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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS1270 Quantum Mechanics and Electricity (Joint Honours)

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Alison Voice

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

A level Physics and Maths or equivalent

This module is mutually exclusive with

PHYS1200Physics 1- Fundamental Forces
PHYS1231Introductory Physics (Geophysics)
PHYS1240Quantum Physics and Relativity (Geophysics)

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This course combines an introduction to one of the greatest theories in classical physics with the two great revolutions in modern physics. Electromagnetic interactions are one of the four fundamental forces of nature and an essential aspect of modern technologies. You will learn about: the key concepts in electricity and magnetism and see how they can be applied in a range of physical situations; how physics received a major shake-up at the beginning of the twentieth century with the advent of quantum physics and relativity. 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;
- 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
Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of the following:

In Quantum Physics:
1. Core differences between classical and quantum physics.
2. Heisenberg Uncertainty Relation.
3. Quantum aspects of atoms and radiation.

In Relativity
1. Lorentz transformations
2. Minkowski space
3. Relativistic dynamics

In Electromagnetism
1. Electric circuits and Kirchoff’s laws
2. Charge and electric fields
3. Charge and magnetic fields

Skills outcomes
Problem solving in quantum physics, relativity and electricity


- 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
- 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 hours11.00
Private study hours106.00
Total Contact hours33.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

- reading lecture notes and books
- solving problems

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentRegular coursework20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

Resit by exam only in standard format.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

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.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:55:12


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