Undergraduate Course: Physics 1B: The Stuff of the Universe (PHYS08017)
Course Outline
School  School of Physics and Astronomy 
College  College of Science and Engineering 
Credit level (Normal year taken)  SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) 
Availability  Available to all students 
SCQF Credits  20 
ECTS Credits  10 
Summary  This is an introductorylevel course, giving an overview of a range of topics, including thermal physics, waves, elementary quantum mechanics, properties of matter, nuclear and particle physics, and astrophysics. The course is designed for those with qualifications in physics and mathematics at SCE Higher level or equivalent. It serves both as a preparation for further study in physicsbased degree courses, and as a standalone course for students of other disciplines, including (but not limited to) mathematics, chemistry, computer science and engineering. The course includes an experimental laboratory element, Experimental Physics 1. 
Course description 
Part I: Waves & Optics
1. Classical Waves & Optics
 Introduction to waves.
 Sound Waves. Velocity of waves and medium properties.
 Light. Spectrum of Electromagnetic waves. Velocity of light in a vacuum and media.
 Superposition of waves.
2. Geometric optics
 Wavefronts. Rays. Fermat's Principle.
 Reflection, refraction
 Lenses. Real and virtual images. Image conditions
 Multiple lenses. Optical instruments: telscopes and microscopes.
3. Interference and diffraction
 Interference. Phase differences.
 Diffraction by a single slit. Young's double slits. Diffraction gratings. Xray diffraction.
Part II: Atoms, Molecules and Solids
1. 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. SchrÃ¶dinger's cat. The role of the observer. The quantum interpretation of the double slit experiment.
2. Elementary Quantum Mechanics
 SchrÃ¶dinger'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.
3. 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.
4. Complex Atoms and Molecules
Multielectron 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 HeliumNeon laser.
 The hydrogen molecule. Splitting of single electron energy levels. The covalent bond. Brief discussion of other types of bonds.
5. 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. The nucleonnucleon interaction. Mass and Binding Energy.
 Radioactive decays: The radioactive decay law. Alpha, beta and gamma decays.
 Nuclear reactions: Nuclear stability, Nuclear fission (spontaneous and induced) and Nuclear fusion (nucleosynthesis and thermonuclear).
2. Elementary Particles
 Introduction to elementary particles. Basic methods. The muon and pion. Exchange theory of forces.
 The particle explosion. Categorising the particles. Evidence for quarks. The Standard Model.
 Annihilation and pair production. Conservation laws. Feynman diagrams. The fundamental forces.
3. Matter in the Universe
 The expanding universe: Doppler effect, redshift. Hubble's Law. The critical density.
 Origin of the elements. Big bang nucleosynthesis. Stellar nucleosynthesis.
 Dark matter. Dark energy. Links between particle physics and astrophysics. GUTs and TOEs.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Prerequisites 

Corequisites  
Prohibited Combinations  
Other requirements  SCE Higher Grade Physics and Mathematics (at Grade A or higher) or equivalent. 
Information for Visiting Students
Prerequisites  None 
High Demand Course? 
Yes 
Course Delivery Information

Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1)

Quota: 320 
Course Start 
Semester 2 
Timetable 
Timetable 
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 )

Assessment (Further Info) 
Written Exam
60 %,
Coursework
20 %,
Practical Exam
20 %

Additional Information (Assessment) 
Degree Examination, 60%
Laboratory, 20%
Coursework, 20% 
Feedback 
Not entered 
Exam Information 
Exam Diet 
Paper Name 
Hours & Minutes 

Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)   2:00   Resit Exam Diet (August)   2:00  
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of introductory physics topics.
 Solve problems in a range of introductory physics topics.
 Communicate physics ideas effectively through verbal, written, graphical and mathematical means.
 Demonstrate selforganised study skills.
 Demonstrate experimental, recordkeeping, data analysis and error analysis skills.

Reading List
'Principles of Physics' (International Version); 10th Edition; authors: Walker, Halliday, Resnick; publisher: Wiley. 
Additional Information
Course URL 
www.learn.ed.ac.uk 
Graduate Attributes and 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. 
Additional Class Delivery Information 
Laboratory sessions three hours per week, as arranged. Tutorials one hour per week, as arranged. 
Keywords  P1B 
Contacts
Course organiser  Prof Victoria Martin
Tel: (0131 6)51 7042
Email: victoria.martin@ed.ac.uk 
Course secretary  Mrs Catherine MacMillan
Tel:
Email: cmacmill@ed.ac.uk 

