What you'll learn

  • The principles of quantum mechanics
  • How quantum mechanics applies to chemistry
  • How to simulate quantum mechanics in Python

Course description

Welcome to The Quantum World!

This course is an introduction to quantum chemistry: the application of quantum theory to atoms, molecules, and materials. You’ll learn about wavefunctions, probability, special notations, and approximations that make quantum mechanics easier to apply. You’ll also learn how to use Python to program quantum-mechanical models of atoms and molecules.

This course has serious prerequisites. You will need to be comfortable with college-level chemistry and calculus. Some prior programming experience is also encouraged.

The Quantum World is ideal for:

Chemistry majors who want extra material alongside an on-campus courseChemistry majors at an institution that does not offer quantum chemistryPhysics or CompSci majors who want to branch out to chemistryGraduate students refreshing on quantum mechanics before their qualifying examsProfessional chemists who want to brush up on their skills

Course outline

  • Intro to Quantum Mechanics

    A quick review of classical mechanics and wave mechanics, plus the postulates that form the basis of quantum theory.

  • Schrödinger in Many Dimensions

    The Schrödinger equation in one, two, and three dimensions, plus the use of the Finite Difference Method that makes computational quantum chemistry possible.

  • Applications and Phase Space

    Infrared spectroscopy, chemical reactions, molecular rotation, and the proper use of phase space.

  • Atoms

    Solving the hydrogen atom, approximating many-electron atoms.

  • Molecules and Light 

    An in-depth look at diatomic molecules, and the interaction of atoms with light.

  • Variation and Perturbation 

    The variational principle, the Hartree-Fock method, self-consistent field theory, and perturbation theory.

Instructors

Associated Schools

  • Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences

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