The Bootcamp on Physics Fundamentals (2020)

Bootcamp on Physics Fundamentals

What: Starting the graduate program at Yale Physics is very exciting, but the transition can also be disorienting while you juggle a new department, coursework and teaching. This two week program aims to accelerate that transition and give you some breathing room in the first month of the program by refreshing those fundamentals and forming a supportive group of peers and mentors before the first day of class! Note this bootcamp is not intended to prepare you for the pass-out exams for required graduate courses or the qualifying exam.

Who: Any student looking to soften the transition into a frenetic first semester in graduate school. Meet others in your incoming class, form study groups from day one and get your first year as a graduate student off to a running start by solidifying the fundamentals in classical and quantum mechanics before the first day of class. 

Student feedback from Bootcamp 2019:

“I feel more prepared for the Fall classes. The boot camp did a great job getting me back into the habit of solving physics problems…I would highly recommend the boot camp for future incoming students, including for students who feel confident in their background in physics but just want to get back into the habit of solving physics problems. The boot camp made it easy to get back into a rhythm and was also a good way to meet some of the other incoming students and older students.”

“If it ever got to a point where there was a blank look on my face, the instructors and my peers noticed and we immediately figured things out together…They also created a space where I felt very comfortable saying, “I don’t understand why we did so-and-so,” or “I’m not sure I understand your question.””

“100%, I would recommend to incoming students. It has eased a lot of nerves about starting classes and because of the bootcamp, I won’t be feeling alone when I walk into courses this semester .”

When: August 3-14, M-F 9am-12pm (Daily meeting time may change based on needs of remote participants)


Week 1: Classical Mechanics

Monday: Symmetries and Conservation laws; Thinking of problems in different ways; Coordinate changes & choices, Lagrangians, E-L equations

Tuesday: Review of Lagrangians, Hamiltonians

Wednesday: Special Topics

Thursday: How to handle constraints: Hamilton’s principle, Lagrange multipliers

Friday: How to simplify a problem: Approximations (binomial approx, recall Taylor Series), small Oscillations

Week 2: Quantum Mechanics

Monday: Linear algebra review, postulates of quantum mechanics

Tuesday: Time evolution in spin-½ systems

Wednesday: Special Topics

Thursday: Quantum dynamics in the harmonic oscillator

Friday: Multi-particle systems, tensor products, and entanglement

To participate, please sign up by July 15th: Boot Camp Sign Up

Contact: For any questions please contact Dr. Rona Ramos