Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2008-2009 (archived)

# Module PHYS1111: FUNDAMENTAL PHYSICS

## Department: Physics

### PHYS1111: FUNDAMENTAL PHYSICS

Type | Open | Level | 1 | Credits | 20 | Availability | Available in 2008/09 | Module Cap | None. | Location | Durham |
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#### Prerequisites

- A-Level Physics and A-Level or AS-Level Mathematics.

#### Corequisites

- Single Mathematics A (MATH1561) and Single Mathematics B (MATH1571) OR Core Mathematics A (MATH1012) or Maths for Engineers and Scientists (MATH1551).

#### Excluded Combination of Modules

- Foundations of Physics 1 (PHYS1122).

#### Aims

- This module provides courses in classical aspects of electromagnetism, and introduces basic concepts in Newtonian mechanics, special relativity, atomic, nuclear and particle physics.
- It is a subset of the double module Foundations of Physics 1 (PHYS1122), excluding the courses on wave phenomena, phases of matter, optics and quantum mechanics.
- For this reason it is not sufficient for progression to Level 2 physics modules except for the modules Stars and Galaxies (PHYS2541), Laboratory Skills and Practice (PHYS2551), and Electronics and Physics Laboratory (PHYS2561).
- The module provides students with practice in key mathematical techniques and in the informal discussion of scientific ideas within a small group.

#### Content

- The syllabus contains:
- Introduction to Classical Mechanics: Velocity, acceleration, motion in three dimensions, forces and Newton's Laws, conservation of momentum and energy, friction, motion of a rigid body, centre of mass, rotation, moment of inertia, angular momentum and torques, Newton's Law of Gravity, Kepler's Laws, planetary orbits.
- Introduction to Special Relativity: Motion as seen by different observers. Setting up inertial frames of reference. The Michelson-Morley experiment. The universality of the speed of light. Lightning striking twice: the meaning of simultaneity. How time can get longer and lengths shorten, depending on speed. Ageing on the move: the twin paradox. How elementary particles can test these predictions to enormous precision. How co-ordinates for one observer are related to those for another, and how speeds add up. Some things never change: Lorentz invariants. Einstein's famous energy and mass relation, relativistic billiards and collisions: energy and momentum of elementary particles. Looking forward to General Relativity; what happens in accelerating frames?
- Electricity and Magnetism: Definitions of basic electrical quantities: V,I,P,L,C,R. Electrostatics: Electric charge, Coulomb's law, permittivity of vacuum, E, electric field lines, electric dipoles, continuous charge distributions, Gauss's law, calculation of E using Gauss's law, potential energy, electric potential, E = -grad V, equipotentials, capacitors, dielectrics, electric energy density, circulation of E, electromotive force. Magnetostatics: Currents in conductors, Ohm's law, circulation of E round circuit, electromotive force, B field, force on moving charge/current, Lorentz force, force on a current-carrying coil, magnetic dipole moment, Biot-Savart law, permeability of vacuum, magnetic field patterns due to current loop/bar magnet, Gauss's law for magnetism, magnetic monopoles, circulation of B, Ampere's law, calculation of B for current line, torus, solenoid. Time Variations: Faraday's law, E from dB/dt, induced emf, back emf, motional emf, inductance, magnetic energy density, displacement current, B from dE/dt, Maxwell's equations.
- Atoms, Nuclei and Particles: Structure of matter. Atoms, nuclei, quarks and leptons. The fundamental forces of nature. Rutherford Scattering, Bohr model, Sommerfeld model, Zeeman effect, electron spin, Stern-Gerlach experiment, Periodic Table, Pauli Exclusion Principle. Nuclear shell model, magic numbers, magnetic moments, nuclear magnetic resonance, fission, fusion, alpha-decay, beta-decay and the neutrino. Electron-positron pair production. The unification of the basic interactions.

#### Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:

- Having studied this module students will have gained: an introductory knowledge of Newtonian mechanics and applications to basic physical problems familiar from the everyday world, such as movement under constant acceleration, rotating wheels and pulleys and the motion of the planets.
- They will understand the concepts of inertial frames of reference and the universality of the speed of light, and will have a basic understanding of relativistic effects and Lorentz invariants.
- They will have a firm grounding in the classical aspects of electromagnetism, including the central ideas of electrostatics, magnetostatics and time variations.
- They will have an understanding of the structure of an atom in terms of a nucleus and electrons and of a nucleus in terms of protons and neutrons.
- They will have knowledge of the parameters used to describe atoms and nuclei, an ability to explain their properties in terms of simple physical models, and an appreciation of the applications of nuclear physics.
- They will have knowledge of the contemporary picture of elementary particle physics and the characteristics of the four fundamental interactions.

Subject-specific Skills:

- In addition to the acquisition of subject knowledge, students will have developed problem-solving skills requiring the application of mathematical techniques and the basic principles of physics.
- They will know how to produce a well-structured solution, with clearly-explained reasoning and appropriate presentation.

Key Skills:

#### Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

- Teaching will be lectures, supported by tutorials and mathematics skills workshops.
- The lectures will provide the means to give a concise, focused presentation of the subject matter of the module.
- The lecture material will be explicitly linked to the contents of a single recommended textbook for the module, thus making clear where students can begin their private study.
- When appropriate, the lectures will also be supported by the distribution of written material, or by information and relevant links on DUO.
- Students will be able to obtain further help in their studies by approaching their lecturers, either after lectures or at other mutually convenient times (the Department has a policy of encouraging such enquiries).
- The mathematics skills workshops will improve students' knowledge of key mathematical topics and techniques used in physics.
- Regular problem exercises will give students the chance to develop their theoretical understanding and problem-solving abilities.
- These problem exercises will form the basis for discussions in tutorial groups of typically six to eight students.
- The tutorials will also provide an informal environment for students to raise issues of interest or difficulty.
- Student performance will be summatively assessed through a written examination and problem exercises.
- The written examination provides the means for students to demonstrate their acquisition of subject knowledge and the development of their problem-solving skills.
- The problem exercises provide opportunities for feedback, for students to gauge their progress, and for staff to monitor progress throughout the duration of the module.

#### Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity | Number | Frequency | Duration | Total/Hours | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

Lectures | 63 | 3 per week | 1 hour | 63 | |

Tutorials | 10 | 1 per fortnight | 1 hour | 10 | ■ |

Workshops | 10 | 1 per week in term 1 | 1 hour | 10 | ■ |

Preparation and Reading | 117 | ||||

Total | 200 |

#### Summative Assessment

Component: Examination | Component Weighting: 85% | ||
---|---|---|---|

Element | Length / duration | Element Weighting | Resit Opportunity |

Written Examination | 3 hours | 100% | |

Component: Problem Exercises | Component Weighting: 15% | ||

Element | Length / duration | Element Weighting | Resit Opportunity |

Problem Exercises | 100% | Extended set of problem exercises 100% |

#### Formative Assessment:

One 1.5-hour Collection Examination.

■ Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University