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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Physics 1B: The Stuff of the Universe (PHYS08017)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaUndergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy) Other subject areaNone
Course website Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe course begins with the classical models of particles and waves and their relationship to the physical world of atoms and light. Quantum physics is introduced through the idea of wave/particle duality, in a largely non-mathematical way. The uncertainty principle, Schrodinger's cat and quantum tunnelling are discussed. The hydrogen atom, and then more complex atoms are considered illustrating the role of quantum effects such as the Pauli exclusion principle which is seen to underly the structure of the periodic table. The phases of matter are discussed and quantum effects are used to explain ordinary conductivity and superconductivity. Matter is explored at the nuclear and elementary particle scales. At large scales the behaviour of stars and of the big-bang are related to the fundamental properties of matter.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements SCE Higher Grade Physics and Mathematics (at Grade A or higher) or equivalent.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  303
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Class Delivery Information Laboratory sessions three hours per week, as arranged. Tutorials one hour per week, as arranged.
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 33, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 30, Online Activities 11, Summative Assessment Hours 15, Revision Session Hours 6, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 91 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 20 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Physics 1B: The Stuff of the Universe2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)Physics 1B: The Stuff of the Universe2:00
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, it is intended that a student will be able to:

i) demonstrate a general appreciation for the microscopic origin of many everyday macroscopic phenomena, for example pressure and temperature
ii) demonstrate a general understanding of light in terms of atomic transitions, including atomic spectra, lasers and fluorescence/phosphorescence.
iii) describe wave phenomena using appropriate terminology and formulae, for example in the situations of wave propagation, diffraction and interference
iv) demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics, specifically including wave-particle duality, the photoelectric effect, two-slit experiments, the role of the observer and quantum tunnelling.
v) determine basic parameters associated with a variety of simple potential wells.
vi) demonstrate the significance of the Pauli Exclusion Principle, especially in relation to an understanding of the Periodic Table of Elements and chemical properties.
vii) demonstrate a basic understanding of the band theory of crystalline solids, exploring applications such as semiconductors and superconductors.
viii) demonstrate basic knowledge of nuclear and particle physics; radioactive decay, the standard model and neutrinos.
ix) demonstrate a reasonable understanding of modern cosmology, including the Big Bang theory , stellar evolution, cosmic expansion, dark matter, and the ultimate fate of the Universe.
x) show competence in a scientific laboratory.
xi) show an understanding for the various sources of uncertainty incurred in making any experimental measurement. Furthermore, they should be able to estimate such experimental errors and be able to reasonably determine the incurred uncertainty in a derived quantity.
xii) communicate scientific concepts in a written format
Assessment Information
Degree Examination, 60%
Laboratory, 20%
Coursework, 20%
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Part I: Particles, Waves and Quanta

1. The Classical Particle Picture
- Brownian motion. Monatomic gases. Avogadro's number. Pressure. The Ideal Gas Law.
- Temperature. Mean free path and rms velocity. Kinetic Energy and Heat. The Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.
- Heat Capacity of a monatomic gas. Molecular gases. Rotational and vibrational modes. Equipartition of energy.

2. The Classical Wave Picture
- Introduction to waves.
- Sound Waves. Velocity of sound. Relationship to properties of matter.
- Light. Spectrum of Electromagnetic waves. Velocity of light in a vacuum. Wave-fronts and Huygens' Principle.
- Superposition of waves. Interference. Phase difference.
- Diffraction by a single slit. Young's double slits. Diffraction grating. X-ray diffraction.

3. The Quantum World
- The Photoelectric Effect. Planck's constant. The Photon. Quantisation of Energy.
- Diffraction of electrons. Diffraction of neutrons and atoms. The de Broglie wavelength.
- Wave particle duality. The wavefunction. Wave packets. The uncertainty principle.
- The probability density interpretation of the wavefunction. Schrödinger's cat. The role of the observer. The quantum interpretation of the double slit experiment.

Part II: Atoms, Molecules and Solids

1. Elementary Quantum Mechanics
- Schrödinger's equation. Solutions for a free particle, and a particle in a box.
- Potential wells. Energy levels in an infinite well and in a harmonic well.
- Effect of a step potential. The finite barrier. Quantum tunnelling.

2. The Hydrogen Atom
- A review of classical circular orbits. The Bohr model. Energy dependence of radius. Limitation of classical picture.
- Quantisation of angular momentum and energy. Electron spin. Wave functions and probability distributions. Energy levels.
- Absorption and emission of photons. Bohr frequency condition. Spectral lines for Hydrogen. Allowed and forbidden transitions. Line widths and lifetimes.

3. Complex Atoms and Molecules
-Multi-electron atoms. Energy level diagrams and spectral lines. The Pauli exclusion principle. Fermions and bosons. Orbitals. The periodic table of elements.
- Stimulated emission. Population inversion and amplification. The Helium-Neon laser.
- The hydrogen molecule. Splitting of single electron energy levels. The covalent bond. Brief discussion of other types of bonds.

4. The Solid State
- The phases of matter. Gases, liquids and solids. Crystalline and amorphous materials. Crystal structure.
- Energy bands. Insulators and metals. Filled and unfilled bands. The Fermi level. Conduction of electricity in metals.
- Semiconductors. Conduction and valence bands. Electrons and holes. Doping. The pn junction and the laser diode.
- Superfluid Helium. Bosons don't obey exclusion principle. Condensation into a collective ground state. Cooper pairs and superconductivity.

Part III: The Stuff of the Universe

1. The Atomic Nucleus
- Discovery of the nucleus. The nuclear scale. High energy electron scattering. The nucleon-nucleon interaction. Mass and Binding Energy (E=mc2).
- Radioactive decays: The radioactive decay law. Alpha, beta and gamma decays. Energy released in nuclear decays.
- Nuclear reactions: Nuclear instability, Nuclear fission (spontaneous and induced) and Nuclear fusion (nucleosynthesis and thermonuclear).

2. Elementary Particles
- Introduction to elementary particles. Quantum field theory. Antiparticles. The muon and pion. The particle explosion.
- The Standard Model. The eightfold way and quarks. Quantum chromodynamics. Quark confinement. Evidence for quarks. The weak interaction. Leptons. The fundamental forces.
- Conservation laws and particle decays: Crossing symmetry, conservation of charge, baryon number & lepton number. Strangeness. Particle decays and widths. Strength of the forces.

3. Matter in the Universe
- The expanding universe: Doppler effect, red-shift. Hubble's Law. The critical density.
- Dark matter. Dark energy. The cosmic microwave background. The Big Bang. Unification of forces.
Transferable skills Problem solving, group working, communication (written and verbal), time and resource management, gathering and organising information, creativity, practical and experimental skills, data analysis skills.
Reading list 'Principles of Physics' (Extended International Edition; 9th Edition, authors: Halliday, Resnick and Walker, publisher: Wiley)
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiserDr Ross Galloway
Course secretaryMs Dawn Hutcheon
Tel: (0131 6)50 7218
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