PHY-10024 - Nature of matter
Coordinator: Patrick J Connell Room: LJ 2.03 Tel: +44 1782 7 34922
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 734921

Programme/Approved Electives for 2020/21


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2020/21

This level 4 module is delivered in the first semester and provides an introduction to the subject material that bridges the gap between pre-university study and the first year of a university Physics/Astrophysics course. It explores the nature of solid and gaseous matter from the classical picture to the need for a quantum description. It sets the stage for more advanced study of quantum physics, thermodynamics and solid state physics in the second year.
A mathematics component is included, in which fundamental techniques routinely used in physics are taught and practised. There is also a laboratory component, which involves bench work, computing and communication exercises.

To provide an understanding of the behaviour of gases and solids in terms of the atomic and quantum nature of matter, and to introduce the mathematics necessary to achieve this understanding. To provide insight into some of these topics through laboratory work.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Understand basic concepts in classical physics and their application to gases and solids, will be achieved by assessments.
Appreciate (i) inadequacy of classical physics and (ii) the need for quantum theory to understand gases and solids, will be achieved by assessments.
Use mathematics (including calculus) in solving physical and astrophysical problems, will be achieved by assessments.
Carry out laboratory experiments, keep a complete, accurate and professional account of the work. Communicate the results in a professional manner via laboratory reports. Manipulate data using IT. Develop algorithms and write simple code, will be achieved by assessments.

Study hours

Lectures 24h
Problem classes 6h
Laboratory sessions 18h
Maths support classes 5h
Maths problem classes 4h
Problem sheets 18h
Maths class test/unseen examination 1h
Laboratory reports 12h
Directed reading/independent study 60h
Examination 2h

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Unseen Exam weighted 40%
2-hour unseen written examination
Exam paper has two sections: Section A - 10 short questions with total marks 40/100; Section B - choice of 2 out of 4 long questions worth 60/100 marks.

2: Class Test weighted 20%
1-hour unseen Mathematics examination

3: Laboratory Assessment weighted 20%
Laboratory and Computing Sessions
Continuous assessment of a laboratory diary containing several experiments (weight 30%). Assessment of a formal lab report (weight 60%). Assessment of a computer programming exercises (weight 10%).

4: Problem Sheets weighted 10%
Problem Sheets
Three assessed problem sheets.

5: Tutorial weighted 10%
Problem Classes
Tutor-moderated classes in which students complete assigned problems on Maths and Nature of Matter, with assistance given as necessary. Assessment is based on weekly attendance and engagement.