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Unit information: Preliminary Physics B - Electromagnetism, Thermodynamics and Atomic Physics in 2015/16

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Unit name Preliminary Physics B - Electromagnetism, Thermodynamics and Atomic Physics
Unit code PHYS10002
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Vasiljevic
Open unit status Open

GCSE Mathematics and Science or Physics or equivalent.



School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will introduce students to basics of electromagnetism with applications to simple circuits; basic laws of thermodynamics and ideal gas behaviour; to fundamental properties of matter on macroscopic level as well as the atomic and nuclear systems with key foundations of modern physics. In addition students will acquire basic laboratory techniques. The unit will introduce students to practical laboratory work, data analysis and experimental data presentation.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will perform calculations to determine the properties of simple electrical circuits; sketch the magnetic field associated with simple configurations of magnets or current carrying conductors; apply basic knowledge of electricity and magnetism to understand the concepts behind practical instruments.

Students will acquire knowledge of atomic models, explain the effects the four forces of nature have on the atom; recognise different types of atomic bonding and phase changes of matter; understand concepts of temperature and heat flow and transfer; apply the ideal gas laws as well as understand the implications of fundamental laws of thermodynamics.

Students will describe the kinetic theory of gases and molecules; perform simple calculations on transitions in atomic systems; understand black body radiation, photoelectric effect and recognize different types of nuclear decays and reaction.

Students will perform experimental work by taking measurements and analysing the results including the errors inherent in the apparatus, and write a formal report.

Teaching Information

4 lectures and 1 tutorial each week for 12 weeks and 6 laboratory sessions.

Assessment Information

Formative Assessment:

  • Weekly problem sheets which are marked and discussed in tutorials
  • Marked laboratory notebooks.

Summative Assessment:

  • 2 hour written exam (80%)
  • Laboratory mark (20%)

Engaging with, and passing, the laboratory element is a condition for the award of credit for this unit.

Reading and References

Recommended reading

  • Advanced Physics, Steve Adams and Jonathan Allday, Oxford Press, 2nd edition
  • Advanced Physics for You, Keith Johnson, Simmone Hewett, Sue Holt, and John Miller, Nelson Thornes.

Further reading

  • Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics, by Paul A Tipler, Gene P Mosca, W H Freeman, 6th edition.