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

Undergraduate Course: Modern Physics (PHYS08045)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course is designed for pre-honours physics students continuing from PH1. It provides an introduction to special relativity and quantum physics. 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, geosciences, computer science and engineering. The course consists of lectures to present new material, and workshops to develop understanding, familiarity and fluency.
Course description Modern Physics (20 lectures)

* Special Relativity
- Definition of inertial reference frames and invariance of speed of light (postulates of SR). Michelson Morley experiment. Role of the observer.
- Time dilation and Lorentz contraction. Events. Synchronisation. Moving clocks. Synchronised clocks in one frame viewed from another moving frame.
- Doppler (red shift) and its implications, the Lorentz factor, addition of velocities. Twins paradox. Rod and Shed paradox.
- Geometric formulation of SR (Minkowski Diagrams), and their relation to time dilation, Lorentz contraction, order of events, relativistic Doppler, world lines
- Momentum and relation to mass and energy as a relativistic property.

*Introduction to Quantum Physics
- Planck's radiation formula, Photoelectric effect, Einstein's photon theory
- Compton effect, De Broglie hypothesis, Correspondence Principle
- Bohr atom, atomic spectra
- Wavefunction, probability interpretation, Uncertainty Principle
- Time dependent Schrödinger equation, quantum mechanical operators
- Probability density function, outcomes of measurements
- Time independent Schrödinger equation, stationary states, eigenfunctions and eigenvalues, commutators
- Solutions of time independent Schrödinger equation for unbound states, reflection and transmission coefficients, quantum mechanical tunnelling
- Solutions of time independent Schrödinger equation for bound states, quantisation, zero point energy
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Physics 1A: Foundations (PHYS08016) AND ( Mathematics for Physics 2 (PHYS08036) OR Introduction to Linear Algebra (MATH08057) AND Calculus and its Applications (MATH08058))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 54 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 80 %, Coursework 20 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 20% Coursework
80% Examination
Feedback Feedback to students is provided in several ways including written feedback on returned weekly hand-ins, one-to-one discussion in workshops, in-lecture personal response questions and post-exam discussion sessions
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)1:45
Resit Exam Diet (August)1:45
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. State the basic principles of special relativity and elementary quantum mechanics, and the regimes in which the different theories apply.
  2. Apply these principles in conjunction with elementary mathematical techniques to solve simple problems.
  3. Present a solution to a physics problem in a clear and logical written form.
  4. Assess whether a solution to a given problem is physically reasonable.
  5. Locate and use additional sources of information (to include discussion with peers where appropriate) to facilitate independent problem-solving.
Learning Resources
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Lectures and workshops
Course organiserProf Franz Muheim
Tel: (0131 6)50 5235
Course secretaryMrs Jo Thorpe
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