Looking at the sky it is easy to forget our Sun and the stars are continuous giant nuclear explosions, or that nebulas are vast fields of ionized gases, all obeying the same laws of physics as anything else in the universe. Astrophysics gives us great insight in the larger structures of the universe, and plasma physics is key to understanding matter in space, but also in fusion reactors or for advanced material processing. This selective unit in the physics major will provide an introduction to astrophysics and plasma physics, complemented with experimental labs. You will study three key concepts in astrophysics: the physics of radiation processes, stellar evolution, and binary stars. You will gain understanding of the physics of fundamental phenomena in plasmas and apply basic methods of theoretical and experimental plasma physics. Examples will be given, where appropriate, of the application of these concepts to naturally occurring and man-made plasmas. You will learn and apply new experimental and data analysis techniques by carrying out in-depth experimental investigations on selected topics in physics, with expert tutoring. In completing this unit you will gain understanding of the foundations of modern physics and develop skills in experimental physics, measurement, and data analysis.
Lecture 3h/week, tutorial 1h/fortnight, experimental lab 18h/semester
2x topical assignments (5% each), overarching problem assignment (10%), experimental physics logbook (15%), experimental physics report and peer review (10%), Plasma physics online quizzes (5%), Astrophysics computer labs (5%), final exam (45%)
(MATH2021 OR MATH2921 OR MATH2061 OR MATH2961 OR MATH2067)
(PHYS2011 OR PHYS2911 OR PHYS2921) AND (PHYS2012 OR PHYS2912 OR PHYS2922)Co-requisites
PHYS3035 OR PHYS3935 OR PHYS3040 OR PHYS3940 OR PHYS3941Prohibitions
PHYS3937 or PHYS3042 or PHYS3043 or PHYS3044 or PHYS3942 or PHYS3943 or PHYS3944