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PYU11T20 Physics for Theoretical Physics

Semester 2 HT – lectures, practical laboratory, online & small group tutorials – 10 credits
(J Groh, P. Eastham, A. Vidotto)

Electricity and Magnetism I – 20 lectures
Quantum Physics – 18 lectures
Gravitation and Astrophysics – 12 lectures

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

  • Solve steady state time-varying electric current and electric potential problems
  • Solve electrostatic problems using Gaussian Surfaces
  • Show an understanding of the principles and origins of quantum mechanics, and its role in the physics of matter and radiation.
  • Solve elementary problems in quantum mechanics
  • Develop the ideas of Newton’s Law of Gravitation, with an emphasis on it being an inverse-square law
  • Describe observational insights into the structure and evolution of the universe.


Electricity and Magnetism I– 20 lectures
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 – 18 lectures
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.

Gravitation and Astrophysics – 12 lectures
Motion of the planets: early models of the solar system, Newton's law of gravitation, gravitational potential energy, motion of satellites, Kepler's laws and the motion of planets (derivation of the orbit equation, conservation of angular momentum, properties of the ellipse), apparent weight and the earth's rotation, escape velocity.  Our solar system - the planets: physical properties, composition, terrestrial planets, gas giants. Extrasolar planets: detection methods. Observing the universe: refracting telescopes, reflecting telescopes, space telescopes, radio observations. The Sun: physical properties, solar interior, solar surface and atmosphere. Stars: constellations, magnitudes, distances, size of stars, the Hertzprung-Russell Diagram, introduction to stellar evolution. Galaxies: the Milky Way, other galaxies, dark matter. Origin and evolution of the universe: the expansion of the universe, age of the universe, big bang models, cosmic microwave background.





Laboratory Practical work 


Online tutorials