School of Mathematics and Physics

Physics - Level 1 Modules

  •  PHY1001    Foundation Physics  (40 CAT Points)

Pre-Requisites:                  A-level Physics & A-level Mathematics or equivalent

Lecturers:                          Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, Prof Fred Currell, Dr Marco Borghesi, Dr David Jess, Dr Soveig felton

Course Content: 

Classical Mechanics: Linear Motion, Newton’s Laws, Force and Energy, Conservation Laws, Two-Body Dynamics, Centre of Mass, Reduced Mass, Collisions, Elasticity, Simple Harmonic Motion, Damped and Forced Oscillations, Rotational Motion, Torque, Angular Momentum, Moment of Inertia, Central Forces, Gravitation, Kepler’s Laws.

Special Relativity: Lorentz Transformations, Length Contraction and Time Dilation, Paradoxes, Velocity Transformations, Relativistic Energy and Momentum

Waves: Wave Equation, Travelling Waves, Superposition, Interference, Beats, Standing Waves, Dispersive Waves, Group Velocity, Doppler Effect

Electricity and Magnetism: Static electric and magnetic fields.   Time varying magnetic fields and motional emf.  Electrical circuit analysis including dc and ac theory and circuit transients

Light and Optics: Electromagnetic waves, dispersion by prisms and diffraction gratings, interference, diffraction, polarization, X-rays.

Quantum Theory: Wave-particle duality, Heisenberg uncertainty principle, photoelectric effect, Compton effect, pair production, blackbody radiation, hydrogen spectra, Bohr model, fundamental forces and particles, the Standard Model

Thermodynamics: Kinetic theory of gases, Van der Waal’s equation, first and second laws of thermodynamics, internal energy, heat capacity, entropy.  Thermodynamic engines, Carnot cycle.  Changes of state.

Solid State: Solids, crystal structure, bonding and potentials, thermal expansion.   Introduction to band structure of metals, insulators and semiconductors.   Origin and behaviour of electric and magnetic dipoles.

Compulsory Element :

Examination must be passed


Examination 50%   Assignments & Tutorials 20%   Group Project 20%   Class test 10%

  • PHY1002    Mathematics for Scientists and Engineers  (40 CAT Points)

Pre-Requisites:                  A-level Mathematics or equivalent

Lecturers:                         Prof Mihalis Mathioudakis, Dr Pedro Lacerda, Dr Brian Reville, Dr Chris Watson

Course Content: 

Fundaments of trigonometry: Sine, cosine, tangent functions. Their graphs in one dimension, their representation on the unitary circle, and representation as complex exponentials. Fundamental trigonometric identities.

Elements of Vectors: Vectors in the plane and space. Coordinates, scalar product, projections, and cross product.

Elements of linear algebra: Definition of matrices and operations. Determinant of a matrix. Solution of a system of linear equations. Gauss’ elimination method. Eigenvalues/eigenvectors. Vector/scalar products and identities.

Complex numbers: Concept of complex plane, vectorial and exponential representation of complex numbers. Real part and imaginary part. Fundamental operations with complex numbers: sum, subtraction, product, division, power and roots, and complex conjugate, Euler and de Moivre’s theorems

Euclidean geometry: equation of a line and a plane. Equation of the circle and the ellipse.

Analysis of a single-variable function: Definition of a function. Definition of limit and derivative. Methods to calculate limits and derivatives. Definition of continuity and singularities. Study of a function.

Elements of discrete calculus: Series with their limit and convergence theorems and methods.

Taylor and MacLaurin series and approximation of single-variable function: definition of orders of expansion

Integration in one variable: definition of definite and indefinite integral, integration by parts and by substitution, integral of a rational function, Gaussian integrals.

Ordinary differential equations: Definition of linearity and order of differential equations. Solutions for linear differential equations and main properties. Solution of specific non-linear cases.

Elements of multi-variable differential calculus: Definition of gradient, nabla, and practical use of these operators.

Curvilinear coordinates, Jacobian, Multi-variable integration, Stoke’s Theorem, Divergence theorem and Green’s theorem in the plane.


Compulsory Element :

Examination must be passed


Examination 50%   Assignments & Tutorials 20%      Class test 30%

  • PHY1003   Computational Modelling in Physics (20 CAT Points)

Pre-Requisites:                   A-level Mathematics or equivalent

Lecturers:                          Dr Tom Field & Dr Katja Poppenhaeger

Course Content:

Introduction to computation and coding.

Introduction to the use of numerical methods to, for example, solve equations (e.g. find roots, numerical integration) and model systems by numerically solving ordinary differential equations.

Introduction to working with experimental data with computer by, for example, fitting data, interpolation and extrapolation.

Introduction to Monte Carlo methods for computer simulation


 5 Assignments 100% (2 Short Assignments 25%  3 Standard Assignments 75%)

  •  PHY1004   Scientific Skills  (20 CAT Points)


Lecturers:                         Dr Miryam Arredondo, Dr David Jess, Dr Sanz, Dr Gianluca Sarri, Dr White, Dr Mark Yeung

Course Content:

Experimental Methods: Uncertainties, statistics, safety, using standard instruments

Experimental Investigation: Performing experiments on a range of phenomena in Physics, recording observations and results

Writing Skills: Scientific writing, writing abstracts, writing reports, writing for a general audience

Oral Communication: Preparing and executing oral presentations

Computer Skills: Using high level computing packages to analyse and present data, and solve problems computationally

Students spend 3 hours every week in the School Teaching Centre doing experimental or computational investigations and developing specific or transferrable skills. Pairs of students will do 15 experiments throughout the year writing short abstracts for each and two longer reports.

 Compulsory Element :

Lab work  must be passed


Lab Performance  50%   Computational 20%   Lab Report 10%   Essay 10%   Oral Presentation 10%