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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS1240 Quantum Physics and Relativity (Geophysics)

10 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Alison Voice

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

A Level Physics and Maths or equivalent

This module is mutually exclusive with

PHYS1200Physics 1- Fundamental Forces
PHYS1231Introductory Physics (Geophysics)
PHYS1270Quantum Mechanics and Electricity (Joint Honours)

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

At the end of the nineteenth century, it was thought that all of physics was known. Albert Michelson claimed in 1894 that all that remained for physics was the filling in of the sixth decimal place. Little did he know that the dawn of the new century would bring with it two major revolutions: quantum theory and relativity. So significant were these changes that physics afterwards came to be known as 'modern physics'. In this course you will follow the historic discoveries that led to this new way of thinking and will cover the key concepts in their development.


At the end of this module you should be able to:
- derive and use the transformation equations of special relativity;
- compute the energy and momentum of relativistic particles;
- summarise relativistic systems on a Minkowski spacetime diagram;
- understand the core difference between quantum and classical physics;
- represent quantum systems with two classical states;
- compute measurement probabilities and quantum evolutions;
- apply the Heisenberg uncertainty relation and de Broglie wavelength to concrete physical systems;
- derive the Bohr model and use it to estimate energies of atoms and molecules;
- perform elementary computations relating to photons and radiation;
- understand the uses and philosophical implications of quantum entanglement

Learning outcomes
- Demonstrate a basic knowledge of common physical laws and principles, and some applications of these principles
- Identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems.

Skills outcomes
Problem solving in quantum physics and relativity


- Uses of quantum physics
- The Bohr model of the atom
- Photons and radiation
- The de Broglie wavelength
- The Heisenberg uncertainty relation
- Lorentz Transformations
- Relativistic kinematics
- Relativistic energy and momentum
- Four-vectors and Minkowski space

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours11.00
Private study hours67.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- Reading lecture notes and books
- Solving problems

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Tutorial sheets

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentRegular Coursework20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 30 mins80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

Same as PHYS1200 and PHYS1230. Students will have to complete an in-person exam at the end of the module. This will take place during the examinations period at the end of the semester and will be time bound. Students must submit a serious attempt at all assessments, in order to pass the module overall.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:31:37


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