CY4056  Foundations of Physics (2021/22)
Module specification  Module approved to run in 2021/22  
Module title  Foundations of Physics  
Module level  Certificate (04)  
Credit rating for module  15  
School  School of Human Sciences  
Total study hours  150  


Assessment components 


Running in 2021/22 

Module summary
The module provides an introduction to key topics of Physics relevant to Chemistry and the Natural Sciences including classical mechanics, waves and vibrations, quantum mechanics, electrostatics, electromagnetism, optics and atomic spectroscopy. It gives an appreciation of the importance of modelling physical systems mathematically in order to predict the behaviour of chemical or biological systems.
Syllabus
Classical Mechanics
Newton’s laws of motion (including the use of vectors); the conservation of momentum and energy; kinetic and potential energy; power, fields and potentials; and angular motion. LO1,LO3,LO5,LO6
Waves and Vibrations
Simple harmonic motion; the harmonic oscillator; normal modes of vibration for diatomic and linear triatomic molecules; wave motion including superposition, standing waves and beats; constructive and destructive interference. LO1,LO3,LO5,LO6
Electrostatics
Coulomb’s law; the Bohr model of the H atom; the ionic model (including lattice energies); electric fields; electric dipole interactions; and intermolecular forces.
Electromagnetism
Introduction to magnetism; magnetic flux and flux density (including examples); particle motion in electric and magnetic fields; the Hall effect; Faraday’s Law of induction; magnetic properties of materials (diamagnetism, paramagnetism and ferromagnetism); magnetic fields in spectroscopy (NMR, ESR, the Zeeman effect). LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6
Optics
Electromagnetic waves; polarised light; reflection and refraction; revision of interference patterns and Young’s double slit experiment; interferograms and Fourier transforms, diffraction and diffraction gratings; and Bragg’s Law. LO1,LO3,LO5,LO6
Quantum Mechanics
Introduction to quantum mechanics; blackbody radiation; the photoelectric effect; line spectra; waveparticle duality; the Heisenberg uncertainty principle; wavefunctions; the Schrödinger equation; and particle in a 1D box (including applications). LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6
Atomic Spectroscopy
Absorption and emission of radiation; spectroscopic units, general features of experimental methods; line widths; quantum numbers; angular momenta; and an introduction to atomic terms and states. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6
Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity
Acquisition of knowledge of the subject matter of this module will be promoted through lecturerled lectures (20 hours) and tutorials (10 hours); directed webbased learning and through the guided use of studentcentred learning resources. Problem based workshops (6 hours) will be used to consolidate student knowledge with guidance for directed activities. Selfmanaged time and private study should be spread out over the whole semester and not left until the final weeks. In addition, there will be weekly dropin sessions, of one hour duration, which students can make use of in order to consolidate their understanding of the subject matter.
Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:
1. Describe the basis of the theories underpinning the various branches of physics covered
2. Predict the outcome of an experiment based on a specific model for system behaviour
3. Perform mathematical calculations correctly and manipulate data accurately
4. Analyse experimental data appropriately using tabular and graphical forms
5. Calculate the value of specified variables and critically review the results
6. Understand and analyse the limitations of individual models.
Assessment strategy
The module will be summatively assessed by means of two interactive problem based workshops (2 x 25%) and a 1 hour unseen written exam (50%). The students must pass with an overall mark of 40%.
Bibliography
Core texts: Ritchie, G. A. D., Sivia, D. S. (2000) Foundations of Physics for Chemists, Oxford Chemistry Primers, Oxford University Press.
Hollas, J. M. (2003) Modern Spectroscopy: 4th Edition, Wiley.
Other texts: Atkins, P., De Paula, J. and Keeler, J. (2017) Physical Chemistry, 11th edition, Oxford University Press
Atkins, P., and De Paula, J. (2011) Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences, 2nd edition, Oxford
Chang, R. and Thoman Jr., J.W. (2014) Physical Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences, University Sciences Books
Dogge, G., Cockett, M. (2012) Maths for Chemists: Edition 2, Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing
Websites: Specific links to websites will be given on Weblearn including links from www.khanacademy.org