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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Physics Short Name: PH2M-SPB
Level: HE2 Module Co-ordinator: KEDDIE JL Prof (Physics)
Number of credits: 30 Number of ECTS credits: 15
Module Availability

Semester 1 and Semester 2.

Assessment Pattern

Assessment Pattern


Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)


Electromagnetic Waves Examination




Additional Mechanics Examination




Galaxies and Large Scale Structures Examination




Radiation Detection and Measurement Examination




Laboratory (Physics/Nuclear Astrophysics)


Note:  Physics Students do Physics Laboratory, PNA students do PNA Laboratory




Qualifying Condition(s): 


University general regulations refer.



Assessment Schedule


Examination Paper 4 (June):


2.5 hour (maximum) examination paper consisting of;


Answer 1 from 2 questions on Electromagnetic Waves


Answer 1 from 2 questions on Additional Mechanics


Answer 1 from 2 questions on Galaxies and Large Scale Structures


Answer 1 from 2 questions on Radiation Detection and Measurement


(weighted at 100% of the Specialist Physics B examination unit of assessment)


Laboratory (Semester 1 and Semester 2):


Laboratory Diary aggregate (16%)


Laboratory Report (8%)


Laboratory Oral (8%)


Note: the weight of each Laboratory mark to the total module mark is indicated








Module Overview

Electromagnetic Waves:


This course that provides a full treatment of electromagnetism theory and its applications to a range of traditional applications and problems.



Additional Mechanics:


This component introduces a more sophisticated treatment of classical mechanics using analytical methods, covering Newton ’s laws and their applications, plus Lagrangian and Hamiltonian methods.



Radiation Detection and Measurement:


The component introduces the physical principles involved with the detection of ionising radiations with reference to basic detectors and detection systems and quantitative analysis.



Galaxies and Large Scale Structures:


A summary of the main features of the galaxies, and their evolution and formation. This component complements the Level HE2 component Exploring the Solar System.



Experimentation (Physics/Nuclear Astrophysics):


A ten half-day laboratory consisting of a series of two-week experiments designed to give a varied experience of general physics phenomena



Electromagnetic Waves, Additional Mechanics, Radiation Detection and Measurement and Galaxies and Large Scale Structures:


PH1031 - Waves, Particles and Quanta Module of equivalent


PH1012 - Mathematics Module



Experimentation (Physics/Nuclear Astrophysics):


PH1011 – Experimental Physics Module


Module Aims

Electromagnetic Waves:


To provide competence in basic electromagnetic theory and problem solving. Solution problems involving magnetic circuits.  To establish the four integral Maxwell's equations which are of fundamental importance in physics. Combine these to investigate electromagnetic wave propagation.



Additional Mechanics:


To introduce the students to analytical classical mechanics and enable students to obtain equations of motion using more powerful and elegant methods than have been available previously.



Radiation Detection and Measurement:


The component aims to support the practical use of radiation detectors and to give a grounding for the understanding of more complex detection systems.



Galaxies and Large Scale Structures:


To familiarise students with the main features of the formation and evolution of galaxies, galaxy clusters and superclusters, and other large scale structures.  Students will be introduced to the observational evidence and the physics implications.



Experimentation (Physics/Nuclear Astrophysics):


To build on the foundation of earlier practical classes and emphasize the motivations for performing experiments both to verify theory and to improve understanding.  The importance of keeping a laboratory notebook (diary) and the clear presentation of results will be stressed.


Learning Outcomes

Electromagnetic Waves:


Students should be able to tackle problems involving magnetic circuits, understand and apply Maxwell’s equations, derive electromagnetic wave equation and apply to TEM waves.



Additional Mechanics:


At the end of the component, students should be able to


-          state, derive and use the Minimum Energy Principle, the Principle of Virtual work and D’Alembert’s Principle, as appropriate, to solve problems in classical mechanics,


-          state Lagrange’s equation and use the Lagrangian formalism to obtain equations of motion,


-          state Hamilton ’s equations and use the Hamiltonian formalism to obtain equations of motion.



Radiation Detection and Measurement:


The student should be able to explain and show a knowledge of the underlying principles of radiation detection and measurement including the fundamental physics of radiation interactions.  The student will gain an understanding of the associated detector equipment described in this and related courses.



Galaxies and Large Scale Structures:


Students will have an appreciation for the important large scale features of the Universe.  They will be able to describe the nature of galaxies and the way that they evolve.  They will understand how observations lead to deductions about galaxy clusters, superclusters and even larger structures in the Universe.



Experimentation (Physics/Nuclear Astrophysics):


On successful completion you will be able to perform an experiment of intermediate difficulty, either involving practical or computational skills, by following written instruction. You will be able to keep a comprehensive diary of the activity, recording results in a form useful to others, and to complete a full but selective report, based on the diary, in the style of a scientific paper. The specific practical skills gained will vary according to the choice of the experiments. 


Module Content

Electromagnetic Waves:


This course investigates further the topics of magnetism and electromagnetic waves.



Diamagnets, Paramagnets, Ferromagnetics, Magnetisation M, Magnetisation current, Magnetic intensity H, Magnetic permeability, Magnetic susceptibility, Magnetic circuits, Reluctance, Hysteresis, Permanent magnets, Boundary conditions for B and H.



Displacement current, fourth Maxwell equation, review of vector analysis, Electromagnetic Waves, Speed, Refractive index, Attenuation, Skin depth, Uniform Plane waves, Linear Polarisation, Energy density and Power of Waves, Waves at Boundaries - reflection & refraction.



Fresnel's equations, Brewster angle, Total Internal reflection.



Additional Mechanics:


A more sophisticated treatment of classical mechanics including the concept of generalised co-ordinates and introducing the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations.



Introduction and Review: Newton's Laws, motion of a system of N particles, conservation laws, energy, the Minimum Energy Principle, constraints, degrees of freedom, the Principle of Virtual work and D’Alembert’s Principle (with applications to simple systems).



Lagrangian Formulation and Applications: Generalised coordinates, velocities and forces leading to the derivation of Lagrange’s equation.  Application of the Lagrangian method to the projectile, simple pendulum, motion under the action of central forces, and motion in a rotating frame of reference (Coriolis and centrifugal forces). 



Hamiltonian Formulation: Generalised momenta, derivation of Hamilton ’s equations.  Application to the simple pendulum and central forces leading to a discussion of orbits.



Radiation Detection and Measurement:


·         Types of Radiation: general characteristics of alphas, betas, gamma- and X-rays, and neutrons.  Typical radioactive sources and methods of production.  Energy units (keV, MeV) and Q-values.


·         Interactions of Radiation with Matter: Definitions of suitable units: activity, exposure, absorbed dose, dose equivalent.  Interactions with matter of heavy charged particles, electrons, photons and neutrons.  Selection of suitable shielding materials.


·         Radiation Detector Properties and Measurements: covering the basic mechanisms of charge generation and transport in detectors, pulse processing using typical readout electronics, energy resolution and contributions to detector noise.


·         An overview of types of Radiation Detector:


i.         Gas Detectors: Ionisation processes, drift velocity and mobility.  Ionisation chambers, Avalanche.Proportional counters and Geiger-Muller Tubes.


ii.       Scintillation Detectors: principles of the Photo-Multiplier tube, Organic scintillators (liquid, plastic) and Inorganic scintillators (NaI(Tl), BGO).


  1. Semiconductor Detectors: Introduction to semiconductor properties: the band gap, reverse-biased junction and depletion regions.  X-ray spectroscopy with planar Si detectors with Si(Li) and Ge detectors, Alpha particle spectroscopy with planar Si detectors.  New high-Z semiconductors (GaAs, CdZnTe) for X-ray detection.



Galaxies and Large Scale Structures:


This component is an introduction to the physics of galaxies and large scale structures in the Universe.  The observational evidence will be reviewed.



The Milky Way


-     The nature of galaxies


-     Evidence for dark matter


-     Galactic evolution


-     Galaxy clusters


-     Superclusters


-     Larger scale structures


-     The Great Attractor


-          Active Galaxies



Experimentation (Physics/Nuclear Astrophysics):


You will perform a selection of five general physics experiments of two sessions each.  You will produce 10 lab diary entries, a full report on one experiment, and make an oral presentation on one experiment.  You will receive detailed marking and feedback on how to improve the usefulness of these, to yourself and others.  Typical experiments include: Optical fibres, Vibration interferometry, Chaos, Chromatic resolving power of a spectrometer, Laser speckle, optical image processing, supernova burst decay, etc.


Methods of Teaching/Learning

Electromagnetic Waves:


12 hours of lectures and tutorial periods.



Additional Mechanics:


12 hours of lecture classes.



Radiation Detection and Measurement:


12 hours of lecture classes.



Galaxies and Large Scale Structures:


12 hours of lectures and tutorial classes.



Experimentation (Physics/Nuclear Astrophysics):


10 four-hour laboratory sessions..


Selected Texts/Journals

Electromagnetic Waves:


i.                Grant & Philips, Electromagnetism, Wiley.


ii.              Halliday, Resnick and Walker , Fundamentals of Physics, [Extended Fifth Edition], Wiley.



Additional Mechanics:


i.                T L Chow, Classical Mechanics, Wiley.


Radiation Detection and Measurement:


i.                G F Knoll, Radiation Detection and Measurement, Wiley, 1989.



Galaxies and Large Scale Structures:


i.                B W Carroll & D A Osterlie, An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, Addision Wesley, 1996.



Experimentation (Physics/Nuclear Astrophysics):


Required Reading :


i.                Laboratory instruction sheets provided.


ii.               Physics Laboratory Handbook: Level 1, Physics Department.



Recommended Reading :


Squires, Practical Physics, McGraw Hill.


Last Updated

August 2010.