Physics and astronomy
Foundations of Modern Physics
Module code: F3241
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Workshop, Class
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework
This module gives you an introduction to the foundations of modern physics.
Topics covered include:
- Historical context, physics in the 19th century
- black-body radiation, Planck's quanta, photons, photoelectric effect, Compton effect
- atoms, atomic spectra, Franck-Hertz and Stern-Gerlach experiments
- Bohr theory of the atom
- De Broglie waves
- Heisenberg uncertainty principle
- bosons and fermions, antimatter, Bose-Einstein condensates
- periodic system of elements
- relativity: Historical perspective
- inertial frames and transformations, Newton's laws in inertial frames
- Michelson-Morley experiment - observed constancy of speed of light, Einstein's assumptions
- Lorentz-Einstein transformations, Minkowski diagrams, Lorentz contraction, time dilation
- transformation of velocities - stellar aberration, variation of mass, 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.