Physics (Fields and Waves)
SEM2
3
15
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: SEF005
Corequisite: None
Description: The role and characteristics of fields, in particular gravitational and electromagnetic fields. The description of natural phenomena and the widespread occurrence of oscillations and wave motion, with examples taken from the physics of sound and light.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 3

Physics (Electricity and Atomic Physics)
SEM2
3
15
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: SEF005
Corequisite: None
Description: Aspects of electrical theory (current and charge, resistance, capacitors, circuits and meters); atomic structure and properties of the electron; the nucleus, radioactive decay and nuclear energy; introduction to quantum physics.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 3

Our Universe
SEM2
4
15
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: The module is a broad survey of Astronomy aiming to acquaint you with evolution of the universe and its constituents. A particular theme is the role played by the known laws of physics in understanding astronomical observation. You will: (i) gain a familiarity with the constituents of the observed universe; (ii) appreciate, and be able to explain, the important part played by the laws of physics in designing observations, and in interpreting and understanding them; (iii) be able to explain the different types of information obtainable from observations across the entire electromagnetic spectrum from gamma rays to radio waves.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 4

Mathematical Techniques 2
SEM2
4
15
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Prerequisite of: SPA5241; SPA5666; SPA6309
Description: Further techniques of mathematics needed in the physical sciences. Complex numbers and hyperbolic functions. Polar and spherical coordinates and coordinate transformations. Multiple integrals. Line and surface integrals. Vector calculus. The theorems of Gauss, Green and Stokes. Matrices. Determinants. Eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Fourier series and transforms including the convolution theorem. Differential equations. Exercise classes enable the students to learn practical approaches to problem solving while applying the concepts and techniques introduced in lectures.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 4

Electric and Magnetic Fields
SEM2
4
15
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Prerequisite of: SPA5666; SPA6309
Description: An introduction to the basic laws of electromagnetism: electric force and field; electric potential and energy; capacitance; electromotive force; magnetic force and field; the Lorentz force; electromagnetic induction; mutual and self inductance; magnetic energy; LC circuits; Maxwell's equations; introduction to electromagnetic waves; applications in science and engineering.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% 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

Modern Physics
SEM2
4
15
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Prerequisite of: SPA5241; SPA5666; SPA6309
Description: This module covers the dramatic developments in physics that occurred in the early twentieth century, introducing special and general relativity and quantum theory. In relativistic mechanics we will study special relativity; the Lorentz transformation; length contraction and time dilation; the clock paradox; relativistic kinematics and dynamics; general relativity and its tests and consequences; and black holes and galactic lenses. In quantum theory, we will study descriptions of the evidence for particlelike properties of waves, and wavelike properties of particles, followed by their consequences and their formal expression in physical law: topics include Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, Schrodinger's equation and elementary quantum mechanics. We will also introduce the fundamental particles and the forces of the standard model of particle physics.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 4

Physics Laboratory
SEM2
5
15
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: SPA4103
Corequisite: None
Description: This course aims to illustrate some important aspects of physics through experimental measurements. The course will be marked by continuous assessment of student laboratory notebooks, which will not be allowed to be removed from the laboratory. Students will perform a number of experiments over the term and will then have to write a scientific paper on one of the experiments that they have performed. The experiments are: Alpha particle spectroscopy; Thermal equation of state and critical point of ethane, Hall effect measurement of germanium; Building a Helium Neon Laser; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance; Building a Michelson Interferometer and measuring the magnetostriction of metals and the refractive index of air; Xray diffraction spectroscopy; The Zeeman effect.
Assessment: 100% Coursework Level: 5

Electromagnetic Waves and Optics
SEM2
5
15
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: SPA4210
Corequisite: None
Description: The course is aimed at giving a coverage of electromagnetic wave theory and of optics. It will act as a bridge between a first year course of introductory electromagnetism and a course on vibrations and waves to give an understanding of optics in terms of electromagnetic waves.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 5

Physical Dynamics
SEM2
5
15
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: SPA4401, SPA5218 Corequisite: Prerequisite of: SPA7018U/P
Description: Introduction to Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of Newtonian mechanics. Origin of Conservation Laws and their relation to symmetry properties. Rotational motion of rigid bodies, Euler's equations, principal axes and stability of rotation, precession. Small vibration approximation, normal modes.
Assessment: 75% Examination and 25% Coursework Level: 5

Planetary Systems
SEM2
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

Introduction to Scientific Computing
SEM2
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

Radiation Detectors
SEM2
6
15
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: SPA4401; SPA4210; SPA4402; SPA4121; SPA4122
Corequisite: None
Description: The course covers the basic concepts of interaction between radiation and matter, including the BetheBlock formula, Cherenkov radiation, Bremsstrahlung, multiple Coulomb scattering and the interaction of photons. A range of particle detectors such as scintillation counters and photomultipliers, timeofflight, ionization and drift chambers, semiconductor detectors, transition radiation detectors, electromagnetic and hadronic calorimeters, will be discussed in detail with particular examples of detectors currently operating at the Large Hadron Collider and elsewhere. During the course a number of related topics such as particle accelerators and event triggering will also be discussed.
Assessment: 70% Dissertation and 30% Examination Level: 6

The Physics of Galaxies
SEM2
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

Condensed Matter B
SEM2
6
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA5228
Corequisite: None
Description: Continuing from Symmetry, Structure and Dynamics in Solids (or in its first year from Structure and Properties of Functional Materials), this module completes an overview of the major concepts in modern condensed matter physics. Many of the assumptions made in previous modules û such as considering only ideal, infinite crystals or isotropic materials û will be relaxed in order to treat more complex but realistic situations. So we will discuss atomic and electronic structure beyond the perfect crystal; see how to use tensors to describe anisotropic properties; discuss useful and interesting electric and magnetic phenomena; and investigate model systems for advanced materials. The module will conclude by examining some active research topics within the Centre for Condensed Matter and Materials Physics.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 6

Quantum Mechanics and Symmetry
SEM2
6
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA5218, SPA6413 Corequisite: Prerequisite of: SPA7018U/P
Description: The module will give you a grounding in the more formal and axiomatic approach to quantum mechanics and introduce you to the application of these tools in the quantum mechanical description of symmetries in particle physics. Topics include: Dirac notation; Hilbert space; linear operators; formal axioms of quantum mechanics; Schoedinger and Heisenberg pictures; harmonic oscillator; raising and lowering operators; time independent perturbation theory; transformation operators; translations and rotations of coordinates; conservation laws and good quantum numbers; rotation operators; angular momentum operators.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 6

Statistical Physics
SEM2
6
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA5219 and SPA4215 or equivalent introductory courses in thermal and quantum physics
Corequisite: None
Description: Starting from the atomic and quantum descriptions of matter the module uses statistical principles to explain the behaviour of material in bulk. It thus relates microscopic to macroscopic quantities and provides a microscopic explanation of thermodynamics. It provides the bridge between microscopic quantum physics and the behaviour of matter as we know it daily.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Coursework Level: 6

Group Project for Physicists
SEM2
6
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: This module places students in small groups (3 to 6 people) and each group is allocated a short duration project (~12 weeks) which has been set by either an external collaborator (e.g. industry, NHS, local authority, commercial entity) or by one of the research groups within the School of Physics and Astronomy. The students are initially briefed by the ""client"", who has set the project, and then attend weekly meetings with their academic supervisor and (more importantly) with each other where formal minutes (including action lists) are kept. The research is carried out using the school's laboratory and computing facilities as well as external facilities where applicable. Each group has to produce a formal, technical written report as well as presenting its findings orally to the "client" at the end of the project. The projects are assessed by the academic supervisor with input from the external collaborator.
Assessment: 80% Examination and 20% Practical Level: 6

Advanced Quantum Field Theory
SEM2
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA7018U/P
Corequisite: None
Description: This module gives a broad exposition of the modern frame work for the unification of special relativity and quantum theory  relativistic quantum field theory (QFT). Lagrangian formulation and canonical quantisation of free fields with spin = 0, 1/2, 1 are revised. The construction of interacting quantum field theories is devoloped with special focus on phi^4theory and quantum electrodynamics (QED). Perturbation theory in terms of Feynman diagrams is developed systematically, and important concepts such as regularisation and renormalisation are introduced. These tools are applied to the calculation of simple treelevel and oneloop Smatrix elements and crosssections in phi^4 theory and QED, corrections to the electron magnetic moment and the running coupling. The course will also touch on more advanced topics such as anomalies, nonAbelian gauge theories, and modern methods for the calculation of Smatrix elements.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

Astrophysical Plasmas
SEM2
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: A plasma is an ionized gas where the magnetic and electric field play a key role in binding the material together. Plasmas are present in almost every astrophysical environment, from the surface of pulsars to the Earth's ionosphere. This module explores the unique properties of plasmas, such as particle gyration and magnetic reconnection. The emphasis is on the plasmas found in the Solar System, from the solar corona and solar wind to the outer reaches of the heliosphere and the interstellar medium. Fundamental astrophysical processes are explored, such as the formation of supersonic winds, magnetic energy release, shock waves and particle acceleration. The module highlights the links between the plasmas we can observe with spacecraft and the plasmas in more distant and extreme astrophysical objects.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

Electromagnetic Radiation in Astrophysics
SEM2
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: This module is an introduction to understanding the origin, propagation, detection and interpretation of electromagnetic (EM) radiation from astronomical objects. In this module students will learn: how to describe EM radiation and its propagation through a medium to an observer; the main processes responsible for line and continuum emission and how they depend on the nature and state the emitting material; the effects of the earth's atmosphere and the operation of the detection process at various wavelengths. The material will be illustrated by examples from optical, infrared and radio portions of the EM spectrum.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

Electronic Structure Methods
SEM2
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA5319; SPA5218; SPA6413; SPA6325
Corequisite: None
Description: Electronic structure methods  that is, computational algorithms to solve the Schrodinger equation  play a very important role in physics, chemistry and materials science. These methods are increasingly treated on a equal footing with experiment in a number of areas of research, a sign of their growing predictive power and increasing ease of use. This course will cover the fundamental theoretical ideas behind these methods. Topics will include HartreeFock, correlated methods like MollerPlesset perturbation theory, configuration interaction, coupledcluster as well as densityfunctional theory. 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.
Assessment: 60% Examination and 40% Coursework Level: 7

Extrasolar Planets and Astrophysical Discs
SEM2
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: Ever since the dawn of civilization human beings have speculated about the existence of planets outside of the Solar System orbiting other stars. The first bona fide extrasolar planet orbiting an ordinary main sequence star was discovered in 1995, and subsequent planet searches have uncovered the existence of more than one hundred planetary systems in the Solar neighbourhood of our galaxy. These discoveries have reignited speculation and scientific study concerning the possibility of life existing outside of the Solar System. This module provides an in depth description of our current knowledge and understanding of these extrasolar planets. Their statistical and physical properties are described and contrasted with the planets in our Solar System. Our understanding of how planetary systems form in the discs of gas and dust observed to exist around young stars will be explored, and current scientific ideas about the origin of life will be discussed. Rotationally supported discs of gas (and dust) are not only important for explaining the formation of planetary systems, but also play an important role in a large number of astrophysical phenomena such as Cataclysmic Variables, Xray binary systems, and active galactic nuclei. These socalled accretion discs provide the engine for some of the most energetic phenomena in the universe. The second half of this module will describe the observational evidence for accretion discs and current theories for accretion disc evolution.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

The Galaxy
SEM2
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: The module considers in detail the basic physical processes that operate in galaxies, using our own Galaxy as a detailed example. This includes the dynamics and interactions of stars, and how their motions can be described mathematically. The interstellar medium is described and models are used to represent how the abundances of chemical elements have changed during the lifetime of the Galaxy. Dark matter can be studied using rotation curves of galaxies, and through the way that gravitational lensing by dark matter affects light. The various topics are then put together to provide an understanding of how the galaxies formed.
Assessment: 90.0% Examination and 10.0% Coursework Level: 7

Advanced Cosmology
SEM2
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA6308 and SPA6311, SPA7019 recommended
Corequisite: SPA7005U
Description: This module covers advanced concepts of modern cosmology, and in particular will introduce the student to cosmological perturbation theory. It discusses the observed structure of the universe, how these structures formed, and how they can be used to test our theories and models of the universe. The module will also discuss recent and upcoming experiments and large scale structure surveys and their relevance for cosmology.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

Supersymmetric Methods in Theoretical Physics
SEM2
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA6413, SPA6324
Corequisite: SPA7018U
Description: This course introduces core concepts in supersymmetry that can be applied to quantitatively understand a broad variety of physical systems and is a complement to the AQFT and FMQFT modules. Starting with supersymmetric quantum mechanics as a toy model, the course covers the supersymmetry algebra, its representations, the Witten Index, and the resulting constraints on quantum dynamics. We then move on to introduce supersymmetric field theories in three spacetime dimensions consisting of scalars and fermions while giving a basic introduction to symmetry currents, the classical and quantum Wilsonian renormalization group flow, moduli spaces, spurions, and nonrenormalization arguments. The course culminates in a study of simple dualities in threedimensional supersymmetric abelian gauge theories. We conclude with a discussion of supersymmetry in four spacetime dimensions and, time permitting, the embedding of our constructions in string theory.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

An Introduction to Strings and Branes
SEM2
7
15
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA7018U/P, SPA6413, SPA6324
Corequisite: None
Description: The module will cover the basics of string theory including the classical relativistic physics of the string, its quantisation and the resulting spectrum. This will then be extended to examine so called pbranes and the basics of Mtheory.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework Level: 7

Basic Mathematical Techniques
FULL YEAR
3
0
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: A module in basic arithmetic and algebra. Students are expected to pass this module before the end of their second semester in order to demonstrate basic mathematical competence. This module covers: decompositions, simplifications and computations of numbers, fractions, polynomials, rational expressions, expressions involving square roots. Solution of linear and quadratic equations and inequalities. Basic study of functions and revision of the most common functions.
Assessment: 100% Examination Level: 3

Extended Independent Project
FULL YEAR
6
30
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: You will initially register for the extended project PHY776. 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 containing a brief description 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 mandatory seminar to which you will occasionally be expected to contribute. In the light of adequate progress during the first semester you may, after producing a report, be relegated to a 15 credits Independent Project following careful consideration by a panel of staff (Supervisor, CO and DCO).
Assessment: 70% Coursework and 30% Practical Level: 6

Physics Review Project
SEM A or B
6
15
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: You will examine a specialised area of physics by directed reading and independent study. You will learn to use scientific research literature databases. You will develop the skill of writing a scientific review summarising current knowledge in a field of physics. You may enrol for this project only with the permission of the Module Organiser for MSci projects. Open only to 3rd year MSci students.
Assessment: 70% Coursework and 30% Practical Level: 6

MSc Astrophysics Research Project
FULL YEAR
7
60
Overlap :None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: The MSc project involves a critical review of a chosen topic in modern astrophysics, and may include some original research. Students write a dissertation summarising current research in that chosen field and the extent of their own investigations.
Assessment: 100% Dissertation Level: 7

MSc Physics Research Project
FULL YEAR
7
60
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: The MSc research Project is at the heart of the MSc programme. It is an independent project undertaken by the student within a working research group in the School. The project runs over three semesters in order to allow for the student to both design their project (using available literature etc.), be trained in the relevant techniques and carry out a reasonably substantial piece of research based on an actual (real) research problem. The presentation of the student findings is based both on a formal, technical written report (75 page maximum length) and on an oral presentation (e.g. powerpoint talk) and examination.
Assessment: 50% Dissertation and 50% Practical Level: 7

Physics Investigative Project
FULL YEAR
7
30
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: PA student will develop design, experimental, computational or analytical skills through the independent study of a problem in physics. S/he will learn to write a scientific report summarising results of an independent investigation and placing them in a physics context. The project will run through both semesters and will involve keeping a research log (see 'Engagement Log' elsewhere on this page), interim coursework, a final written report and oral assessment at the end of semester B.
The aim of the investigative project is to give the student the opportunity to work independently on a chosen project towards specified goals. These goals will vary from project to project and may include: writing software to achieve a specified computational task, e.g., simulation of a physical process; carrying out a series of measurements to establish or disprove a working hypothesis; building a piece of equipment, e.g., to interface an experiment to a PC; analytical mathematical analysis applied to the study of a theoretical problem.
Assessment: 70% Coursework and 30% Practical Level: 7

Physics Research Project
FULL YEAR
7
45
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: You will develop design, experimental, computational or analytical skills through the independent study of a problem in physics. You will learn to write scientific reports summarising results of an independent investigation and placing them in a physics context, and detailing the methods used and the results obtained. The project will run through both semesters and will involve an interim report at the end of semester 1 as well as the final reports at the end of semester 2.
Assessment: 70% Coursework and 30% Practical Level: 7

MSc Astrophysics Research Project
FULL YEAR
7
60
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: The MSc project involves a critical review of a chosen topic in modern astrophysics, and may include some original research. Students write a dissertation summarising current research in that chosen field and the extent of their own investigations.
Assessment: 100% Dissertation Level: 7

Euromasters Project/Dissertation
FULL YEAR
7
120
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: None
Description: Students will develop design, experimental, computational or analytical skills through the independent study of a problem in physics. They will learn to write a scientific report summarising results of an independent investigation, placing them in a physics context, and detailing the methods used and the results obtained. The project will run through both semesters and will involve a report and an oral presentation.
Assessment: 70% Dissertation and 30% Practical Level: 7
