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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LLLC0185 Physics: Waves and Particles

10 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Emma Pittard

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module aims to develop your understanding of the physical properties of waves and the phenomenon which led to the current model of the atom, using theoretical descriptions, demonstrations and worked examples. Throughout this module you will be given lots of opportunities to develop your own problem solving skills, and learn how to apply the theories introduced to simple real-life situations. These will cover a diverse range of topics, from earthquakes to nuclear reactions that power the sun. Therefore this module will provide you with a chance to learn concepts and skills which can be applied to a variety of Science and Engineering degree programmes.


The aim of this module is to provide students with the core concepts and skills needed to succeed within the fields of Waves and Modern Physics. Through many worked examples students will be shown how to model simple real-life problems and apply the theories introduced.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
1. present physical ideas using appropriate scientific language, mathematical notation and diagrams
2. model a physical problem and formulate a mathematical solution to describe different physical phenomena
3. discuss the uses, safety implications and ethics of radiation and nuclear energy

Skills outcomes
- The ability to model a physical problem
- The ability to solve physical problems using mathematics
- The ability to use the knowledge gained in this module in new situations and to solve related problems
- To gain practical experimental skills in physics
- The ability to be able to describe, explain and interpret results in physics terms and be able to apply mathematical methods to analyse results


The content will be delivered through lectures, workshops and laboratory work, and will cover topics such as:
- Reflection and refraction (Snell's Law applied to EM waves, sound and seismic waves)
- Superposition of Waves
- Young's slits, single slit diffraction and diffraction gratings
- Atomic structure (the Bohr Model)
- Absorption and emission spectra
- Wave-particle duality (including the photoelectric effect and de Broglie's equation)
- Nuclear transformations and types of radiation
- The decay constant
- Binding energy
- Nuclear fission and fusion (including uses such as nuclear power stations)

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours35.00
Private study hours40.00
Total Contact hours25.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Independent on-line learning: 35
Private Study:
Reading: 10 Working example problems: 10 Preparing coursework: 10 Revision: 10

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Programmatically, in the first semester coursework will be predominately summative to encourage student engagement with the academic content and with the practice of independent study. In the second semester this scaffolding is removed and the focus shifts to more formative assessment to further develop the appropriate skills as independent learners to support undergraduate study.
For this module general feedback on assignment performance will be posted on Minerva, while individual feedback will also be provided upon marking of assignments. Students will also participate in self and peer review across the foundation year.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Written Work3 x 2 hour problem sets30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

Due to the developmental and pedagogical nature of some assessments and timings, there is not a viable opportunity to provide a resit for the following: Science mid-terms in the first semester; laboratory sessions provided by external departments, or after a coursework deadline has passed and the model answers have been shared. If a student fails the module coursework the resit opportunity will be an equivalent problem based learning assessment in July. Students who miss any of these learning opportunities can apply for mitigating circumstances and potentially could be given consideration at the exam board.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Unseen exam 2 hr 70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

Resits for the exam component of the module will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt during the July Resit period, in most cases, or during the next available opportunity.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 16:23:10


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