rather inspired with this fact and has spent too much time on introduction for the sake of exact solution technology – just had time to mention it briefly.

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