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Department of Physics

PHYS3551 Theoretical Physics (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


Quantum Mechanics

Dr S. Pascoli

18 lectures + 4 examples classes in Michaelmas Term

Syllabus: Fundamental concepts of Quantum Mechanics: state vectors, operators, eigenvalues and expectation values, commutation relations, uncertainty principle, time evolution postulates. Operator methods: simple harmonic oscillator, angular momentum, spin. Motion in a central potential. Identical particles. Scattering theory.


Introductory quantum mechanics, R. L. Liboff (Addison - Wesley), R
An Introduction to Quantum Theory, F.S. Levin (CUP), E
Quantum Mechanics, F. Schwabl (Springer), B
Modern Quantum Mechanics, J.J. Sakurai (Addison-Wesley), B
Quantum Mechanics, B.H. Bransden and C.J. Joachain (Longman), E
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, D.J. Griffiths (Pearson/Prentice Hall), B

Special Relativity and Electromagnetism

Dr P. Richardson 

18 lectures + 4 examples classes in Epiphany Term

Syllabus: Principle of Relativity. Lorentz transformation. Elementary tensor calculus, summation convention, covariant and contravariant 4-vectors, Minkowski metric, Levi-Civita and Kronecker tensors. Covariant electrodynamics. 4-potentials and gauge invariance. Field tensor. Maxwell's equations in tensor form. Wave equation. Retarded potential.


Introduction to Special Relativity, W. Rindler (OUP), E
Introduction to the Relativity Principle, G. Barton (Wiley), R
Modern Problems in Classical Electrodynamics, C.A. Brau (OUP), B
Classical Electrodynamics J.O. Jackson (Wiley), B


2 lectures in Easter Term, one by each lecturer.

Teaching methods

Lectures: 2 one-hour lectures per week.

Examples classes: These provide an opportunity to work through and digest the course material by attempting exercises and assignments assisted by direct interaction with the lecturers and demonstrators. Students will be divided into groups, each of which will attend one one-hour class every two weeks.

Problem exercises:  See