THE UNIVERSITY of EDINBURGH
DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2009/2010
Physics 2A: Forces, Fields & Potentials (U00545)
This course provides an introduction to classical dynamics, special relativity, electromagnetism and geometric optics, at a somewhat more advanced level than the companion foundation course Physics 1A. It serves both as a preparation for further study in physics-based degree programmes, and as a stand-alone course for students of other disciplines, including mathematics, chemistry, computer science and engineering. The course is supported by a programme of tutorial workshops and includes an introductory module on Java programming and data analysis.
? Pre-requisites : Physics 1A: Foundations (PHY-1-A), Physics 1B: The Stuff of the Universe (PHY-1-B) and Mathematics for Physical Science (Year 1) or specialist courses in Mathematics (Year 1); alternatively SCE Advanced Higher or A-level Physics and Mathematics at A-grade.
Home subject area
? Normal year taken : 2nd year
? Contact Teaching Time : 8 hour(s) per week for 11 weeks
First Class Information
All of the following classes
1 of the following 3 classes
1 of the following 4 classes
? Additional Class Information : Tutorial workshops two hours per week, as arranged. Laboratory sessions three hours per week, as arranged.
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, it is intended that a student will understand
- Maxwell's Laws of classical electromagnetism in integral form;
- the role of the field; that static charges give rise to an electric field, and that moving charges give rise to magnetic fields;
- that electric fields can be described as a derivative of electric potential, and that electric potential as a scalar quantity provides a useful tool for attacking problems;
- the role of symmetry in simplifying a problem;
- the notions of a volume, surface and linear charge density, and know how to apply the principle of superposition of fields to calculate fields due to continuous charge distributions;
- that changing magnetic fields produce electric fields (Faraday's Law) and that changing electric fields produce a magnetic field (Ampere-Maxwell Law);
- that magnetic fields can be viewed as a relativistic phenomenon, based on a unified electromagnetic field;
- the two basic postulates of Special Relativity;
- the phenomena of time dilation and Lorentz contraction;
- that the notion of simultaneity depends on the reference frame;
- relativistic velocities transformation, linear momentum, and total and kinetic energy;
- that in the low speed limit relativistic results correspond to classical Newtonian physics;
- what is meant a rest mass energy.
- geometric optics using Gaussian lens formula and matrix ray methods
- basic optical systems, including the human eye, magnifier, telescope, microscope; concepts of optical aberrations and their control.
Other course elements: the Data Analysis course will give the ability to manipulate, plot and fit, in a linear form, with error bars, data using spreadsheet software. The Java component will explain the practical utility of computation for solving physical problems and construct Java programs using variables, control structures and supplied routines to model simple physical systems.
Weekly assignments, 10%
Computing and data analysis, 20%
Degree Examination, 70%
Contact and Further Information
The Course Secretary should be the first point of contact for all enquiries.
Mrs Linda Grieve
Dr Alex Murphy
School Website : http://www.ph.ed.ac.uk/
College Website : http://www.scieng.ed.ac.uk/