Department of Physics


Stage III courses

Stage III courses in physics and geophysics are similar to the advancing Stage II courses. They cover a range of topics in pure and applied physics at a more advanced level. The wide selection offers considerable flexibility in planning a course of study for your personal interests.

PHYSICS 315-356, as listed below, involve lectures only, and PHYSICS 390 and 391 are laboratory-work only courses. GEOPHYS 330 and GEOPHYS 331 include laboratories or fieldwork as a practical component.

PHYSICS 315: Classical and Statistical Physics, PHYSICS 325: Electromagnetism and PHYSICS 350: Quantum Mechanics & Atomic Physics centre on conceptual and mathematical developments of fundamental ideas in physics. To benefit from this material, a GPA of more than 4.0 (corresponding to an average grade of B–) in the recommended preparation is desirable. A student planning postgraduate study in Physics would usually take at least two of these courses. Students with a lower GPA should select from the other Stage 3 courses in physics and geophysics.

Physics students are expected to perform laboratory work to complement their lecture courses. A theoretical Physics major usually includes only one laboratory course, but an experimental Physics major would probably include both laboratory courses. No more than one laboratory should be taken in any one semester.

Students intending to proceed to a Master of Science (MSc) in Physics should include PHYSICS 325 and 15 points from PHYSICS 390–391 in their BSc.

For the purposes of recommended preparation for Stage 3 Physics courses, some course combinations are equivalent:

  • PHYSICS 111 and 210 is equivalent to the combination of MATHS 150 and 250
  • PHYSICS 112 and MATHS 208 are equivalent to PHYSICS 210.

Where MATHS 253 is specified as a prerequisite for a Stage 3 Physics course, MATHS 260 is recommended preparation.

Find information about the course requirements for both the BSc in Physics and Geophysics
 

PHYSICS 315: Classical and Statistical Physics


Offered: Semester 1
Credit: 15 Points
Pre/Co-requisites: PHYSICS 231 and one of PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253 or ENGSCI

Statistical physics topics emphasise the description of macroscopic properties using microscopic models and include temperature, the partition function and connections with classical thermodynamics, paramagnetic solids, lattice vibrations, indistinguishable particles, classical and quantum gases. Classical mechanics topics include vector mechanics, coordinate transformations, rotating frames, angular momentum, rigid body dynamics, variational formulation, constraints, Lagrange equations, Hamiltonian mechanics and relationships with quantum mechanics.


Assessment: Assignments 30%, Exam 70%

Resources: Classical Mechanics (5th Ed), by T.W.B. Kibble and F.H. Berkshire (recommended) and Statistical Physics (2nd Ed), by F. Mandl (recommended).

Organiser: Malcolm Grimson

Course Outline: Physics 315

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PHYSICS 325: Electromagnetism


Offered: Semester 1
Credit: 15 points
Pre/Co-requisites:  B- average in PHYSICS 202 or 261, and 15 points from ENGSCI 211, MATHS 253, PHYSICS 211.  

A systematic development of Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism and its applications to optics. Topics covered include: electrostatics, dielectrics, polarisation, charge conservation, magnetostatics, scalar and vector potentials, magnetic materials, Maxwell’s equations, the wave equation. Propagation of electromagnetic waves in vacuum, dielectrics, conducting media. Energy and momentum in electromagnetic waves.


Assessment: Assignments 30%, Exam 70%

Resources: Introduction to Electrodynamics, David J. Griffiths (Prentice-Hall). The students are expected to have access to this book

Organiser: Maarten Hoogerland

Course Outline: Physics 325

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PHYSICS 326: Optics and Laser Physics


Offered: Semester 2
Credit: 15 points
Pre/Co-requisites: There are no formal prerequisites for this course but an understanding of the material to at least C+ standard in PHYSICS 211 and 261 will be assumed. A solid understanding of the basics of electromagnetic propagation (such as that covered in PHYSICS 325) would help since some EM- theory will be covered in the course

Lasers: electron oscillator model, rate equation model, Einstein coefficients, Fabry Perot etalons and resonators, optimum output coupling, reflection at a dielectric surface, waveguide theory, thin films, matrix techniques for optical elements, Gaussian beams and applications.


Assessment:
Assignments 30%, Exam 70%

Textbook: “Laser Physics” by S. Hooker and C. Webb, “Modern Classical Optics” by G. Brooker

Organiser: Neil Broderick

Course Outline: Physics 326

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PHYSICS 340: Electronics & Signal Processing


Offered: Semester 1
Credit: 15 pts
Pre-/Co-requisites: PHYSICS 240 + 1 stage 2 Maths paper

An introduction to analogue and digital electronics. Topics will be selected from: linear circuit theory, analytical and numerical network analysis, steady state and transient response of networks, feedback and oscillation, transistor circuits, operational amplifier circuits, sampling theory, digital filter design, the fast Fourier transform and digital signal processing.


Assessment: Tests 30%, Exam 70%
Textbook: “Network Theory and Digital Signal Processing”, 3rd Edition, 2015 © Gary E.J. Bold.

Organiser: Stuart Murdoch

Course Outline: Physics 340

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PHYSICS 350: Quantum Mechanics & Atomic Physics


Offered: Semester 1
Credit: 15 points
Pre-/Co‐requisites: B- average in one of PHYS 250, 251 and one of PHYS 211, MATHS 253, ENGSCI 211

Non-relativistic quantum mechanics will be developed using the three dimensional Schrödinger equation, and will be applied particularly to the physics of atoms and molecules. The interaction of like particles and the quantisation of angular momentum will be studied.


Assessment: Assignments 30%, Exam 70%

Textbook: Quantum Mechanics, F. Mandl (Wiley, New York, 1992), Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, 2nf edition, D. J. Griffiths (Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2004)

Organiser: Howard Carmichael

Course Outline: Physics 350

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PHYSICS 354: Condensed and Soft Matter Physics


Offered: Semester 2
Credit: 15 points
Pre-/Co-requisites: PHYSICS 231, 251 and one of PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253or ENGSCI 211

This course will introduce modern condensed matter physics, from the solid state through disordered systems to soft condensed matter. The quantum and statistical mechanical foundation of solid state physics will be covered including: crystal structures, phonons, electronic band theory, semiconductors, magnetism, ferroelectrics, superconductivity and amorphous solids. Glasses, liquids and soft condensed matter topics will include colloids, emulsions and foams.


Assessment: Assignments 30%, Exam 60%

Textbook: “Introduction to Solid State Physics” C. Kittel (8th ed., Wiley, 2005) “Soft Condensed Matter” R.A.L. Jones (OUP, 2002)

Organiser: Malcolm Grimson

Course Outline: Physics 354

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PHYSICS 356: Particle Physics and Astrophysics


(15 points) S2 C

Topics covered will be relativistic dynamics and application to fundamental particle interactions, the properties of strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions and the particle zoo. Nuclear astrophysics and the origin of the elements. Astrophysics topics will include the Big Bang, "concordance cosmology", redshifts, theories of dark matter, extra-solar planets, supernovae, and nuclear astrophysics.

Prerequisite: One of PHYSICS 250, 251 and one of PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, ENGSCI 211. Concurrent enrolment in PHYSICS390 or 391 is recommended.
Assessment: 30% coursework (0% if plussage applies), 70% final exam (100% if plussage applies)
Textbook: Consult department

Organiser: David Krofcheck

Physics 356: Course Outline

PHYSICS 390: Experimental Physics 1


(15 points) S1 C, S2 C

Students may select experiments from a wide spectrum of Physics that are appropriate to the lecture courses being taken from PHYSICS 315-355.

Prerequisite: At least one of PHYSICS 220 – 261.
Assessment: 100% coursework
Textbook: Pamphlets for each experiment available in the laboratory

Organiser: Maarten Hoogerland

Physics 390: Course Outline

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PHYSICS 391: Experimental Physics 2


(15 points) S1 C, S2 C

Experimental Work as for PHYSICS 390.

Prerequisite: At least one of PHYSICS 220 – 261.
Assessment: 100% coursework
Textbook: Pamphlets for each experiment available in the laboratory

Organiser: Maarten Hoogerland

Physics 391: Course Outline

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GEOPHYS 330: Physics of the Earth


Offered: Semester 2
Credit: 15 points
Pre-/Co-requisites:
EARTHSCI 103, PHYSICS 213 or GEOPHYS213, MATHS 208 (or equivalent)

Discussion of the Physics of the solid Earth including the gravitational field, the rotation and figure of the Earth, seismology and the internal structure of the Earth, the Earth’s internal heat, the geomagnetic field, paleomagnetism and geodynamics. The applied geophysics section covers the theoretical basis of geophysical exploration techniques, including seismic, potential field and electrical methods.


Assessment: Labs 20%, Tests 30%, Class participation 5%, Exam 45%
Textbook: Lowrie’s “Fundamentals of Geophysics” Cambridge University Press

Organiser: Kasper van Wijk

Course Outline: Geophys 330

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GEOPHYS 331: Physics of the Atmosphere and Ocean


Offered: Semester 1
Credit: 15 points
Pre-/Co-requisites: PHYS 230 or 231, and one of PHYS 211, MATHS 253, ENGSCI 211. PHYS 213 is recommended preparation.

The application of fluid dynamics to the motion of the atmosphere and oceans. Marine topics include ocean structure, oceanic circulation, underwater acoustics, tides and waves. Atmospheric topics include boundary layer meteorology and the microphysics of clouds and precipitation. A weekend field trip is a component of the course.


Assessment:
Assignments 20%, Tests 20%, Field Trip (mandatory) 10%, Exam50%

Textbook: Recommended reading -

“An Introduction to Atmospheric Physics,” 2nd Ed., D.G. Andrews, Cambridge, 2010.
“Elementary Climate Physics,” F.W. Taylor, Oxford 2005;
“Seawater: its composition, properties and behaviour,” 2nd Ed., The Open University, Butterworth-Heineman, 1995.
“Thermodynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean,” J. Curry & P. Webster, Academic Press, 1999

Organiser: Roger Davies

Course Outline: Geophys 331

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