PHYC10080 Frontiers of Physics

Academic Year 2024/2025

This module introduces Einstein's theory of Special Relativity and the basis for the theory of Quantum Mechanics, with applications in atomic, nuclear and particle physics. The Lorentz Transformations are derived and used to explain length contraction and time dilation. E=mc2 is derived and simple particle kinematics are investigated. The nature of light is probed through the two-slit experiment and the photoelectric effect. Wave particle duality is discussed. The quantisation of energy and momentum is proposed and illustrated through Compton scattering and atomic spectra. Bohr's model of the atom is described. The fundamental particles, quarks and leptons, and the fundamental forces are described using the language of Feynman diagrams. alpha- beta- and gamma-radiation are explained from the perspective of the weak and strong forces. Radioactivity, including radioisotopic dating, is described. A model for the nucleus is discussed leading to an understanding of fission and fusion.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module the learner should have acquired a basic understanding of special relativity and the quantum description of the atom, including a sound foundation in selected areas of nuclear and particle physics. The learner should also be able to solve problems related to the various topics covered, having acquired a competence in the manipulation of appropriate mathematical tools.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Small Group




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures, homework, tutorial, class tests. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Students must have either at least an H5 LC Physics (or equivalent) or taken PHYC10070, this module must be taken in year 1.

Learning Recommendations:

PHYC 10070 should be taken in semester 1

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
PHYC10010 - Physics I, PHYC10020 - Physics of the Cell for lifesc, PHYC10030 - Physics of Macro-organisms, PHYC10090 - Physics II, PHYC10120 - Physics in Medicine, PHYC10130 - Physics II Medical Science, PHYC10140 - Diagnostic Imaging: Physics, PHYC10150 - Physics for Engineers I, PHYC10160 - Physics for Engineers II, PHYC10180 - Physics for Ag. Science, PHYC10190 - Aspects of Physics for Ag. Sci, PHYC10200 - Conceptual Physics

Physics of the Quantum World (EXPH10080)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade

Not yet recorded.

Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Tutorials, discussing work. Class tests and solutions. In-class and In-tutorial problems for self-assessment. Group work in class and tutorials. Marked work returned.

Young and Freedman, University Physics
Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodymanics

Name Role
Ms Angela Dunne O'Toole Tutor
Dr Ian Mercer Tutor
Mr John Wyatt Tutor