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

Undergraduate Course: Radiation and Matter (PHYS11020)

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 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaUndergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionWe start by learning the physics of radiation and its quantal interaction with matter, then go on to study this interaction in various astrophysical environments to define the nature and limitations of observation. Finally we apply these techniques to several important and characteristic astronomical observations, such as the 21cm radiation of atomic hydrogen used to weigh galaxies, the carbon monoxide emission used to map star nurseries, and the hydrogen Lyman alpha line forest used to determine the distribution of galaxy-forming matter throughout the Universe.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed High Energy Astrophysics (PHYS11013)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements At least 80 credit points accrued in courses of SCQF Level 9 or 10 drawn from Schedule Q.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2014/15 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 12/01/2015
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 74 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Radiation and Matter2:00
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
1)write Maxwell's equations, demonstrate that these can be expressed gauge covariant potentials; show that they lead to definitions of energy density and flux in the radiation field, outline derive the wave equation for the potential;
2)write the solution to the wave equation, demonstrate that in the wave zone it consists of spherical waves with 1/r amplitude dependence and speed c, and give the explicit results for point charges from which field and flux are derived;
3)apply these results to simple examples;
4)describe the free electromagnetic field in terms of SHM modes;
5)by comparison with quantized SHM, describe the properties of photons;
6)describe the nature of gauge invariance in wave functions and electromagnetism, and hence derive the interaction Hamiltonian; use Fermi's golden rule to give the transition rate;
7)(with guidance) derive the dipole transition rate and outline those for magnetic dipole and electric quadrupole;
8)be able to calculate intensity and flux density from a uniform source in terms of its density and temperature, and of the transition rates and collision cross sections;
9)be able to calculate and explain the appearance of emission and absoption lines in terms of optical depth and the above local physical properties of the source;
10)understand and be able to derive in outline a variety of astronomically important examples of line emission and absorption - in particular the Lyman alpha and 21cm lines of H, the rotational emission from CO and the diagnostics of temperature and density obtainable from fine structure transitions in oxygen (and other) ions;
11)be able to apply these techniques to predict and interpret observational results in a variety of simple cases involving line emission and absorption.
Assessment Information
Degree Examination, 100%
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiserProf James Dunlop
Tel: (0131) 668 8349
Course secretaryMiss Paula Wilkie
Tel: (0131) 668 8403
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