PHYC10210 Quanta, Particles & Relativity

Academic Year 2024/2025

This module provides a thorough introduction to the Theory of Special Relativity and its application to laboratory and astrophysical problems. Galilean invariance and inertial frames of reference are introduced. The challenges posed by Maxwell's work on electromagnetic radiation and the Michelson-Morley experiment are discussed. Einstein's postulates are described and the Lorentz transformations derived. The kinematic consequences are derived including length contraction, time dilation, velocity transformation and the relativistic Doppler effect. Proper time and spacetime diagrams are introduced and used to analysis the twin "paradox". The dynamical results of special relativity are described including mass-energy equivalence, force, acceleration and conservation laws. These are applied to particles and quanta in laboratory and astrophysical problems.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module the student will,
1. have a thorough understanding of the Special Theory of Relativity and its applications,
2. understand the algebraic and diagramatic techniques used and,
3. be able to solve detailed problems in Special Relativiy.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Small Group


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures/Reflective learning/Enquiry and problem-based learning 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

It is recommended that students have at least an H5 in Leaving Certificate Physics, or equivalent, to take the module in first year of the Science programme.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Exam (Open Book): In-class, midterm, open-book exam n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Exam (In-person): In-person exam, after the end of teaching and takes place in an exam centre n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Assignment(Including Essay): Problem sheet to be submitted through Brightspace with 2-weeks given to complete n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring 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

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Ms Angela Dunne O'Toole Tutor