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Department of Physics

PHYS1122 Foundations of Physics 1 (2010/11)

Details of the module's prerequisites, learning outcomes, assessment and contact hours are given in the official module description in the Faculty Handbook - follow the link above.  A detailed description of the module's content, together with book lists, is given below.  For an explanation of the library's categorisation system see http://www.dur.ac.uk/physics/students/library/.

Content and Teaching Methods

Introduction

Dr G.D. Love

2 lectures in Michaelmas Term

Syllabus: The nature of Physics; solving Physics problems; using and applying Mathematics; using MasteringPhysics; note-taking; study skills; the importance of private study; sources of help and support.  Standards and units; unit consistency and conversions; uncertainty and significant figures; estimates and orders of magnitude; vectors and vector addition; components of vectors, unit vectors, products of vectors.

Textbooks:

University Physics (with MasteringPhysics), H.D. Young and R.A. Freedman (Pearson, 12th Ed.), E

Mechanics

Dr A. Signer

24 lectures in Michaelmas Term

Syllabus: Motion along a straight line; motion in two or three dimensions; Newton's laws of motion; applying Newton's laws; work and kinetic energy; potential energy and energy conservation; momentum, impulse and collisions; rotation of rigid bodies; dynamics of rotational motion; equilibrium and elasticity; gravitation; periodic motion; fluid mechanics.

Textbooks:

University Physics (with MasteringPhysics), H.D. Young and R.A. Freedman (Pearson, 12th Ed.), E

Thermodynamics

Dr T.P. Roberts

12 lectures in Michaelmas Term

Syllabus: Temperature and heat; thermal properties of matter; the first law of thermodynamics; the second law of thermodynamics.

Textbooks:

University Physics (with MasteringPhysics), H.D. Young and R.A. Freedman (Pearson, 12th Ed.), E

Waves and Optics

Prof P.D. Hatton

12 lectures in Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms

Syllabus: Mechanical waves; sound and hearing; the nature and propagation of light; geometric optics and optical instruments; interference; diffraction.

Textbooks:

University Physics (with MasteringPhysics), H.D. Young and R.A. Freedman (Pearson, 12th Ed.), E

Electromagnetism

Dr M. Szablewski

24 lectures in Michaelmas, Epiphany and Easter Terms

Syllabus: Electric charge and electric field; Gauss's law; electric potential; capacitance and dielectrics; current, resistance and electromotive force; direct-current circuits; magnetic field and magnetic forces; sources of magnetic field; electromagnetic induction; inductance; alternating current; electromagnetic waves.

Textbooks:

University Physics (with MasteringPhysics), H.D. Young and R.A. Freedman (Pearson, 12th Ed.), E

Modern Physics

Prof E.W.N. Glover

24 lectures in Epiphany and Easter Terms

Syllabus: Relativity; photons, electrons, atoms; the wave nature of particles; quantum mechanics; atomic structure; molecules and condensed matter; nuclear physics; particle physics and cosmology.

Textbooks:

University Physics (with MasteringPhysics), H.D. Young and R.A. Freedman (Pearson, 12th Ed.), E

Revision Lectures

5 lectures in Easter Term

Tutorials

Personal tutors

One 1-hour tutorial per week in Michaelmas, Epiphany and Easter Terms

Each student is assigned to a member of staff who acts as the student's academic tutor for the year. As part of a group of typically seven or eight students, you will meet with your tutor regularly from the start of the year and will discuss various topics in physics. Tutors will use the weekly problems as a basis for these discussions and will try to ensure that you gain a secure foundation, particularly in Mathematics. Tutors will also give advice on study skills, the transition from school to university, problem-solving techniques and revision skills. The tutorial provides an excellent forum for you to raise issues of interest or difficulty and should not deteriorate into a monologue by the tutor. The more preparation and effort you put into the tutorial, the more you will get out of it. A notice will be displayed at the start of the Michaelmas Term listing tutors and tutees. The first tutorial will take place in the second teaching week of the term.

Problem exercises

See http://www.dur.ac.uk/physics/students/problems/.

Self-study

In order to develop your skills in independent learning, from time to time lecturers will set certain topics for self-study. These topics will take the form of specific sections of the course textbook or other clearly-defined resources. This is an integral and compulsory part of the course, and topics set for self-study will be assessed through problem exercises and the examinations.