Module Identifier PH21010  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Eleri Pryse  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Professor Keith Birkinshaw  
Pre-Requisite Core Physics Modules at Level 1  
Course delivery Lecture   20 lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   2 seminars/workshops/exercise classes; 2 tutorials  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours End of Semester Examinations  70%
Semester Assessment Course Work: Example Sheets Example Sheets 1,2,3,5,6, and 7 Deadlines are detailed in the Year 2 Example Sheet Schedule distributed by the Department 30%

Learning outcomes

After taking this module students should be able to:

Brief description

Classical mechanics is a very old subject with many of its principles being established by Sir Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century, yet it forms a strong foundation to modern physics. It aims to predict the behaviour of systems on the basis of certain postulates that are tested by experimental evidence. Classical mechancis has proved very successful for bodies moving at low speeds but is unable to describe phenomena involving speeds approaching that of light and in this respect it has been superseded by relativity. The module aims to describe some of the fundamental concepts of classical mechanics, and basic principles of relativity.



Special theory
Lorentz transformation; relativistic interval; Minkowski diagram; causality.
Transformation of velocities.
Relativistic optics: aberration of light; Doppler effect.
Relativistic dynamics: E=mc2; energy-momentum transformations and four-vector.
Compton scattering.

General theory
Inertial and gravitational mass; Principle of Equivalence.
Gravitational redshift; Clocks in a gravitational field.
Einstein's theory of gravity; geodesics; non-Euclidean space-time.
The Schwarzschild solution; black holes.


Harmonic motion: revision of simple harmonic motion, damped and forced harmonic motion.
Coupled osciallators.
Rotational motion: angular momentum and torque, moment of inertia; conservation of angular momentum, gyroscopic motion.
Introduction to Lagrangian mechanics.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
G.R. Fowles and G.L. Cassidy Analytical Mechanics Saunders College Publishing ISBN 0-03-098974-4
** Supplementary Text
A.P. French Special Relativity Van Nostrand Reinhold
G.F.R. Ellis and R.M. Williams Flat and Curved Space-Times Clarendon Press


This module is at CQFW Level 5