PH102-Atomic and Nuclear Physics

Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Maarten Ambaum


Type of module:

Summary module description:

In this module we will introduce the basics of quantum mechanics and present applications in atomic, molecular, and nuclear physics.

The aim of the module is to equip students with a solid understanding of the structure of atoms and molecules, as well as aspects of nuclear physics. In association with this, students will cover relevant elements of quantum mechanics.

Students should be able to apply this knowledge to a range of situations, both familiar and unfamiliar, by conceptualising the core physical principles required to understand the system. They should be able to make appropriate approximations and hence compute the physical behaviour of a system.

Assessable learning outcomes:

• Ability to describe and explain the basic structure and behaviour of atoms, molecules and nuclei, using relevant quantum mechanical and quasi-classical physical models;

• Ability to manipulate equations in order to quantitatively solve simple problems relating to atoms, molecules and transport phenomena;

• Ability to analyse a problem or system and determine which physical processes are most important/relevant;

• Ability to then make appropriate approximations in order to simply/conceptualise complex systems;

• Ability to recognise and apply familiar physical processes in unfamiliar systems.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

  1. Elements of quantum mechanics

  2. Models of the atom and electron structure

  3. Molecules and bonding

  4. Quantum mechanical oscillations

  5. Vibration and rotation

  6. Nuclear physics and radioactivity

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures and tutorials.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Tutorials 20
Guided independent study 70
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 80
Written assignment including essay 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Examinations: Written 2h exam contributes 80% of the final mark.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Coursework: One mid-term assignment (20% of the final mark). Relative percentage of coursework: The assignments contribute 20% of the final mark 

Formative assessment methods:
Problem sheets during guided tutorials.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    An average of 40% across the whole module.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Via a written resit exam in August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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