Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Modern Physics
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 40 Hours. 40 X 1 hour Lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 4


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 3 Hours   written examination  70%
Semester Assessment Course work: Example Sheets.  30%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

On Completion of the module students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the basic principles of classical physics, special relativity and quantum physics in the context of understanding physical phenomena across widely different length scales.
  • Deploy the central concepts of quantum physics in analysing the fundamental properties of atoms, molecules and semicoductors.
  • Understand the central concepts of raidoactive decay rates and of chemical forces.
  • Answer numerical problems in classical physics, Special Relativity and Quantum Physics.

Brief description

This module will provide a systematic understanding of the principles of modern physics from its origins to classical physics. The two strands will be used to develop the central concepts of dynamics, and energy, momentum and rotational motion embodied in Newton's Laws and the way in which these are altered in Einstein's theory of Special Relativity. The counter-intuitive concepts of Quantum Physics like wave-particle duality will be formulated and contrasted with the concepts of Classical Physics. Both approaches will be used to accurately predict physical phenomena in space and time, both on the macroscopic and on the microscopic scale. This will enable uncertainty and ambiguity to be understood at the quantum level and the precise orbits of the planets to be appreciated on astronomical scales. It will also provide the conceptual framework for understanding the fundamental properties of atoms, molecules and materials.

Reading List

Recommended Text
P.A. Tippler Physics for Scientists and Engineers Freeman Worth Primo search
Supplementary Text
A.P. French Newtonian Mechanics Van Nostrand Reinhold Primo search A.P. French Special Relativity Van Nostrand Reinhold Primo search Beiser Concepts of Modern Physics McGraw-Hill Primo search Wher, Richards and Adair Physics of the Atom Addison-Wesley Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5