Click the title of the module for a summary description

## Foundation year

Introduction to Modern Physics

Electricity and Atomic Physics

### First year

Professional Skills for Scientists

Introduction to Energy and Environment Physics

## Foundation year modules

The foundation year provides a firm grounding in the concepts, facts and techniques of physics.

**Introduction to Modern Physics**

Modern physics covers three fundamental topics - special relativity, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics. These often counter-intuitive and unusual fields underpin many of the new discoveries and technologies of the 20th and 21st centuries. In this module, students will learn a variety of key topics in modern physics, starting from special relativity, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics. Then we move to learn nuclear and particle physics, and cosmology.

### Mechanics and Materials

This module covers Newtonian mechanics including statics, linear and rotational dynamics. Forces and energy are covered, along with their role in the molecular structure of matter, properties of solids, liquids and gases. Students will also gain a foundational understanding of topics in thermodynamics. The emphasis is on physical understanding rather than mathematics.

**Fields and Waves **

This course considers the phenomena connected with gravity, electromagnetism, light and sound. It stresses the idea of describing natural phenomena by fields and the widespread occurrence of wave motion in various areas in physics.

**Electricity and Atomic Physics**

The course covers various aspects of electronics and their applications in logical devices. Electronics is demonstrated through laboratory and computer simulation sessions. The basic properties of the electron and the atomic view of the atom and the nucleus are discussed, including an account of radioactive decay and nuclear energy. There is a short introduction to quantum physics.

## First year modules

### Mathematical Techniques 1

This module equips students with fundamental mathematics needed to continue the study of physics and astronomy at university. The majority of the syllabus is calculus. There are a number of other key techniques covered including complex numbers and functions, differentiation, partial differentiation, series, integration, polar coordinates and multiple integration.

### Scientific Measurement

Practical work in the laboratory serves to illustrate basic concepts in physics, and the processes of carrying out experiments and interpreting their results. Students are taught techniques of measurement and the use of instruments and computers. There are some lectures on statistics and data analysis which are applied to the laboratory measurements. All assessment is by coursework and laboratory reports.

### Classical Physics

The aim of this course is to understand the physics of moving bodies in Newtonian space and time. It reviews the developments in human understanding of the laws of space, time and motion, from the seventeenth century to the present day.

Concepts include the conservation laws of energy, momentum and angular momentum which are applied to understanding the Coriolis force, gyroscopic motion and the movement of the planets.

### Professional Skills for Scientists

This module develops programming skills in Python that can easily be applied to problems in physics and astronomy as well as in industry. Students are equipped with some of the additional soft skills required to access jobs in these fields. The module covers several core concepts and useful tools in Python including:

- Variables, types and data structures - numbers, strings, lists, tuples and dictionaries
- Flow control: looping, conditional execution and branching
- Functions
- Using modules in Pytho
- Basic data visualisation with matplotlib
- Simple I/O - interacting with the console, reading and writing data to files
- Simple data analysis with matplotlib and related packages

### Electric and Magnetic Fields

An introduction to the basic laws of electromagnetism: electric force and field; electric potential and energy; capacitance; electromotive force; magnetic force and field; the Lorentz force; electromagnetic induction; mutual and self inductance; magnetic energy; Maxwell's equations; introduction to electromagnetic waves; applications in science and engineering.

### Mathematical Techniques 2

This module further advances students’ mathematical knowledge, developing specialist abilities that can be applied to the physical sciences. Topics include Complex numbers and hyperbolic functions. Polar and spherical coordinates and coordinate transformations. Multiple integrals. Line and surface integrals. Vector algebra. Vector calculus. The theorems of Gauss, Green and Stokes. Matrices. Determinants. Eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Fourier series and transforms including the convolution theorem. Differential equations. Computer algebra (Mathematica) is used in the practical classes to enable the students to learn a professional physicists approach to real problem-solving.

### Our Universe

The course is a broad survey of Astronomy aiming to acquaint students with the evolution of the universe and its constituents. A particular theme is the role played by the known laws of physics in understanding astronomical observation. In particular students will:

- Gain an understanding of the constituents of the observed universe
- Be able to explain the application of the laws of physics in designing observations, and in interpreting and understanding them
- Be able to explain the different types of information obtainable from observations across the entire electromagnetic spectrum from gamma rays to radio waves.

### Modern Physics

This module covers the dramatic developments in physics that occurred in the early twentieth century, introducing special and general relativity and quantum theory.

In relativistic mechanics we will study special relativity; the Lorentz transformation; length contraction and time dilation; the clock paradox; relativistic kinematics and dynamics; general relativity and its tests and consequences; and black holes and galactic lenses.

In quantum theory, we will study descriptions of the evidence for particle-like properties of waves, and wave-like properties of particles, followed by their consequences and their formal expression in physical law: topics include Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, Schrodinger's equation and elementary quantum mechanics.

### Introduction to Energy and Environment Physics

This module applies concepts and equations in physics to a variety of contemporary topics around the energy industry and the environment. The emphasis is on useful quantitative results from physics rather than detailed derivations.

Topics include the work of the United Nations IPCC on climate science issues, the political implications of climate science, natural energy sources and energy technologies.

Specific physics will include; first and second laws of thermodynamics, wind energy, solar energy, semiconductor physics relevant to solar cells, radioactivity, nuclear reactors and nuclear waste disposal.