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Physics - PY1P20/PY1N20/PY1T20

Hilary Term – lectures, practical laboratory, online & small group tutorials – 10 credits
(G Cross, J Pethica, P Gallagher)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Describe observational insights into the structure and evolution of the Universe
  • Solve steady state time-varying electric current and electric potential problems
  • Solve electrostatic problems using Gaussian Surfaces
  • Describe how physics of matter and radiation is underpinned by quantum physics


  • Examination (written paper) - 60%
  • Laboratory practical work - 30%
  • Online tutorials - 10%


Electricity and Magnetism I

Lecturers: Professor G. Cross
Duration: Hilary Term 20 lectures
Description: Electrostatics: electric charge, Coulomb's law, electric field, electric dipoles, Gauss's law, electric potential energy, voltage, electric polarization, capacitance, dielectrics, Electric current, resistance, Ohm's law, electromotive force, power in electric circuits, Kirchoff's laws, RC circuits.  Magnetism, magnetic field lines and flux; Lorentz force on moving charge; Energy of and torque on a current loop in a magnetic field; Biot-Savart Law illustrated by magnetic fields of a straight wire and circular loop; forces between current-carrying straight wires; Ampere’s Law in integral form.

Quantum Physics

Lecturers: Professor J. Pethica
Duration: Hilary Term 18 lectures
Description:Origins of quantum physics. Photoelectric effect. Compton Effect. De Broglie's Postulate. The Uncertainty Principle. Black body radiation and specific heat. Atomic spectra. Bohr model of the atom. Correspondence Principle. Steady-state Schrödinger equation. Particle in a 1-D box. Finite potential well. Simple harmonic oscillator. Particle at potential step. Tunnelling through a barrier. Angular momentum and spin. Quantum theory of Hydrogen atom. The periodic table. Formation of chemical bonds. Quantum information.

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Lecturers: Professor P Gallagher
Duration: Hilary Term 10 lectures
Description: Survey of the night sky; planets, exoplanets and extra-terrestrial life; properties of stars and galaxies; structure of the Universe and the Big Bang.