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Module PY2T20 Modern Physics for Theoretical Physics

Cohort: SF Theoretical Physics

Credits: 10

This module combines four elements of modern physics as follows:

Chaos and Complexity

Lecturers: Professor S. Hutzler *Taking place in Michaelmas Term*

Duration: 12 lectures

Examples of chaotic systems, logistic map, period doubling, Feigenbaum numbers, Ljapunov exponent, phase portraits, iterated maps, fractals, self organised criticality, cellular automata dynamics of pedestrian motion.

Nuclear and Particle Physics

Lecturers: Dr M. Stamenova

Duration: Hilary Term, 14 lectures

Models of the atom. Rutherford scattering. Cross-sections. Nucleons. Nuclear force. Nuclear binding. Nuclear masses. Mass defect. Mass dependence of binding energy per nucleon. Beta decay. Electron, positron emission. Electron capture. Decay chains. Alpha decay. Heavy element decay chains. Barrier penetration mechanism. Gamma decay. Radioactive decay law. Analysis of parent-daughter activity relationships. Nuclear fission. Liquid drop model. Fission products. Induced fission. Nuclear reactors. Neutron moderation. Control and delayed neutrons. Reactor types. Environmental and other concerns. Fuel cycle. Nuclear fusion. Fusion reactors. Fundamental particles, Leptons and Baryons, Quarks.

Observing the Universe

Lecturers: Professor A. Vidotto

Duration: Hilary Term, 12 lectures

Our place in the Universe, its contents (e.g. planets, stars, galaxies) and scale. Basic observational astronomy (e.g., electromagnetic spectrum, telescopes, coordinate system). Basic stellar information (e.g., distance, luminosity, colours). Life and death of stars. Planets and life in the Universe. The structure of our Galaxy and other galaxies. The origin and fate of the Universe.

Wave and Optics II

Lecturers: Professor D. McCloskey

Duration: Hilary Term, 12 lectures

Description: Maxwell equations in differential form. Coulomb's and Gauss' Laws; Biot-Savart and Ampere's Laws; absence of magnetic monopoles; Faraday’s Law and magnetic induction. Electric dipoles, dielectric polarisation and dielectric susceptibility; magnetic dipoles, magnetisation and diamagnetic susceptibility; continuity equation, displacement current and Maxwell’s generalisation of Ampere’s Law. Electromagnetic waves in vacuum and isotropic matter. Energy density in time-varying electromagnetic fields and Poynting vector. Reflection, refraction, plane, circular and elliptic polarisation of light; dichroism, birefringence; interference, interferometers, coherence, Young’s slits, near and far field diffraction.