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Unit of study_

PHYS3037: Plasma and Astrophysics

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.

Code PHYS3037
Academic unit Physics Academic Operations
Credit points 6
(PHYS2011 OR PHYS2911 OR PHYS2921) AND (PHYS2012 OR PHYS2912 OR PHYS2922)
PHYS3035 OR PHYS3935 OR PHYS3040 OR PHYS3940 OR PHYS3941
PHYS3937 or PHYS3042 or PHYS3043 or PHYS3044 or PHYS3942 or PHYS3943 or PHYS3944
Assumed knowledge:
(MATH2021 OR MATH2921 OR MATH2061 OR MATH2961 OR MATH2067)

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

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of key concepts in two areas of physics - astrophysics and plasma physics
  • LO2. apply these concepts to develop models, and to solve qualitative and quantitative problems in scientific contexts, using appropriate mathematical and computing techniques as necessary
  • LO3. carry out and analyse experiments to measure specific effects
  • LO4. compare and critique experimental approaches
  • LO5. communicate scientific information appropriately, through written work
  • LO6. analyse a physical problem in plasma physics and astrophysics, and develop a formalism appropriate for solving it
  • LO7. demonstrate a sense of responsibility, ethical behaviour, and independence as a learner and as a scientist.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 2 weeks before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.