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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
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryWe 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.
Course description Not entered
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.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 32, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 66 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Degree Examination, 100%
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will 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; 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; apply these results to simple examples.
  2. Describe the free electromagnetic field in terms of SHM modes; by comparison with quantized SHM, describe the properties of photons; 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; (with guidance) derive the dipole transition rate and outline those for magnetic dipole and electric quadrupole.
  3. Be able to calculate intensity and flux density from a uniform source in terms of density, temperature, transition rates and collision cross sections.
  4. 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.
  5. 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; apply these techniques to predict and interpret observational results in a variety of simple cases involving line emission and absorption.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserProf Andy Taylor
Tel: (0131) 668 8386
Course secretaryMiss Stephanie Blakey
Tel: (0131 6)68 8261
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