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Last modified: 16 Aug 2021 13:46

Course Overview

Did you ever wonder about the efficiency of different forms of renewable energy, the mechanisms behind the formation of double rainbows or efficient ways of counting the number of termites in a nest? This non-calculus course provides an excellent opportunity to understand the basic principles of physics necessary to answer these and many other questions relevant to multiple disciplines, ranging from geology to engineering to biology and environmental sciences.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Professor Jan Skakle

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

A physics course without calculus and minimal algebra requirements designed for science students of disciplines other than physics. It is comprised of lectures, tutorials and practical laboratory sessions.

The course covers topics from mechanics to radioactivity and teach the students how to answer simple questions such as :

Mechanics: How is our food intake related to our physical size?. What forces work in a rugby scrum?. How efficient are the different forms of renewable energy?

Properties of matter: How fragile are our bones?. How can we distinguish between a fake and a real piece of gold?

Heat and molecular kinetic theory: How do bodies regulate temperature?. How many molecules are there in a glass of beer?

Capillary action, diffusion and osmosis: How does the sap rise in trees?. How does a pond skater walk on water?

Electricity: What is the link between a shark and an electric field?. How do nerve cells transmit signals?

Optics: Why do diamonds sparkle?. How does a light microscope work?

Radioactivity: How can you determine the age of a mammoth?. How can radioactivity be used to treat cancer?

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Science Laboratory during University weeks 11 - 16
  • 1 Tutorial during University weeks 10 - 19

More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

First Attempt

30% Labs
30% Fortnightly Online Tests
25% Individual Assignment
15% Tutorial Quizzes and Engagement

Alternative Resit Arrangements for students taking course in Academic Year 2020/21

 Resubmission of failed elements (pass marks carried forward).

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

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