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PHYSICS

NOTE(S): FOR THE THEORETICAL PHYSICS TOPICS OF RELATIVITY, ETC, SEE MX COURSES

> Level 1
PX 1015
THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE A
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr N J C Strachan

Pre-requisite(s): SCE H in Mathematics and Physics, or equivalent.

Note(s): Two of the practicals are optical and as such they may be difficult to complete if the student is blind/partially sighted. However the practicals are carried out in groups of two (or occasionally three). Hence, in this instance the work would be carried out in a group of three so that the tasks can be shared appropriately.

The Physical Universe A is an introduction to some of the most fundamental areas in Physics and provides a foundation for later years of study. There will be lectures on kinematics and dynamics, covering the equations of motion and Newton's Three Laws; there's an introduction to Special Relativity, including the twin paradox; energy and power are covered, as well as considerations for generating electricity in the modern world; gravitation is studied in some depth, including the Law of Universal Gravitation, Kepler's laws governing the orbits of planets, and the behaviour of satellites; the course concludes with discussions of fluids, momentum and centres of mass.

The course objectives are:

  • To give an overview of some of the universal laws of physics;

  • To show how the concepts embodied in these laws form the basis of our understanding of nature and our application of science in selected fields.

2 one-hour lectures and up to 2 one-hour tutorials per week. 6 three-hour practicals.

1st Attempt: Final two-hour multiple choice exam (50%), completion of practical class notebook and laboratory reports (25%), tutorial sheets (12.5%), multiple choice tests during term (12.5%).

Resit: Final two-hour multiple choice exam (50%), completion of practical class notebook and laboratory reports (25%), tutorial sheets (12.5%), multiple choice tests during term (12.5%).

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

On-line software for solving Physics problems (eg Mastering Physics software or equivalent).

Tutorial sheets, term multiple choice exams and lab notebooks will be marked and returned within two weeks of submission. Mastering Physics software gives an immediate on-line feedback.

PX 1016
UNDERSTANDING THE PHYSICAL WORLD
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr F.J Perez-Reche

Pre-requisite(s): Standard Grade Physics or equivalent.

Note(s): Two of the practicals are optical and as such they may be difficult to complete if the student is blind/partially sighted. However, the practicals are carried out in groups of two. Hence, in this instance the work would be shared out appropriately.

This course will introduce the basic principles of physics and demonstrate their importance for applications in the biological, human life and environmental sciences. For example, the course will answer questions such as: "why are there no animals bigger than elephants on land?" (Newton's Laws and strength of materials) "How can renewable sources of energy be used to generate electricity?" (eg. wind power and tidal barrages) "Why do diamonds sparkle and how does a microscope work?" (optics) "How do settling chambers in factories reduce air pollution?" (properties of matter) "How can physics explain blood flow and how do plants and trees perspire?" (fluids) "How do nerve cells transmit signals to the brain?" (electricity).

Two lectures and one tutorial per week and 6 three-hour laboratory practicals.

1st Attempt: Final two-hour exam (75%), completion of practical class notebook and laboratory reports (25%).

Resit: Two-hour exam (75%), completion of practical class notebook and laboratory reports (25%).

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Formative informal assessment of tutorial work.

Lab notebooks will be marked and returned within two weeks of submission.

PX 1513
THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE B
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: To be confirmed

Pre-requisite(s): SCE H in Mathematics and Physics, or equivalent.

The course will continue from the Physical Universe A and develop ideas of rotational mechanics including moments of inertia, before going on to expore radiation, types of radiation and radioactivity. Some discussion of topical related issues will also be included. The Electricity and Magnetism component of the course will follow conventional lines for this level, exploring the laws of how charges interect through electorstatic and magnetic forces, how emf may be induced, the operation of capacitors and inductors. Practical sessions will mirror the theoretical content.

2 one-hour lectures per week,  1 one-hour tutorials per week. 3 three-hour practicals.

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour exam (70%), Continuous assessment (tutorials) (15%), Continuous assessment (practicals) (15%).

Resit: 1 two-hour exam (70%), Continuous assessment (tutorials) (15%), Continuous assessment (practials) (15%).

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Tutorials will monitor student development, whilst lab demonstrators will engage with students at a one to one level not possible in the lecture theatre.

Tutorial sheets, term multiple choice exams and lab notebooks will be marked and returned within two weeks of submission. Mastering Physics software gives an immediate on-line feedback.

PX 1514
ASTRONOMY AND METEOROLOGY
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr M Baptista

Pre-requisite(s): None.

A course of general interest providing an introduction to Astronomy and Meteorology. There will be an emphasis on the current knowledge of the solar system but the course will also look at astronomy on a larger scale. The meteorology component will discuss the atmosphere and how its dynamics are driven by the sun; special interest issues such as ozone depletion, climate change and El Nino will be highlighted.

3 one-hour lectures per week.

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour multiple choice exam (75%), in-course assessment (25%).

Resit: 1 two-hour multiple choice exam (75%), in-course assessment (25%).

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

In course assessements will also function to assess student progress.

Marked work will be returned to the students within, at most, two weeks of submission.

 

> Level 2
PX 2011
AN INTRODUCTION TO SPACE SCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr C Wang

Pre-requisite(s): None.

This course provides a broad introduction to the principles behind rocketry, satellite orbits and probes sent beyond the Earth's atmosphere, particularly how the law of gravity controls what can be done and what can't? The course will describe some great achievements in space exploration and discuss the main motivations for engaging in this area. It will look at the environment that satellites and probes operate in, which is largely controlled by the Sun. The course will examine how other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum of longer wavelengths than visible light are used for remote sensing and it will concentrate on some of the science behind communicating effectively with satellites and storing the results. The course aims to illustrate the principles, using real examples throughout. Students will be encouraged through class exercises to find out from the web about actual applications in fields of interest to them.

2 one-hour lectures per week and up to 10 hours of tutorials and computer sessions.

1st Attempt: A final 2 hour multiple-choice worth (75%) plus continuous assessment worth (25%).

Resit: A final two-hour multiple-choice worth (75%). Continuous assessment worth (25%).

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Tutorial sheets, computer labs.

Oral feedback during tutorials.
Marking of essays and posters with associated comments.

PX 2013
LIGHT SCIENCE
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr R MacPherson

Pre-requisite(s): PX 1015 / PX 1016 or equivalent.

The course aims to give a wide introduction to various fundamental topics in the science of Optics. The exploration of these fundamental topics goes beyond merely developing the appropriate theories by including study of the widespread applications of optical techniques and devices to science, industry and modern life.

Particular subjects given extensive treatment include: diffraction, interference and polaristation, the functions of lasers and photonic devices and the phenomena governing the behaviour of lens systems.

2 one-hour lectures, 2 concept mapping sessions and 10 one-hour weekly tutorials.

1st Attempt: Final two-hour written exam (75%), 2 concept mapping exercises (5% total) and 3 in-class written exams distributed appropriately throughout the course (20% total).

Resit: Final two-hour written exam (75%), 2 concept mapping exercises (5% total) and 3 in-class written exams distributed appropriately throughout the course (20% total).

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Tutorial sheets assisted by demonstrator, answers provided later.

Concept map marks are returned two weeks after submission, with commentary. Class exams are marked and returned within a week.

The formative assessment is not marked, though the demonstrator checks work as the tutorial progresses and the students are later provided with worked solutions to the problems.

PX 2015
DYNAMICAL PHENOMENA
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Alessandro Moura

Pre-requisite(s): PX 1014, (MA 1005, MA 1006, MA 1508 or MA 1007 and MA 1507).

This course is an introduction to physical phenomena that depend on time, with
emphasis on oscillatory and wavelike behaviour. The concept of a second order linear system will be used to unify the treatment of mechanical and electrical phenomena, and to introduce simple harmonic oscillators, damped oscillators and resonance. Wave motion will be used to introduce the ideas behind Fourier transforms. The Matlab software platform will be introduced as a means learning basic techniques of scientific programming, and of finding numerical solutions for differential equations.

3 one-hour lectures (Mon, Thur, Fri at 12), with tutorial sessions (to be arranged) throughout the course.

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour examination (75%) and in-course assessment (25%). A pass in this course requires a score of CAS 9 or higher in the in-course assessment.

Resit: 1 two-hour examination (75%) and in-course assessment (25%). A pass in this course requires a score of CAS 9 or higher in the in-course assessment.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Discussions of the solutions to problem sheets will happen in the tutorials throughout the course. Worked solutions of all problems will be posted online. Students will also have feedback on their computer tutorial assessments.

PX 2505
PRACTICAL OPTICS AND ELECTRONICS
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: TBC

Pre-requisite(s): PX 2013 or the approval of the Head of Physics.

The course is evenly divided between an introduction to the fundamentals of digital electronics and optical experiments illustrating theory discussed in the PX 2013 course. The first six weeks of twelve are spent doing electronics, the remaining weeks are for optics.

The electronics begins at the level of specifying the behaviour of the basic logic gates and the construction on a breadboard of simple circuits from circuit diagrams, covers Boolean algebra and ends with using Karnaugh maps to develop fairly complex circuits from a set of desired behaviours.

The optics covers: interference effects, such as using Newton's rings to determine the radius of curvature of a lens and then the refractive index of water; polarisation, including optical activity and Brewster's angle; the function of lens systems, from finding focal to length to determining the six cardinal points of a telephoto lens; and laser diffraction from various different gratings and objects.

The optics experiments include a number of places where digital photographs are taken of an optical effect (the ring system for a lens on an optical flat, the Peacock's eyes from the aser beam) and used, particularly in the former case, to make measurements.

2 three-hour labs a week. The first hour of the first lab is a lecture introducing digital electronics. One lab, towards the end of the six weeks spend on electronics, is in a computer room and covers MultiSim.

1st Attempt: In-course assessment (60%) and assessment of laboratory reports (40%)

Resit: Same, with resubmission of reports.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

The demonstrators assess lab performance. Students keep a lab manual, which is submitted at the end of the week and returned at the beginning of the next lab session, with a mark and brief comments from the demonstrators.

Lab books are graded and returned weekly, marks for the experiments are made available to the students.

The students submit one lab report on a self-selected electronics experiment and one on an optics experiment, due roughly one week after the completion of the topic. These are then marked and returned within a fortnight.

PX 2510
RELATIVITY AND QUANTUM MECHANICS
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr E Ullner

Pre-requisite(s): PX 1015 and either MA 1007 and MA 1507 or MA 1005, MA 1006 and MA 1508.

This is a foundation course on the principles of modern physics. Observations that identified the limitations of classical physics are discussed together with the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics that sought to remedy them. The relativity component of the course deals with the postulates of relativity, inertial frames and the development of the Lorentz tranformation. The quantum mechanics component of the course deals with the postulates of quantum mechanics, wave functions and the Schrodinger equation. The consequences of the Schrodinger equation are investigated through applications to the quantum behaviour of simple one-dimensional systems.

Three lectures a week with parts of each lecture set aside for examples problems.

1st Attempt: In course continuous assesment (25%) by means of three exams with the student having prior sight of the exam, plus one final exam (75%).

Resit: The same as above, though in cases of poor continuous assessment students may resubmit work.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Problem solving examples in class will allow formative assessment of students understanding of subject and highlight any systemic problems.

In term CAS exams will be marked and returned within two weeks of submission.

PX 2512
COSMOLOGY, ASTRONOMY AND MODERN PHYSICS
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr J M S Skakle

Pre-requisite(s): PX 1016 or PX 1514 or PX 2011 or equivalent.

Note(s): Cannot be taken with PX 2510.

In this course we aim to summarise some of the key developments in Modern (post 1900) physics in a simple and accessible manner. As such, the course is divided into "Modern Physics", comprising special relativity, quantum mechanics, nuclear physics and particle physics, and also "Cosmology and Astronomy". Where appropriate some of this will be presented in a historical context, describing how models are developed and tested, and how new theories come to light.

In the first part of the course, we discuss general "Modern Physics". The twin subjects of relativity and quantum mechanics have had an impact right across the sciences. The course discusses why these topics emerged from classical physics, outlines what they are about and some of their fundamental results. From special relativity we will examine time dilation, mass increase, length contraction and of course E=mc2 and the implications of this equation. The development of quantum mechanics will be followed, leading to such key results as the (implications of the) Schrodinger Wave equation and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. We will then go on to learn about the basics of nuclear and particle physics, leading to the design and purpose of the LHC.

The course also addresses some philosophical issues raised by the question "What is science?" and what distinguishes it from other fields of knowledge. It discusses the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe and how this theory makes predictions that can be tested by observation, such as the cosmic microwave background and the relative abundance of light elements in the Universe. The course looks at several cosmological issues, such as the role of General Relativity, Olbers paradox, dark matter and dark energy. Large-scale astronomy is discussed including the evolution of galaxies, different kinds of stars and their evolution and the presence of "exotic" objects such as quasars and black holes.

Normally 2 one-hour lectures and 1 one-hour tutorial per week.

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour multiple choice examination (60%); in-course assessment (40%) comprising two group presentations and a short summary essay.

Resit: 1 two-hour multiple choice examination (60%). The in-course assessment will be carried forward, although there is the opportunity to resubmit the short summary essay (worth 10%).

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Problem solving will be tackled during tutorials and help and feedback will be given individually.

Tutorial feedback will be given orally, though written feedback can also be given if tutorial work is handed in for marking. For summative (group) assessments, written feedback (by e-mail) will be given to each group on their work within a week of the assessment. For the summary essay, individual written feedback will be given.

 

> Level 3
PX 3008
ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr M C Romano and Dr M Baptista

Pre-requisite(s): PX 1513 and a second year maths course.

Note(s): This is a course on fundamental electromagnetic phenomena; it aims to develop a physical appreciation of Maxwell's equations and their consequences. Practical applications and electromagnetic properties of materials are emphasised. The course is also a vehicle for the introduction of theorems in vector calculus that have wide application in physics. This course aims to develop an understanding of the electromagnetic properties of materials and of the dominant role of electromagnetism in technology based on the concepts embodied in Maxwell's equations.

The course content reflects the learning outcomes:

  • Electric fields related to their sources Coulomb's law.

  • Gauss' theorem (integral and differential form) Electric potential and Poisson's equation.

  • Electrostatic properties of media Electric dipole.

  • Dielectrics.

  • Polarisation.

  • Electric Displacement (D).

  • Relative permittivity Gauss' theorem in dielectric media.

  • Boundary conditions for E and D.

  • Capacitance Energy stored in electric fields.

  • Current density and conservation of charge.
  • Conductivity and resistance.

  • Magnetic fields related to their sources Biot-Savart law.

  • Ampere's theorem (integral and differential form) Gauss' theorem for magnetic fields.

  • Magnetostatic properties of media Magnetic dipole.

  • Magnetisation Magnetic Intensity (H).

  • Relative permeability.
  • Ampere's theorem in magnetisable media.

  • Boundary conditions for B and H.

  • Faraday's law Inductance.

  • Mutual inductance and the transformer.

  • Eddy currents Energy stored in magnetic fields.

  • Maxwell's equations.

  • Electromagnetic waves.
  • Waves in free space, dielectrics and conducting media.

  • Poynting vector Radiation and aerials.

12 week course - 2 one-hour lectures per week, 1 one-hour tutorial.

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour written examination paper (75%) and mid-term exam (25%).

Resit: 1 two-hour written examination paper (75%) and mid-term (25%).
Only the marks obtained at the first attempt can count towards Honours classification.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

By dialogue with the lecturer in class and by means of problem classes.

Feedback will be immediate in problem classes and within two weeks (usually one) in summative assessments.

PX 3013
SPACE SCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr C Wang

Pre-requisite(s): Available to students at level 3 or above with mathematical skills at level 1 or equivalent.

Note(s): Not available in 2012/13.

  • The principles behind rockets and satellite orbits.

  • Introduction to space exploration.

  • The energy requirements of space probes.

  • Space weather and its effects.

  • The behaviour of the ionosphere.

  • The reasons for exploiting different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Synthetic aperture radar.
  • A description of the Global Positionsing System and an introduction to space-based communications systems and digital signal transmission.

Two lectures per week and one tutorial/computing practical.

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour written examination (75%) and continuous assessment (25%).

Resit: 1 two-hour written examination (75%) and continuous assessment (25%).
Only the marks obtained on the first attempt can be used for Honours classification.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Tutorial sheets, computer labs.

Oral feedback during tutorials and marking of tutorial work.
Marking of essays and posters with associated comments.

PX 3015
RESEARCH AND COMPUTING SKILLS
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr G Dunn

Pre-requisite(s): None.

Note(s): Priority entry to intending Physics honours students.

This course will introduce research and computing skills as used in the sciences.

These will be introduced through a series of interactive practical/seminar classes, with a mixture of skills classes (presentation, library, career skills), computing skills (eg. C programming, Matlab - or similar) and studies on general research topics including objectivity, research ethics and intellectual property rights. As such, content will vary dependent on class, employer and research needs.

Students will also enhance their presentation and communication skills through reporting on their work.

Two 2-3 hour workshops per week.

1st Attempt: In-course assessments (100%) made up of short reports, essays, reports and computer programmes.

Resit: Opportunity to resubmit any missed assessments.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Initial workshop on presentation skills formatively assessed; careers skills - feedback given, short "flash" assignments will be unassessed (eg. short blogs will receive comments).
Formative assessment on continuing work within workshops, and guidance given.

Feedback will be: provided by e-mail on formative assessments such as presentation skills
given individually on careers skills provided as comments on blogs of "flash" assignments
given informally throughout workshops and as required
formally provided in writing on written (summative) assessments.

PX 3016
INTRODUCTION TO THE SOLID STATE
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr J M S Skakle

Pre-requisite(s): 30 credit points of Level 2 PX courses.

Note(s): May not be taken along with (CM 3026).

The course begins at the basics of describing crystalline solids, taking in shapes and symmetry, and moving on to a thorough coverage of diffraction methods (X-ray, neutron and electron) and how they are used to describe crystalline materials. Workshop will develop these ideas into 3-dimensional symmetry and how this can be described mathematically.
From the study of perfect crystals, the course will touch on non-crystalline solids and defects in crystals, naturally developing into the basic ideas of doping in semiconductors. Quasicrystals, liquid crystals and photonic crystals will also be introduced within the framework of structural descriptions and diffraction. Effects of strain and particle size will also be explored. The concept of reciprocal space will be developed and linked back into the basics of X-ray crystallography.

24 one-hour lectures, 6 one-hour tutorials and 4 three-hour workshops.

1st Attempt: 1 one and a half hour written examination (60%), in-course assessment - based on workshops and online assessment (40%).

Resit: 1 one and a half hour written examination (60%), opportunity to resubmit any missed assessments.
Only the marks obtained on first attempt can be used for Honour classification.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Assessment of some of the tutorial sheets with feedback given formally. Online quiz (which provides detailed feedback on answers) taken more than once with best mark counting, thus acting as formative as well as summative assessment.

  • Assessment of some of the tutorial sheets with feedback given formally.

  • Continual feedback during workshops and assistance with course material during workshops.

  • Online quiz (which provides detailed feedback on answers) taken more than once with best mark counting, thus acting as formative as well as summative assessment.

  • Feedback given during tutorials.

  • Workshops marked and returned with feedback on worksheets.

PX 3508
ENERGY AND MATTER
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr G M Dunn

Pre-requisite(s): PX 2012, PX 2013.

The course covers the physical properties of matter – gases, liquids and solids and also explores the thermodynamic behaviour of these phases. Kinetic theory of gases, hydrostatics, properties of surfaces, elasticity, viscosity and fluid mechanics are examined in terms of physical models based on classical physics. Then in the second part of the course, the concept of entropy and its statistical interpretation is introduced and Boltzmann’s equation derived. Building on this foundation, the laws of thermodynamics are explained and the topics of heat capacity, heat engines, thermodynamic potentials, Maxwell relations, Gibbs-Helmholtz equation, properties of ideal gases, chemical potential, phase transitions, chemical reactions – particularly those in batteries and fuel cells are all explored. This course includes a project, in which students will work together in groups, that will form part of the assessment.

12 week course - 2 one-hour lectures and 1 hour tutorial per week (to be arranged).

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour written examination (75%) and in-course assessment (25%).

Resit: 1 two-hour written examination (75%) and in-course assessment (25%).

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

PX 3510
ADVANCED PRACTICAL PHYSICS
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr N Strachan

Pre-requisite(s): PX 2505 recommended.

This course consists of a series of practical classes linked to third year lecture courses and expanding on the material taught in the previous years. Experiments will cover optics, properties of matter and computer modelling and will introduce applications as well as reinforcing the principles of Physics. The course will also introduce topics that will be covered more formally later in the Honours programme.

12 week course, 2 three-hour laboratories per week.

1st Attempt: In-course assessment (100%): Laboratory book, written report (approximately 6 typed pages), oral examination.

Resit: Resubmission of book/report.

Only the marks obtained on the first attempt can be used for Honours classification.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Lab notebooks will be marked and returned after completion of experiment.

Written report and oral mark will be returned with written comments.

Formative feedback for in-course assessments will be provided in written form.
Additionally, formative feedback on performance will be provided informally during practical sessions.

Students will receive regular written feedback on each lab report before the start of the next practical class.

Feedback for in-course assessments will be provided in written and verbal form (eg. discussion of oral presentation and write up of lab book).

Lab demonstrator will engage with students at a one to one level during the experimental work providing feedback on progress.

PX 3511
QUANTUM MECHANICS
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr E Ullner

Pre-requisite(s): PX 2510

Note(s): This course builds on PX 2510 to evaluate the eigenstates various systems including atomic systems. The mathematics of the uncertainty principle, expectation values, states, spin, probability and probability currents is formalized and time independent perturbation theory is explained.

The content reflects the learning outcomes of the course:

General ideas:

  • Operators, eigenstates, eigenvalues.

  • The TDSE and the TISE.

  • The statistical interpretation of the wavefunction.
  • Superposition.

  • Expectation value of a dynamical variable.

  • Solutions of the TISESquare wells.

  • Barriers.

  • 1-D SHO.

  • Hydrogen atom.

  • Electron wave functions for the H atom.

  • The quantum numbers n, m.

  • Spherical harmonics.

  • Radial probability densities.

  • Spin states.

  • The intrinsic spin of the electron.

  • Perturbation theory.

3 one-hour lectures per week, one of which will contain tutorial material.

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour examination (75%) Continuous assessment (25%) - three class tests.

Resit: Same as above, with the continuous assessments carried forward. Only the marks obtained at the first attempt can count towards Honours classification.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

By dialogue with the lecturer in class and by problem classes.

Immediately with problem classes and within two weeks (usually one) for class tests.

 

> Level 4

PLEASE NOTE: Resit: (for Honours students only): Candidates achieving a CAS mark of 6-8 may be awarded compensatory level 1 credit. Candidates achieving a CAS mark of less than 6 will be required to submit themselves for re-assessment and should contact the Course Co-ordinator for further details.

PX 4007
CASE STUDIES IN THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr R MacPherson

Pre-requisite(s): Two year 3 courses in the Physical Sciences or Engineering (Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Engineering).

Note(s): Topics will vary from year to year depending on staff availability.

The course follows a tutored self-learning approach, with the class working in groups of four to five students.

The topics for the studies are given at the start of the course. After an initial expert presentation (often given by someone external to the department), the groups are given a real-world problem to work on and research. There can be two tutor-led meetings per week (this is up to the students), and the tutor acts as a facilitator, not as a teacher. The tutor also observes the dynamics of each group.

At the start of the course there is a session on group working. This allows time to explore the advantages and disadvantages of teamwork before the assessed parts begin.

Teams are rotated between tasks, and part of the feedback on the previous task is given before the next one begins.

One group-working session (2 hour) followed by 2 group sessions (by arrangement) per week.

1st Attempt: Continuous assessment (100%), covering two studies (40/60%) and broken down into individual and group components.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Initial workshop on team working skills gives feedback individually on role-preferences. Group sessions will receive formative feedback from the facilitator as each study progresses, together with continual guidance in person and by e-mail.

Group sessions will receive formative feedback from the facilitator as each study progresses, together with continual guidance in person and by e-mail.

Summative assessment will be provided as a mark with written comments on the team performance. Oral feedback on the presentations will be given by the facilitator at a timetabled feedback session.

PX 4010
APPLIED OPTICS
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr G M Dunn

Pre-requisite(s): PX 2013

Note(s): This course will not be available in 2012/13.

The course contains sections on:

  • the nature and origins of light.

  • amplification of light and laser action.

  • solid state, gas and semiconductor lasers.

  • laser design.

  • light detection.

  • imaging detectors.
  • radiometry and light coupling.

  • industrial applications such as optical communications, optical fibre sensing, holography and materials processing.

The project work may take the form of investigative work of scholarship, participation in practical work, design work and other activity related to the lecture content.

12 week course - 2 one-hour lectures per week, 6 one-hour tutorials, project meetings as required.

1st Attempt: 1 three-hour written paper (66.7%) and in-course assessment (33.3%).

Resit: 1 three-hour written paper (66.7%) and in-course assessment (33.3%).

Only the marks obtained at the first attempt can be used for Honours classification.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

During tutorials by interaction with the lecturer.

Will be immediate during tutorial sessions or within in two work for submitted work.

PX 4011
PROJECT A
CREDIT POINTS 30

Course Co-ordinator: Dr N Strachan and Dr J Skakle

Pre-requisite(s): None.

Note(s): (i) This course runs across both half-sessions. (ii) Available only to students in programme year 4 of a Physics-related programme or with the permission of the Head of Physics.

This course consists of a supervised project taken as part of an Honours Degree in Physics which provides experience of investigating a real problem in physics, or its application, or in a related discipline, or in applied mathematics. Projects may be carried out within the University or in an external organisation. Presentation of the results obtained is an integral part of the investigation.

Regular project guidance sessions with supervisor (24 weekly meetings at 1 hour per week).

1st Attempt: In-course assessment (100%), consisting of an oral presentation (10%), a thesis (60%), supervisor's report on the work (10%)and oral examination (20%).

Resit: Resubmission of in-course assessment.

Only the marks obtained on the first attempt can be used for Honours classification.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Formative assessment is given informally at the weekly project guidance sessions.

Formative assessment is also given after the oral presentation.

Feedback is given on the oral presentation by both a CAS mark and written comments. The presentation may also be discussed verbally with the student.

The student gets informal feedback on progress during the weekly supervisory sessions.

The student has the opportunity to generate a draft of the thesis prior to submission for review by the supervisor who provides written comments typically inked onto the draft.

PX 4012
STATISTICAL PHYSICS AND STOCHASTIC SYSTEMS
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: F Ginelli

Pre-requisite(s): For Physics students: PX 3012, PX 3508 and PX 3509. For Applied Mathematics: Completion of second year.

A reminder of thermodynamics
The applications of statistical mechanics to solids is explored in the areas of defects, magnetism (magnetisation, phase transitions, magnetic cooling and thermometry), fermion systems (conduction electrons and semiconductor junctions), boson systems (phonons, Bose-Einstein condensation, superconductivity, superfluidity).
Principles of classical statistical mechanics. Ergodic hypothesis and microcanonical ensemble. Canonical ensemble and Detailed balance. Partition function and thermodynamic quantities. Equipartition of Energy. Perfect gas and Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. Ferromagnetic systems and the order disorder phase transition. Grand canonical ensemble and chemical potentials. Bose-Einstein statistics and blackbody radiation. Fermi-Dirac statistics and Fermi gas
Stochastic processes. Markov processes. Master equation. Fokker Plank equation. Correlation Functions. Wiener process and Langevin equation. Pseudo-random numbers. Percolation processes. Directed Percolation. Growing interfaces.

Two lectures and one tutorial per week.

1st Attempt: Final examination (75%) and continuous assessment exercises (25%).

Resit: Examination (100%).

Only the marks obtained on the first attempt can count towards Honours classification.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

By means of class tutorials and dialogue with the lecturer.

Feedback on assessments will be given within two weeks or receipt and immediately during classroom exercises.

PX 4510
STRUCTURE OF MATTER AND THE UNIVERSE
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr G .M. Dunn

Pre-requisite(s): PX 3509

Note(s): The first part of the course covers the foundations of theoretical physics: Lagrangians, perturbation theory and group theory. Lagrangians are then used to understand classical field theory and solve the Klein Gordon and Dirac equations. The gravitational field is then explained in terms of curved spacetime. Quantum field theories (such as Quantum electrodynamics) are then examined in terms of exchange particles using perturbation theory. Gauge theories, the idea of an internal space and isospin are then introduced together with the classification of particles and exchange particles according to their symmetries. Yangs Mills SU(2) theory and the concept of quarks and Gell-Mann SU(3) theory is used to explain the families of baryons and mesons. Finally, string field theories are introduced. The second half of the course covers astrophysics, addressing the topics of the evolution of the universe, galaxies, observed properties of stars, star formation and evolution and planet formation.

Course content reflects the learning outcomes:

  • Lagrangian description of fields, Concepts in group theory, definition of a group, irreducible representations, theory of (quantum mechanical) time independent and time dependent perturbation theory.

  • Semi-quantitative explanation of the ideas behind general relativity.

  • The 3 types of basic particle interactions: strong, weak and electromagnetic (derivations of using perturbation theory and Lagrangian densities).

  • The roles of conservation laws in particle interactions and the idea of gauge invariance (symmetry properties of I-space).

  • The current status of the Standard Model SU(2), SU(3).

  • The main ideas behind modern theories of everything, string theory and supersymmetry.

  • The formation and evolution of the Universe.

  • The formation and evolution of Galaxies.

  • The formation evolution and structure of stars.

  • The various evolutionary possibilities for stars of different mass.

  • The formation and types of planets and planetary systems.

3 one-hour lectures a week with problems at the end of each section (see above).

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour written paper (70%) and in-course assessment (30%) - two class tests.

Resit: As above with the continuous assessment carried forward.

Only the marks obtained on the first attempt can be used for Honours classification.

Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

Formative assessment will be by means of dialogue with the lecturer and particularly in the problem classes.

Feedback will be immediate during the problem classes and within two weeks (usually one) for the summative class tests.

PX 4512
NUCLEAR PHYSICS & MEDICAL APPLICATIONS
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr A de Moura

Pre-requisite(s): 30 credit points of level 2 PX courses.

Note(s): This course will not run in 2012/13.

Nuclear models, nuclear shells and magic numbers; radioactive decay; fission, fusion, nuclear reactions and reactors; production of radionuclides; reactors, linear accelerators and cyclotrons; radiation protection; the interaction of radiation with human tissue, the measurement of radiation dose, legislation and relative hazards; radioactivity and x-rays for clinical imaging; the x-ray set; nuclear medicine; the gamma camera, radiopharmaceuticals, simple clinical applications; radiation for therapy; x-and gamma-ray therapy, implants, equipment, measuring dose, planning dose delivery - basic concepts.

12 week course - 2 one-hour lectures per week, 1 one-hour seminar/tutorial per week.

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour written examination paper (75%) and in-course assessment (25%).

PX 4513
ADVANCED MODERN PHYSICS
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr C Wang

Pre-requisite(s): PX 2510 or PX 2512 or by permission of Head of Physics.

  • Special relativity:Constancy of the speed of light, mass-energy-momentum relation, time dilation and length contraction.

  • Particle physics: Standard model, fermions, bosons, elementary particles and fundamental forces.

  • General relativity: Universality of free fall, equivalence principle, curved geometry, geodesics, gravitational red shift, cosmological models, gravitational waves.

  • (Relevant mathematical tools will be taught during the course).
  • 3 one-hour classes per week, including 8 tutorials overall.

    1st Attempt: 1 two-hour written examination (70%) and in-course assessment (30%).

    Resit: 1 two-hour written examination (70%) and in-course assessment (30%).

    Only the marks obtained on the first attempt can be used for Honours classification.

    Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

    Tutorial sheets.

    Oral feedback during tutorials and marking of tutorial work.

    PX 4514
    MODELLING THEORY
    CREDIT POINTS 15

    Course Co-ordinator: Dr M Thiel

    Pre-requisite(s): Level 3 in Engineering, Physics or Mathematics.

    Note(s): Physical Sciences intend to describe natural phenomena in mathematical terms. This course bridges the gap between standard courses in physical sciences, where successful mathematical models are described, and scientific research, where new mathematical models have to be developed. Students will learn the art of mathematical modelling, which will enable them to develop new mathematical models for the description of natural systems. Examples from a wide range of phenomena will be discussed, eg. from biology, ecology, engineering, physics, physiology and psychology. A focus will be the critical interpretation of the mathematical models and their predictions. The applicability of the models will be assessed and their use for the respective branch of the natural sciences will be discussed.

    The course content reflects the learning outcomes and contains the material for the students to realize these. This course bridges the gap between standard courses in physical sciences, where successful mathematical models are described, and scientific research, where new mathematical models have to be developed. Students will learn the art of mathematical modelling, which will enable them to develop new mathematical models for the description of natural systems. Examples from a wide range of phenomena will be discussed, eg. from biology, ecology, engineering, physics, physiology and psychology.
    A focus will be the critical interpretation of the mathematical models and their predictions. The applicability of the models will be assessed and their use for the respective branch of the natural sciences will be discussed.

    2 one-hour lectures, 1 one-hour computer lab/lecture, and 1 one-hour tutorial per week.

    1st attempt: Continuous assessment (assignments & projects (80%); oral exam (20%)). 6 to 7 in course assessments (solutions to be presented on the board during tutorials), one presentation of the project, a four page manuscript using LaTeX in the style of PRL.

    Resit: Mini modelling project (80%) and oral exam (20%).
    Only the marks obtained at the first attempt can count towards Honours classification.

    Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

    Formative assessment will be by means of a continuous dialogue with the lecturer and interaction with the same during the problem solving exercises and the developement of models.

    Due to the nature of the (primarily) continuous assessment of the course - summative assessment will be on a continuous ongoing basis as project work is marked.

    PX 4515
    PROJECT B
    CREDIT POINTS 15

    Course Co-ordinator: Dr N Strachan

    Pre-requisite(s): None.

    Note(s): Available only to students in programme year 4.

    This course is normally available only to students registered for the MPhys and Physics-Education degrees but also, in special circumstances, to BSc students by permission of the Head of Physics.

    Consists of a supervised project which provides experience of investigating a real problem in physics, or its application, or in a related discipline, or in applied mathematics. Presenting the results obtained is an integral part of the investigation.

    Introductory session plus (typically) 12 one-hour supervisory sessions.

    1st Attempt: In-course assessment (100%) consisting of a progress report of approximately 500 words (10%), a thesis of approximately 5,000 words (60%), a supervisor's report on the work (10%) and an oral examination (20%).

    Resit: In-course assessment (80%) and oral examination (20%).

    Only the marks obtained on the first attempt can be used for Honours classification.

    Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

    Formative assessment is given informally at the weekly project guidance sessions.

    Formative assessment is also given after the oral presentation.

    Feedback is given on the oral presentation by both a CAS mark and written comments. The presentation may also be discussed verbally with the student.

    The student gets informal feedback on progress during the weekly supervisory sessions.
    The student has the opportunity to generate a draft of the thesis prior to submission for review by the supervisor who provides written comments typically inked onto the draft.

    PX 4516
    NUCLEAR AND SEMICONDUCTOR PHYSICS
    CREDIT POINTS 15

    Course Co-ordinator: Dr G.M Dunn

    Pre-requisite(s): PX 3012, PX 2508, PX 3509

    The course will develop the basic ideas of band theory, followed by the development of semiconductor physics which builds on both Boltzmann and Fermi-Dirac statistics. The underlying concepts in semiconductor physics will develop from the movement of charge in solids, number densities of charge carriers, equilibrium then non-equilibrium semiconductors and will conclude with consolidation of these ideas through their application in the pn junction diode and other devices. In the second half, Nuclear models, nuclear shells and magic numbers: radioactive decay, fission, fusion, nuclear reactions and types of reactors: production of radionuclides: reactors, linear accelerators and cyclotrons will be covered.

    Two lectures and one tutorial per week.

    1st Attempt: 1 two-hour examination (75%) and (25%) continuous assessment.

    Resit: 1 two-hour examination (100%).

    Only marks obtained at the first attempt can count towards Honours classification.

    Formative Assessment and Feedback Information

    Students progress will be assessed in the weekly tutorial sessions.

    Feedback in assessments will be within two weeks (usually one week) for written assessments and immediately in formative tutorial tasks.

     

    > Level 5
    PX 5001
    PROJECT IN MODELLING COMPLEX SYSTEMS
    CREDIT POINTS 45

    Course Co-ordinator: To be advised

    Pre-requisite(s): None.

    Note(s): This course runs across both half-sessions. Available only to students in Programme Year 5.

    This course consists of a supervised 24 week project taken as part of an MPhys degree in Physics which provides experience of investigating a real problem in systems modelling in physics, or its application in another discipline.

    Projects may be carried out within Physics or in another discipline. Presentation of the results obtained is an integral part of the investigation.

    24 week course - regular project guidance sessions. For example, 24 weekly meetings at 1 hour per week.

    1st Attempt: In-course assessment (100%).

    PX 5003
    MODELLING THEORY
    CREDIT POINTS 15

    Course Co-ordinator: Dr M Thiel

    Pre-requisite(s): PX 4009, PX 4505, PX 4514, MX 4536 and permission of Head of School.

    Note(s): Available to candidates accepted for the MPhys programme.

    Physical Scientists tend to describe natural phenomena in mathematical terms. This course bridges the gap between standard courses in physical sciences, where successful mathematical models are described, and scientific research, where new mathematical models have to be developed. Students will learn the art of the mathematical modelling, which will enable them to develop new mathematical models for the description of natural systems. Examples from a wide range of phenomena will be discussed, eg. from biology, ecology, engineering, physics, physiology and psychology.

    A focus will be critical interpretation of the mathematical models and their predictions. The applicability of the models will be assessed and their use for the respective branch of the natural sciences will be discussed.

    2 one-hour lectures, 1 one-hour computer lab/lecture, and 1 one-hour tutorial per week.

    1st Attempt: 1 two-hour written examination (40%); continuous assessment (60%).

    PX 5004
    FUNDAMENTALS OF APPLIED MODELLING
    CREDIT POINTS 15

    Course Co-ordinator: Dr I Stansfield

    Pre-requisite(s): PX 4009, PX 4505, PX 4514, MX 4536 and permission of Head of School.

    Co-requisite(s): Non-linear Dynamics I.

    Note(s): Available to candidates accepted for the MPhys programme.

    This module will build use a series of tutorials and workshops to first engender understanding of a particular biological systems, and then study models of that system. Tutorials will use a mix of discussion and study of the literature to facilitate understanding of a biological system. Self-directed study will be an important part of the tutorial preparation process. During the workshops, some models will be provided for dissection and discussion, in other cases students will model particular systems themselves. Modelling will be carried out using MatLab. The course will be assessed using continuous assessment through write-ups of the workshop modelling exercises.

    1 one-hour lecture, six 1˝ hour tutorials, 4 three-hour modelling workshops.

    1st Attempt: Continuous assessment (100%).