Modern Physics

Academic year
Subject Area
Área Científica do Menor
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

General Physics

Teaching Methods

Lectures, using audiovisual media and blackboard, during which the main concepts, principles and fundamental theories of quantum mechanics are presented and discussed. Application to simple exemples.

Problem classes during which the student is supposed to solve by him/herself , with help whenever necessary, problems that apply the main concepts of quantum mechanics.

Learning Outcomes

- Recognize the basic concepts and principles of Special Relativity and Quantum Theory.

- Develop an historical perspective of how the Theory of Relativity and Quantum Theory evolved and the conceptual breakthroughs with respect to Newtonian Mechanics.

- Recognize the important experiments on the basis of the formulation of “Modern Physics” and understand how their results cannot be explained in the framework of classical theory.

- Use the concepts, methodologies and techniques appropriate to solve simple problems related to the topics of the syllabus.

-Analyze, synthesize and process information. Develop critical thinking and autonomous learning. Prepare, process, interpret and communicate physics information, using relevant literature sources and appropriate tools.

Work Placement(s)



1. Relativity Theory

Galilean Relativity principle. Michelson-Morley experiment. Einstein Relativity principle. Lorentz transformations. Relativistic Doppler effect. Aberration of light. Relativistic Dynamics. Introduction to General Relativity.

2. Theory of Quanta

Black body radiation. Planck theory. Photoelectric effect. Einstein photon theory. Compton effect. X-rays and Bragg diffraction.

3. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

Wave-particle duality. De Broglie hypothesis. Davisson-Germer experiment. Uncertainty principle. Wave function.

4. Atomic models

Thompson model. Discovery of the nucleus. Bohr model. Frank-Hertz experiment. Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization. Correspondence principle. Schrödinger equation.

5. Atomic nucleus and elementary particles

The discovery of radioactivity. Radioactive decay. Radiation characteristics. Detectors. Decay law. Nuclear reactions. Elementary particles. Fundamental interactions.

Head Lecturer(s)

Maria Helena Almeida Vieira Alberto

Assessment Methods

Exam: 100.0%


A. Beiser, Concepts of Modern Physics, 5th Ed., McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1995.

Paul Tipler, Elementary Modern Physics, 1992.

K. S. Krane, Modern Physics, 2nd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1996.

R. Eisberg, and R. Resnick, Quantum physics of atoms, molecules, solids, nuclei and particles, 2nd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1985.