Physics (Mechanics and Materials)
SEM1
3
15

Introduction to Modern Physics
SEM1
3
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: The purpose of the module is to provide a broad overview of modern physics and its development. The approach will be more descriptive than quantitative with the goal to describe physical phenomena and concepts rather than provide proofs and derivations. The module will not require mathematics beyond basic algebra and complex numbers. The particular topics to be included will be: 1) Basic Thermodynamics: What are heat, temperature and entropy? A description of the laws of thermodynamics. 2) Basic Quantum Mechanical phenomena: wavefunctions; incompatible observables and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle; the Bohr Atom; and quantum tunnelling. 3) Relativity: Lorentz transformations and the axioms of special relativity. The idea of general relativity in terms of spacetime curvature and its effects such as gravitational lensing, gravitational time dilaton; blackholes; and the basics of cosmology. 4) The particle zoo: what are the building blocks of the standard model of particle physics and how do we describe their interactions?
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 3

SEM1
4
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: Practical work in the laboratory serves to illustrate basic concepts in physics, and the processes of carrying out experiments and interpreting their
results. You will be taught techniques of measurement and the use of instruments and computers. There are some lectures on statistics and data analysis, which
are applied to the laboratory measurements. There is no final examination. All assessment is by coursework and laboratory reports.
Assessment: 100.0% Coursework
Level: 4

Mathematical Techniques I
SEM1
4
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Prerequisite of: SPA5241; SPA5666; SPA6309
Description: Techniques of mathematics, mostly calculus, required in the study of the physical sciences. Topics will include vectors and scalars,
vector components, addition and multiplication, complex numbers and functions, differentiation, partial differentiation, series, integration, polar coordinates and multiple integration. The course structure includes both lectures and selfpaced programmed learning, with assessment by coursework and an end of year examination.
Assessment: 80.0% Examination and 20.0% Coursework
Level: 4

Introduction to Energy and Environmental Physics
SEM1
4
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: This module covers the applications of physics concepts (including mechanics, thermodynamics, waves, and quantum physics) to the qualitative and quantitative description of energy transfer processes in natural energy sources and in energy technologies. The emphasis will be on useful quantitative results from physics rather than detailed derivations, with examples drawn from wind, wave, solar and nuclear energies. In particular we will emphasise the relevance of physics in understanding and improving energy technologies as well as assessing their environmental impact. Specific topics will include the first and second laws of thermodynamics, wind energy, efficiency of wind turbines, solar energy, semiconductor physics relevant to solar cells, radioactivity, nuclear reactors and nuclear waste disposal, and analysis of efficiencies of energy transfer. This will be applied to the public debate on climate change, its effects and its mitigation. Students will participate in the debate and form their own opinions on public courses of action and policy, taking into account social, ethical, and financial factors. A project towards the end of the module will involve students writing a review on a specific topic in energy and environmental physics.
Assessment: 100% Coursework
Level: 4

Classical Physics
SEM1
4
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Prerequisite of: SPA5241; SPA5666; SPA6309
Description: This module reviews the classical understanding of space, time and motion: the fundamental physical principles that underpin modern physics.
We begin with an overview of classical mechanics, where we will study kinematics and dynamics; rotational motion; dynamics of a rigid body and the gyroscope; and gravity and planetary orbits. In the second part of the module, we focus on oscillatory phenomena and wave motion, which occur throughout nature in fields from biology to quantum mechanics. Topics will include the 1D wave equation; free, damped, forced and coupled oscillations; resonance and driven simple harmonic motion; calculations of normal modes for coupled oscillators; waves in linear media including gases and solids; dispersion, phase and group velocity; interference, beats and standing waves; simple diffraction phenomena; and the Doppler effect in sound and light.An introduction to the basic laws of electromagnetism: electric force and field; electric potential and energy; capacitance; electromotive force; introduction to electromagnetic waves; applications in science and engineering.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework
Level: 4

Professional Skills for Scientists
SEM1
4
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
QMUL Model themes supported:
 Multi and interdisciplinariy
 Networking
QMUL Model learning outcomes:
 Students will be able to identify and discuss their own career aspirations or relevant skills and knowledge and how they impact on others.
 Students will be able to demonstrate connections between different theoretical perspectives within your discipline.
Description: This module develops professional and computational skills that are fundamental to the discipline, enable student engagement with employers, and expand student networks. Students develop introductory computational skills including using and writing computer programs to model physical systems, analyse quantitative data, and solve problems. These computational skills are applicable to any role that requires quantitative analysis and evidencebased decision making. Students will become proficient in preparing professional quality documents including scientific project reports, presentations and job application materials.
Assessment: 75% Coursework and 25% Practical Level: 4

Communication Skills for Physicists
SEM1
5
0
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: Description: The topics covered in this module are as follow:
 Summarising scientific writing for a scientific readership.
 Summarising scientific writing for a lay readership.
 Summarising and criticising scientific writing.
 Basic oral presentation of physics for a scientific audience.
 Basic oral presentation of physics for a lay audience.
 Formal communication when pursuing postgraduate positions or general employment.
 Parttime and summer employment and training opportunities, internships etc.
Additionally this module includes one longer (essay) written component (1500 ± 500 word length) to be prepared under the guidance of the academic advisor.
Assessment: 100% Final Mark Level: 5

Mathematical Techniques 3
SEM1
5
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA4122 or equivalent
Corequisite: None
Prerequisite of: SPA6324; SPA6325; SPA6413; SPA7018U/P
Description: In this module some advanced mathematical techniques are developed in the context of solving real physical problems. Computer algebra (MAPLE) is used in the practical classes to enable you to learn a professional physicists approach to real problemsolving.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 5

Thermodynamics
SEM1
5
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA4121 and SPA4116 or equivalent courses of elementary calculus and mechanics
Corequisite: None
Description: Thermal and Kinetic Physics is a course designed as an introduction to the notion of energy and its transformations. The thermodynamic methodology that is constructed, largely through the paradigm of the ideal gas, is widely applicable throughout the realm of physics. We begin by developing a language capable of dealing with the thermodynamic method and this requires that concepts of equilibrium and temperature are disentangled before work and heat are described in detail en route to the First Law of Thermodynamics. With the First Law many things become readily accessible to an analytic approach previously unavailable including; engines, refrigerators and heat pumps. Entropy will then make a natural appearance as a macroscopic thermodynamic variable in the build up to the Second Law of Thermodynamics with a brief look at its microscopic origins. New thermodynamic potentials including the Gibbs potential and the Helmholtz free energy, and their applications, are discussed in order to generalise further the thermodynamic method. Phase changes for simple systems are briefly covered and the Third law of Thermodynamics described. Finally an introduction to the kinetic description of gases in equilibrium and of phenomena such as diffusion and heat conduction will complete the module.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 5

Planetary Systems
SEM1
5
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: Introductory Physics and Calculus (e.g. SPA4401; SPA4402; SPA4121; SPA4122, or similar)
Corequisite: None
Description: Ever since the dawn of civilisation human beings have charted the paths of the planets across the night sky and speculated about their nature. Indeed the word planet has its origin in the ancient Greek term `planete' meaning wanderer. Used in its modern scientific context the word planet refers to an object which orbits about a star, but which itself is not a star. Planets have a special philosophical significance since they are the bodies on which life itself is expected to come into existence. This course provides an in depth description of our current knowledge and understanding of the planets in our Solar System, and of the planetary systems now known to orbit around stars other than the Sun and the extrasolar planets. The properties of individual planets and their satellites will be described and contrasted, and basic physical principles will be used to explain their orbits and physical features. Our understanding of how planetary systems form will be explored, and current scientific ideas about the origin of life will be discussed.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 5

Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics
SEM1
5
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: A module describing subatomic phenomena and explaining them in terms of the theories of quantum physics and relativity: nuclear properties, reactions and decays; Nuclear astrophysics and its cosmological consequences.
Assessment: 70% Examination and 30% Coursework Level: 5

Quantum Mechanics A
SEM1
5
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite:
Corequisite: None
Prerequisite of: SPA6306; SPA7029U/P
Description: This course aims to introduce the fundamental concepts of quantum mechanics from the beginning. By studying applications of the principles of quantum mechanics to simple systems the course will provide a foundation for understanding concepts such as energy quantisation, the uncertainty principle and quantum tunnelling, illustrating these with experimental demonstrations and other phenomena found in nature. These concepts are introduced and applied to systems of increasing (mathematical) complexity: (i)Infinite 1D quantum wells. (ii)Finite 1D quantum wells (introducing graphical solutions of transcendental equations). (iii)LCAO methods for modelling ions. (iv)Simple Harmonic oscillators (introducing Hermite polynomials and applying energy solutions to molecular vibrational spectra). (v)Beams of free particles, probability flux and reflection/transmission in stepwise varying potentials. (vi)Finite potential barriers and tunnelling, Tunnelling through arbitrary potential barriers (the Gamow factor), field emission and Alpha decay and tunnelling. The Scanning Tunnelling Microscope (STM). (vii)The solution to the Hydrogen atom, including separation of variables, spherical harmonics, the radial equation and electronic energy levels and the quantum numbers n, l, ml and ms and resulting degeneracy. (viii)The treatment of angular momentum in quantum mechanics, its magnitude and projection along an axis. (ix)Introduction to first order, time independent, perturbation theory.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 5

Introduction to Scientific Computing
SEM1
5
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA4401; SPA4210; SPA4402; SPA4121; SPA4122
Corequisite: None
QMUL Model Available to: All students in School of Physics and Astronomy
QMUL Model themes supported:
Multi and interdisciplinarity
QMUL Model learning outcomes: Students will be able to demonstrate how disciplinespecific problem solving techniques or approaches may be generalised or applied in a broader context.
Description: This module provides a general introduction to numerical problem solving with the programming language Python. Scientific computing provides an inherently interdisciplinary approach to problem solving; one that combines aspects of applied mathematics, computer science, and software engineering with concepts and models from the physical sciences.
In this module basic aspects of scientific computation, including computer number representations, machine precision, discretisation of equations, error and uncertainty, will be discussed. The mathematical underpinnings of numerical methods of problem solving will be developed, including numerical integration and differentiation, searching, data fitting, interpolation, matrix computing, and solving differential equations.
These theoretical topics will be put into practice during weekly computational laboratory exercises where computer programs will be written that utilise a variety of numerical techniques to solve problems. Authentic examples from the physical sciences and industry and will be explored.
Assessment: 75% Coursework and 25% Examination Level: 5

The Physics of Galaxies
SEM1
6
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: Galaxies are the building blocks of the universe and deserve the extensive study they now enjoy. This course applies basic physical ideas to astronomical observations, exploring the properties of galaxies themselves and the evolution of structure in the universe.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 6

Elementary Particle Physics
SEM1
6
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA5319 or equivalent introductory course in quantum physics
Corequisite: None
Description: An introduction to the standard model of particle physics  the strong and electroweak interactions between the basic constituents of the world, quarks and leptons, via the exchange of gluons, photons and W and Z particles. Recent results on CP violation and neutrino mixing. The search for the Higgs particle. Beyond the standard model  Grand unified theories and supersymmetry.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 6

Spacetime and Gravity
SEM1
6
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Prerequisite of: SPA7027U
Description: This course presents the essential concepts of both special and general relativity. The emphasis is on the physical understanding of the theory and the mathematical development is kept simple, although more detailed treatments are included for those who wish to follow them; spacetime diagrams being are used extensively. The course includes discussion of the big bang and black holes.
Assessment: 85% Examination and 15% Coursework Level: 6

Computational Condensed Matter Physics
SEM1
6
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: Computational condensed matter physics has become a third distinct line of inquiry in addition to experiments and theory and had been playing a crucial role not only in physics but also in chemistry, biology, materials science and engineering. This course will cover fundamental theoretical ideas behind the computational methods such as molecular dynamics simulations with empirical potentials, electronic structure methods and Monte Carlo simulations. The theoretical ideas will be complemented with a handson computational laboratory using stateoftheart programs with the aim of providing our students with a basic understanding of the technical implementations and strengths and shortcomings of these methods. The students will acquire and develop coding and analysis skills.
Assessment: 100% Coursework Level: 6

Mathematical Techniques 4
SEM1
6
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA5218 (60% or above); SPA5304
Corequisite: None
Prerequisite of: SPA7027U
Description: The module will cover advanced techniques in mathematical physics and will consist of three parts. The first part will cover topics in the general area of analysis such as Fourier Transforms, differential equations, special functions, asymptotic series, complex analysis. The second will cover groups, algebra and representations. The third will cover elements of gepmetry, differential forms, homology, topological invariants.
Assessment: 60% Examination and 40% Coursework Level: 6

Statistical Data Analysis
SEM1
6
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: This course will review basic metrics and techniques used to describe ensembles of data such as averages, variances, standard deviation, errors and error propagation. These will be extended to treat multidimensional problems and circumstances where observables are correlated with one another. The Binomial, Poisson, and Gaussian distributions will be discussed, with emphasis on physical interpretation in terms of events. Concepts of probability, confidence intervals, limits, hypothesis testing will be developed. Optimization techniques will be introduced including chi^2 minimisation and maximumlikelihood techniques. A number of multivariate analysers (sample discriminants) will be discussed in the context of data mining. These will include Fisher discriminants, multilayer perceptron based artificial neural networks, decision trees and genetic algorithms.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 6

Quantum Mechanics B
SEM1
6
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA5218 (MO has discretion)
Corequisite: None
Prerequisite of: SPA7029U/P; SPA7031U
Description: This module is both an introduction and revision, followed by an extended exposition of the basic principles and applications of quantum mechanics. Topics include: Operators and the general structure of quantum mechanics, observables, orthonormality of eigenstates, expansion theorem, commuting operators, theory of measurement; The harmonic oscillator; Angular momentum theory, the rigid rotator and applications to rotationvibration spectra of diatomic molecules; Spin in quantum mechanics illustrated with spin1/2: matrix representations, SternGerlach experiments and measurement theory exemplified; Indistinguishable particles in quantum mechanics: Bosons and Fermions; Spherically symmetric potentials and the Hydrogen atom.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 6

Independent Project
SEM1
6
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: This module provides you with the experience of working, independently, on a problem within physics (often using the resources found within a research group of the department). These may be problems in experimental, computational or theoretical physics or a project in astronomy. A list of projects is available on the extensive projects homepage and this contains brief descriptions of the projects on offer, and the supervisors of those projects. You shall arrange a project by reading these pages and meeting with potential supervisors. Associated with the project is a weekly seminar to which you will contribute.
Assessment: 70% Coursework and 30% Practical Level: 6

Cosmology
SEM1
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: Cosmology is a rapidly developing subject that is the focus of a considerable research effort worldwide. It is the attempt to understand the present state of the universe as a whole and thereby shed light on its origin and ultimate fate. Why is the universe structured today in the way that it is, how did it develop into its current form and what will happen to it in the future? The aim of this module is to address these and related questions from both the observational and theoretical perspectives. The module does not require specialist astronomical knowledge and does not assume any prior understanding of general relativity.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

Phase Transitions
SEM1
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: Phase transitions are so common in materials that our understanding of condensed matter is incomplete without understanding the physics of phase transitions. Furthermore, it is often the existence of phase transitions that give materials their properties that are exploited in technological applications. This module will survey the wide range of phase transitions observed experimentally, including ferroelectric and other displacive phase transitions, magnetic transitions, and atomic ordering transitions. Various models with be described to account for the existence of these phase transitions and their properties.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

Relativistic Waves and Quantum Fields
SEM1
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA5304, SPA6325 & SPA5218
Corequisite: SPA7027U
Prerequisite of: SPA7001U/P; SPA7032U/P
Description: This module provides a first introduction into the unification of last century's groundshaking revolutions in physics: Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Relativistic wave equations for particles of various spins are derived and studied, and the physical interpretations of their solutions are analyzed. Students will learn about the fundamental concepts of quantum field theory, starting with classical field theory, quantisation of the free KleinGordon and Dirac field and the derivation of the Feynman propagator. Then interactions are introduced and a systematic procedure to calculate scattering amplitudes using Feynman diagrams is derived. Finally, the quantisation of the electromagnetic field is discussed and the relativistic cross sections for various physically relevant examples are calculated.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

Relativity and Gravitation
SEM1
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA6308 or equivalent introductory courses
Corequisite: None
Description: This module offers an explanation of the fundamental principles of General Relativity. This involves the analysis of particles in a given gravitational field and the propagation of electromagnetic waves in a gravitational field. The derivation of Einstein's field equations from basic principles is included. The derivation of the Schwarzchild solution and the analysis of the Kerr solution inform discussion of physical aspects of strong gravitational fields around black holes. The generation, propagation and detection of gravitational waves is mathematically analysed and a discussion of weak general relativistic effects in the Solar System and binary pulsars is included as a discussion of the experimental tests of General Relativity.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

Research Methods for Astrophysics
SEM1
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: Research in astrophysics builds on a vast body of literature and archived data. This module is an introduction to research methods which exploit existing information sources in astrophysics. The module serves as preparation for the research project which forms a major part of the MSc programme. In this module students will learn how to review and evaluate with critical insight, the current state of research of a chosen area in astrophysics. They will receive training in writing academic reports in an appropriate style, and will learn how to convey research material in a presentation. Additional topics will be included so that students are prepared for project work at an advanced level. These can include specific exercises in using astronomical data archives, scientific word processing, mathematical skills, using mathematical and data analysis packages, project planning, etc.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Practical Level: 7

Solar System
SEM1
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: As the planetary system most familiar to us, the Solar System presents the best opportunity to study questions about the origin of life and how enormous complexity arise from simple physical systems in general. This module surveys the physical and dynamical properties of the Solar System. It focuses on the formation, evolution, structure, and interaction of the Sun, planets, satellites, rings, asteroids, and comets. The module applies basic physical and mathematical principles needed for the study, such as fluid dynamics, electrodynamics, orbital dynamics, solid mechanics, and elementary differential equations. However, prior knowledge in these topics is not needed, as they will be introduced as required. The module will also include discussions of very recent, exciting developments in the formation of planetary and satellite systems and extrasolar planets (planetary migration, giant impacts, and exoplanetary atmospheres).
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

Stellar Structure and Evolution
SEM1
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: Stars are important constituents of the universe. This module starts from well known physical phenomena such as gravity, mass conservation, pressure balance, radiative transfer of energy and energy generation from the conversion of hydrogen to helium. From these, it deduces stellar properties that can be observed (that is, luminosity and effective temperature or their equivalents such as magnitude and colour) and compares the theoretical with the actual. In general good agreement is obtained but with a few discrepancies so that for a few classes of stars, other physical effects such as convection, gravitational energy generation and degeneracy pressure have to be included. This allows an understanding of premain sequence and dwarf stages of evolution of stars, as well as the helium flash and supernova stages.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

Differential Geometry in Theoretical Physics
SEM1
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA6324; SPA6308 or equivalent
Corequisite: SPA7018U
Description: The aim of this course is to complement the core Relativistic Waves and Quantum Fields (RWQF) module by providing the student with some advanced tools essential for research in modern Theoretical Physics. Using the same starting point as RWQF, Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism, we will focus on the Lagrangian formulation of the two most prominent theories of our time: YangMills (gauge) theory and gravity. The alternative notation of differential forms will be explored and the geometric aspects of gauge theory emphasised. Building on this, and introducing elements from group theory and fibre bundles we will introduce classical solitons as localised, finite energy solutions to the classical field equations in various dimensions (kinks in 2d, vortices in 3d, monopoles in 4d, instantons in Euclidean 4d) and discuss their properties, including the existence of zeromodes, associated collective coordinates and moduli spaces.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7
