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Last modified: 04 Jul 2017 09:23

Course Overview

In the 20th Century, Physics got strange, and this course sets out to explore the foundations of this modern approach. In Special Relativity we will look at the idea that time is not an absolute – that events can happen in different times for different observers – and explore the effects of travelling at close to the speed of light. The quantum mechanics section introduces some of the most exciting and dramatically successful science of all time, and discuss the evolution of this idea from the days of Schrodinger’s cat to quantum tunnelling.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Ekkehard Ullner
  • Dr Silke Henkes

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 2

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

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

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.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • BSc Computing Science and Physics
  • BSc Geology - Physics
  • BSc Mathematics-Physics
  • BSc Physical Sciences
  • BSc Physics
  • BSc Physics with Modern Languages
  • BSc Physics with Philosophy
  • MA Natural Philosophy
  • Master of Physics with Complex Systems Modelling
  • Physics Joint
  • Physics Major
  • Physics Minor

Contact Teaching Time

33 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt: In course continuous assesment (30%) and examination (70%).
Resit: The same as above, though in cases of poor continuous assessment students may resubmit work.

Formative Assessment

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.

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