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Unit of study_

PHYS2911: Physics 2A (Advanced)

How energy and matter interact is at the very foundation of physics. We will explore two of the most important aspects of such interactions, as well as developing skills in experimental and computational physics. This unit covers similar topics to PHYS2011, but treats them with greater depth and more rigorously develops the derivation of key concepts. First, we will study optics, the properties of light and its interactions with matter. We will focus on the wave nature of light and effects such as refraction, diffraction and interference. In our second module we will study thermodynamics, a subject central to many branches of science, with applications from the smallest systems of atoms to the big bang. We will examine the concepts such as entropy, thermodynamic interactions, engines and heat. In the computational physics module students will develop computational thinking skills for simulating and understanding physics. These skills are essential to modern physics, particularly in a diversity of complex systems, from the brain and AI to quantum computing. In the experimental physics module students will carry out in-depth experiments, each one spanning several weeks, building experimental skills. Experimental topics include the nature of light, the properties of matter, electrical circuits, astrophysics and others.

Code PHYS2911
Academic unit Physics Academic Operations
Credit points 6
65 or above in (PHYS1901 or PHYS1001 or PHYS1002 or PHYS1903) and 65 or above in (PHYS1902 or PHYS1003 or PHYS1004 or PHYS1904)
PHYS2011 or PHYS2921
Assumed knowledge:
First year thermodynamics as studied in PHYS1001 or PHYS1901/PHYS1903. Students who have done PHYS1002 should self-study chapters 17-20 of the first year textbook (Pearson's University Physics) prior to the thermodynamics module of this unit. (MATH1X21 or MATH1931 or MATH1X01 or MATH1906 or MATH1011) and (MATH1X02) and (MATH1X23 or MATH1933 or MATH1X03 or MATH1907 or MATH1013) and (MATH1X04 or MATH1X05)

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the key concepts in two foundation areas of physics - optics and thermodynamics
  • LO2. apply these concepts to develop models, and to solve qualitative and quantitative problems in scientific and engineering contexts, using appropriate mathematical and computing techniques as necessary
  • LO3. understand the nature of scientific measurement, and skills in the measurement of physical quantities and the handling of data
  • LO4. find and analyse information and judge its reliability and significance
  • LO5. communicate scientific information appropriately, both orally and through written work
  • LO6. engage in team and group work for scientific investigations and for the process of learning
  • LO7. develop a sense of responsibility, ethical behaviour and independence as a learner and as a scientist.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 1 week before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.