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Durham University

Department of Physics

PHYS3561 Physics Problem Solving (2018/19)

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 is given below, together with book lists and a link to the current library catalogue entries. For an explanation of the library's categorisation system see


General Problems

Prof A.C. Edge and others

8 workshops in Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms


Additional: Physics for Scientists and Engineers, P.A. Tipler (Worth)
Additional: Physics by Example: 200 Problems and Solutions, W.G. Rees (CUP)
Additional: Physics with Answers: 500 Problems and Solutions, A.R. King and O. Regev (CUP)
Additional: Cambridge Problems in Physics, P.P. Dendy, R. Tuffnell and C.H.B. Mee (CUP)
Additional: University Physics, H.D. Young and R.A. Freedman (Pearson)

Syllabus: In each workshop students will attempt to solve problems which involve basic physical concepts. Advice and instruction will be provided by the members of staff supervising the class. They also provide opportunity for you to obtain further feedback on the self-assessed formative weekly problems. Each student will be allocated to attend one of the two groups, each of which will have a workshop fortnightly. To aid preparation for the May/June General Problems paper, there will be a ‘Collection' examination near the end of the Michaelmas Term. The examinations will be open-book and will contain questions on topics that may not have been included in the classes. The workshops for this module are not compulsory.

Problem exercises: See

Computing Project

Dr C. Zambon and others

7 sessions in Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms


Additional: Beginning Python - From Novice to Professional, M. L. Hetland
Additional: Beginning Python Visualisation, S.Vaingast
Additional: Computational Physics, N.J.Giordano & H. Nakauiski
Additional: Computational Physics, R.H. Landon, M.J, Piaz. & C.C. Bordeianu

Syllabus: Employing their programming skills gained from the Level 2 module Laboratory Skills and Practice, students will undertake a computational project in Physics selected from a wide range of problems reflecting the various research interests of the Department. Students will use the program they develop to produce a writen research report at the end of the course.

Students will submit their preferences for computing project topic at the point of module selection in June.

Presentation: Students present a 10-minute talk outlining their interpretation of the project, a classic research paper and how they will extend their project.

Poster: Students will prepare a poster summarising their work on the computer project. Students will then receive feedback on their poster, prior to writing their report.