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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

Understanding oscillatory and wavelike behaviour is of huge importance in comprehending how our natural world works.  It seems that everything in nature has its own cycle, rhythm or oscillation.   From planets revolving around the sun to waves on the sea, even fundamental particles are treated as waves in modern physics.   Accessible to students with some knowledge of calculus, this course will explain the mathematics of this fascinating and important subject.  Methods of solving the differential equations that describe waves and oscillatory phenomena will be explored, including numerical techniques.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Alessandro Moura

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?

  • PX2014 Dynamical Phenomena (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

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.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

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

There are no assessments for this course.


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.

Course Learning Outcomes


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