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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS1231 Introductory Physics (Geophysics)

15 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
PHYS1240Quantum Physics and Relativity (Geophysics)
PHYS1270Quantum Mechanics and Electricity (Joint Honours)

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Classical physics is built upon Newtonian mechanics. To understand the world around us we need to learn about forces and how masses respond to them. Aristotle said "we have scientific knowledge when we know the cause". Newton's laws of motion give us a framework on which to build our scientific understanding of the Universe. In this course you will learn how to apply these laws to a wide range of systems. You will learn about linear momentum, angular momentum, torques, projectiles, rigid bodies in equilibrium, toppling, centre of mass, gravity, and conservation of mechanical energy. This will all be taught from first principles and done rigorously, assuming only a modest knowledge of A level maths. In addition, we will introduce the basic concepts of electricity and magnetism. Electromagnetic interactions are one of the four fundamental forces of nature and an essential aspect of modern technologies. You will learn about electrostatics, electric and magnetic fields, currents and resistance, capacitors, and dc circuits. You will learn to apply these concepts to a range of physical problems and see how they are important in different applications.


At the end of this module you should be able to:
- describe the motion of particles in terms of their position, velocity and acceleration;
- discuss Newton's laws in the context of cause and effect;
- derive the work-energy theorem and define potential energy from a conservative force;
- discuss and utilise the conservation of momentum for a system of particles;
- discuss and utilise the conservation of angular momentum for rigid body rotation;
- describe and utilise Newton's theory of gravity;
- describe the basic mechanical properties of solids and fluids.
- understand and solve problems involving the Coulomb force;
- perform calculations on DC circuits (including capacitors, resistors and inductors) using Ohm’s and Kirchhoff's Laws);
- calculate the force on a charge moving in a magnetic field

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 mechanics and electricity


- Kinematics
- Dynamics, including gravity
- Rigid bodies
- Work & energy
- Rotation
- Basic Electrostatics: Coulomb force and capacitors
- Magnetostatics
- Lorentz force
- DC circuits
- Kirchoff's laws
- RC circuits

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours22.00
Private study hours95.00
Total Contact hours33.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

- reading lecture notes and books
- solving problems

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Weekly tutorials

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)2 hr 00 mins80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

same as PHYS1200 and PHYS1240, 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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