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Teaching Material

Lecture outlines and sample questions (Subject to change)

General References:
Class lecture notes and general physics texts provide background. In addition, the hyperphysics website provides some useful notes.


(Hilary term - 12 lectures)

Photoelectric effect, wave-particle duality, Bohr model, de Broglie hypothesis, electron diffraction, uncertainty principle. Nuclear Physics: isotopes, radioactivity, half-life, fission, fusion, nuclear safety, nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors.

The period between the mid-19th. century and mid-20th. century when rapid growth in our knowledge of the small-scale world of the atom and the nucleus will be examined under the various syllabus headings. Practical examples of the application of these ideas will be discussed where possible.

Aside from the lecture notes given in class, and the recommended text for this course ("College Physics" (with PhysicsNow), by Raymond A. Serway, Jerry S. Faughn, Chris Vuille, Charles A. Bennett, Thomson - Brooks/Cole, 7th edn. - also described as Serway's College Physics) the following provide some additional information:


(Trinity term - 12 lectures)

Basic astronomical definitions. The Earth and Moon in space; co-ordinate systems. The Sun and stars, basic stellar information (distance, luminosity, life cycle). Life and death of stars. Supporting information for lecture course


(Trinty term - 8 lectures)

Spectra of different categories of object (nebulae, stars, galaxies, and quasars); the instrumental and observational requirements for their study. The theoretical background, including spectral line production and radiation transfer; optical depth, line broadening, equivalent width and column density; curve-of-growth techniques. Practical examples which demonstrate applications of these basic tools of astrophysical analysis to the determination of physical characteristics. The physics underlying the basis of the stellar spectral classification system, and for the diagnosis of low density plasmas.

Spectroscopy across the full electromagnetic spectrum is the primary means for determining the properties and characteristics of astronomical objects. Some important parameters which characterize astronomical spectra, and which determine the choice of instrumentation are reviewed, with a brief outline of some examples. The underlying physics required for the interpretation of stellar spectra (for stellar classification) and for the diagnostics of low density plasmas is discussed and applied to some specific, topical examples. Supporting information for lecture course

"To teach is to learn twice." - Joseph Joubert