Physics and astronomy
Foundations of Modern Physics
Module code: F3241
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Workshop, Class
Assessment modes: Coursework, Unseen examination
This module gives you an introduction to the foundations of modern physics. It covers the following topics:
- The historical context, including physics in the 19th century.
- Black-body radiation, Planck's quanta, photons, photoelectric effect and the Compton effect.
- Atoms, atomic spectra, Franck-Hertz and the Stern-Gerlach experiments.
- The Bohr theory of the atom.
- De Broglie waves.
- Heisenberg uncertainty principle
- Bosons and Fermions, antimatter and Bose-Einstein condensates.
- The periodic system of elements.
- Relativity from a historical perspective.
- Inertial frames and transformations amd Newton's laws in inertial frames.
- The Michelson-Morley experiment - observed constancy of speed of light and Einstein's assumptions.
- Lorentz-Einstein transformations, Minkowski diagrams, Lorentz contraction and time dilation.
- Transformation of velocities - stellar aberration, variation of mass and mass-energy equivalence.
- Lorentz transformations for momentum and energy.
Pre-Requisite: A-level Physics
Co-Requisites: (F3210) Classical Mechanics ; (G5128) Mathematical Methods for Physics
Module learning outcomes
- Demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts of quantum physics and of the reasons why classical physics has failed to describe the properties of light and matter in microscopic systems.
- Apply relativistic principles and/or conservation and invariance properties to solve simple problems of special relativity.