PHY2029 : Physics in the Modern World

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To introduce students to a selection of topics of contemporary physics and its applications in areas where the involved Schools have an international reputation.

Module summary

The course will describe a selection of case studies in ‘hot’ topics of modern physics. The selection of topics and the list of lecturers involved, may vary from year to year. Each topic will be presented in lectures by a member of staff working in that area. These will include some of recent ideas and results. Typically, each group of 8 contact hours will comprise three 2h lectures, and a 2h discussion/tutorial/seminar, together with directed reading.

Outline Of Syllabus

The topics in 2016-17 will be drawn from the following list:

Surface analysis: X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, secondary ion mass spectrometry, vibrational spectroscopy, scanning probe microscopy, multivariate data analysis.

Superfluid helium II:The most striking property of helium II at temperatures close to absolute zero is its ability to flow without any viscous dissipation. The syllabus of lectures on this topic is as follows. Properties of classical fluids. Continuity equation. Viscosity. Euler and Navier-Stokes equations. Properties of helium II; phase diagram. Thermal and mechanical effects. Two-fluid model; Andronikashvili experiment; normal and superfluid densities; Landau-Tisza equations. Second sound. Thermal counterflow and engineering applications. Helium in rotation; quantized vortex lines.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion38:2025:00Written courseworks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00Formal lectures and tutorials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery120:102:00Office hours
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study31:003:00Assignment review
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study146:0046:00Studying, practicing, and gaining understanding of course material.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The material will be delivered through the medium of lectures. The tutorials will allow the students to discuss the material of the course and work on exercises set through the course. In addition office hours (two per week) provide an opportunity for more direct contact between individual students and the lecturer: a typical student might spend a total of one or two hours over the course of the module, either individually or as part of a group.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M50Report 1 (based on calculations). Approx. 1500 words
Report2M50Report 2. Approx. 1500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Written coursework assignments allow the students to practice the methods learnt in the module, to develop their problem solving and modelling techniques, to assess their progress and to receive feedback; this assessment has a secondary formative purpose as well as a primary summative purpose.

Reading Lists