Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
A-level Mathematics
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 x 1-hour sessions of lectures and example classes


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   : Written examination  70%
Semester Assessment Course work: 2 assignment sheets  30%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   : Written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Describe the basic principles of Dynamics and Special Relativity;
2. Model problems in dynamics and special relativity with mathematical equations, apply basic solution techniques to these equations and interpret the results in the physical context;
3. Solve numerical problems in dynamics and special relativity.

Brief description

This module provides an introduction to the classical theory of dynamics and the theory of special relativity. The problems addressed in dynamics will involve classical kinematics, Newton's Laws, energy and momentum and motion in a gravitational field. The implications of the principles of special relativity for the concepts of space and time will also be studied.


The module develops the principles and techniques of dynamics and relativity. Emphasis will be placed on the solution of problems, and examples sheets will include numerical exercises. This module is appropriate as a core module for honours degree schemes in Mathematics and Physics. It also prepares students for the more advanced approach to these topics developed in MP21010.


Scalar and vector quantities, position vector, vector components, unit vectors, scalar and vector products.

Kinematics: constant acceleration, projectile motion.
Newton's Laws of Motion: momentum, weight, contact forces on solids, friction, circular motion and centripetal force, drag force.
Work and Energy: work done by force, kinetic energy, power, conservative force, potential energy, conservation of mechanical energy.
Conservation of Momentum: centre-of-mass, collisions, coefficient of restitution, rocket propulsion.
Gravity: Kepler's Laws, Newton's Law of Gravity, gravitational potential energy.

Introduction and discussion of the shortcomings of pre-relativistic physics, which lead to the simple postulates of Special Relativity, with far-reaching results in our understanding of space and time. The Lorentz-Einstein transformations are derived from the postulates, leading to an understanding of time-dilation and Lorentz contraction.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Problem solving Problem solving skills are developed throughout this module and tested in assignments and in the written examination.

Reading List

General Text
Tipler, Paul Allen (2004.) Physics for scientists and engineers /[Paul A. Tipler, Gene Mosca] 5th edition. W.H. Freeman Primo search
Recommended Text
French, A. P. (1968 [unspecifi) Special relativity /A.P. French. CRC Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4