MA2MPHNU-Mathematical Physics

Module Provider: Mathematics and Statistics
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: MA0MANU Mathematical Analysis and MA1LA Linear Algebra and MA1DE1NU Differentiable Equations I
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Calvin Smith


Type of module:

Summary module description:

The course continues the applied stream of mathematical education from e.g. mathematical modelling and facilitates to choose further physics- or biology-related modules in the third and fourth years. In this module, we show for several examples how mathematical problems arise in the description of nature and what their solution means for the phenomena under study. In this module you will also study how different mathematical concepts arise from physical phenomena, and in particular discover that completely different areas of physics can be described by exactly the same mathematical equations.

The Module lead at NUIST is Dr Raul Sanchez Galan.


  1. Foster a fluency in dialogue between mathematical and physical sciences;

  2. Build up mathematical intuition from analogies with physical problems;

  3. Familiarise students with the elements of theoretical physics to broaden their horizons.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students will be familiar with the concepts of units, dimensional analysis and well-defined physical laws. They will be able to apply them to analyse physical descriptions and formulate well-defined mathematical problems based on the descriptions.

The main skill we will be developing during the module is the ability to separate important factors from the unimportant ones and to create models of different levels of sophistication. We will study these using examples from heat transfer and mass diffusion.

Additional outcomes:

Confidence in facing real world problems.

Outline content:

  • Newtonian Mechanics;

  • Conservation laws;

  • System of units, dimensional analysis;

  • Continuity and diffusion equations;

  • Laws of Thermodynamics;

  • Heat equation;

  • Variational principles in nature.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures supported by problem sheets and lecture-based tutorials.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 48
Tutorials 16
Guided independent study: 36
Total hours by term 0 100 0
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

2 hours.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

A number of assignments and one examination.

Formative assessment methods:

Problem sheets and one midterm exam.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor 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:

A mark of 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

One examination paper of 2 hours duration in June/July - the resit module mark will be the higher of the exam mark (100% exam) and the exam mark plus previous coursework marks (70% exam, 30% coursework).

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 17 April 2020


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