## Courses - Faculty of Science

# Physics

### Preparatory Courses

Preparatory Physics 1

A preparatory course for students who have not previously studied physics. Topics include the nature of light; wave motion; basic mechanics of motion in a straight line, including the concepts of momentum and energy; an introduction to heat.

*Restriction: PHYSICS 91F*

### Stage I

Models and Reality

Explore the role of models in physical science and what they contribute to our understanding of the world, and the concepts of reductionism and emergence. Topics include particle physics, materials science, and climate; and the use of models that explain dynamics of populations and artificial systems, including epidemiology, flocking in birds and fish, and the spread of information in social networks.

Basic Concepts of Physics

An introduction to the basic principles of physics. Key topics are the physical description of motion, electricity and magnetism. The course focuses on the science of everyday phenomena and the understanding of important physical concepts. This course will equip students with little prior knowledge of physics to succeed in PHYSICS 120 or 160.

*Restriction: PHYSICS 103*

Advancing Physics 1

For students progressing in physical science. Key topics are mechanics, energy, rotation, oscillations, waves and thermodynamics. This is a calculus based course, focusing on fundamental principles, problem solving and hands-on exercises. *Prerequisite: PHYSICS 102, or at least 4 credits in the Mechanics (91524) or Waves (91523) standards in NCEA Level 3 Physics and at least 6 credits in the Differentiation (91578) or Integration (91579) standards in NCEA Level 3 Calculus, or equivalent with departmental approval*

*Restriction: PHYSICS 160*

Advancing Physics 2

For students progressing in physical science. Key topics are electrostatics, electromagnetism, circuits, optics, relativity and quantum mechanics. This is a calculus based course, focusing on fundamental principles, problem solving and hands-on exercises. *Prerequisite: PHYSICS 120, or 24 credits in the Mechanics (91524), Electricity (91526), Differentiation (91578), Integration (91579) standards in NCEA Level 3 at merit or excellence, or equivalent with departmental approval*

*Restriction: PHYSICS 150*

Digital Fundamentals

An introduction to the physical basis of modern computing for Computer Science students and anyone with an interest in modern Information Technology. Key topics are Boolean Algebra, logic circuits, and digital information processing. Hands-on laboratory work is a key component of the course. No prior electronics or programming knowledge is assumed.

*Restriction: PHYSICS 219, 243*

Physics for the Life Sciences

Designed for students intending to advance in the biomedical and life sciences, this course is focused on physical principles relevant to biological systems. Key topics are motion, waves, thermal physics, electricity and instrumentation. The course is primarily algebra-based and includes lectures, laboratories and tutorials. Recommended preparation is NCEA Level 2 Physics and Mathematics, or equivalent.

*Restriction: PHYSICS 120*

### Stage II

Classical and Thermal Physics

Classical mechanics and thermal physics. Key topics are linear and rotational motion in three dimensions, fluids, oscillations and mechanical waves, and the laws of thermodynamics. The course will cover both fundamental principles and applied topics, such as planetary dynamics and spacecraft navigation, ultrasound, atmospheric physics and materials science.

*Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 120, 121, 150 and 15 points from ENGSCI 211, MATHS 208, 250, PHYSICS 211* *
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Restriction: PHYSICS 230, 231*

Electromagnetism

Key topics are electric and magnetic fields, the generation of magnetic fields by currents, the derivation of Maxwell’s equations, the interpretation of light as an electromagnetic wave and polarisation. Both fundamental principles and applied topics, including fibre optics, LEDs, physical optics and interferometers are covered.

*Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 121, 150 and 15 points from ENGSCI 211, MATHS 208, 250, PHYSICS 211* *
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Restriction: PHYSICS 260, 261*

Relativity and Quantum Physics

Special relativity, quantum mechanics and nuclear physics. Key topics are the Lorentz transformation, mass-energy equivalence, the Schrödinger equation in one dimension, the hydrogen atom, atomic and molecular bonds, isotopes and radioactivity. Both fundamental principles and applied topics, including isotope production, nuclear medicine, and dosimetry are covered.

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Restriction: PHYSICS 250, 251*

Electronics and Imaging

Provides students with skills in electronics and imaging technologies that will support future work in technology-focused careers, experimental science, medical physics, and photonics. Key topics include networks, resonance, amplifiers, semiconductors, Fourier analysis, imaging systems, MRI systems and biomedical imaging.

*Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 120, 121, 160 and 15 points from ENGGEN 150, ENGSCI 111, MATHS 108, 110, 120, 130, 150* *
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Restriction: PHYSICS 240*

Frontiers of Physics

Surveys the research frontier in physics and astrophysics. Topics will be drawn from gravitational wave detection and black holes, searches for extrasolar planets, complexity theory and networks, lasers and frequency combs, Bose-Einstein condensates, Bell’s Theorem and quantum technology.

### Stage III

Special Study

Directed study on a topic or topics approved by the Academic Head or nominee.

Classical Mechanics and Electrodynamics

Advanced topics in classical mechanics and electromagnetism, including variational and least action principles in mechanics, the physical basis of magnetism, and the four-vector treatment of special relativity and electromagnetism.

*Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 231, 15 points from PHYSICS 202, 261 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211* *
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Restriction: PHYSICS 315, 325*

Fluid Mechanics

Surveys fluid mechanics using the Navier-Stokes equations, covering Newtonian and simple non-Newtonian fluids, and examples from soft condensed matter. Different flow regimes will be studied, from small-scale laminar flows to large-scale turbulent and potential flows, and flows in rotating frames of reference. Applications range from microfluidics to geophysical fluids. Numerical approaches and computational tools will be introduced.

*Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 231 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211*

Lasers and Electromagnetic Waves

Surveys the basic principles of lasers and explains how the behaviour and propagation of light can be understood in terms of electromagnetic waves described by Maxwell’s equations. The theory and applications of several key optical components will be described, including lasers and resonators.

*Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 202, 261 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211* *
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Restriction: PHYSICS 326*

Statistical Physics and Condensed Matter

Covers statistical physics and condensed matter physics, and describes how macroscopic properties of physical systems arise from microscopic dynamics. Topics in statistical physics include temperature, the partition function and connections with classical thermodynamics. Topics in condensed matter physics include crystal structures, phonons, electronic band theory, and semiconductors.

*Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 231, 15 points from PHYSICS 203, 251 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211* *
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Restriction: PHYSICS 315, 354*

Quantum Mechanics

Develops non-relativistic quantum mechanics with applications to the physics of atoms and molecules and to quantum information theory. Topics include the Stern-Gerlach effect, spin-orbit coupling, Bell’s inequalities, interactions of atoms with light, and the interactions of identical particles.

*Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 203, 251 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211* *
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Restriction: PHYSICS 350*

Electronics and Signal Processing

Electronics and digital signal processing with a strong emphasis on practical circuit design and data acquisition techniques. Topics will be selected from: linear circuit theory, analytical and numeric network analysis, feedback and oscillation, operational amplifier circuits, Fourier theory, sampling theory, digital filter design, and the fast Fourier transform.

*Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 240, 244 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211* *
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Restriction: PHYSICS 341* *
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Concurrent enrolment in PHYSICS 390 is recommended*

Particle Physics and Astrophysics

Particle physics topics covered will include relativistic dynamics and application to fundamental particle interactions, the properties of strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions and the particle zoo. Astrophysics topics will include some of the following: the Big Bang, "concordance cosmology", redshifts, theories of dark matter, extra-solar planets, stellar evolution, supernovae, gravitational wave sources, nuclear astrophysics and the origin of the elements.

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Restriction: PHYSICS 355* *
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Concurrent enrolment in PHYSICS 390 is recommended*

Experimental Physics

Covers advanced experimental techniques, giving students choices between a wide range of classic physics experiments and open-ended investigations of physical phenomena.

*Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 202, 203, 231, 240, 244, 251, 261*

Capstone: Physics

Students will undertake experimental, observational, computational and numerical investigations of key physical phenomena, working individually and in groups, producing both written and oral reports.

*Prerequisite: 30 points from PHYSICS 201, 202, 203, 231, 240, 244, 251, 261*

### Diploma Courses

Mechanics and Electrodynamics

Advanced topics in classical mechanics and electromagnetism, including variational and least action principles in mechanics, the physical basis of magnetism, and the four-vector treatment of special relativity and electromagnetism. Advanced Laboratory work is included in relevant topics.

*Prerequisite: Departmental approval* *
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Restriction: PHYSICS 331*

Lasers and Electromagnetic Waves

Surveys the basic principles of lasers and explains how the behaviour and propagation of light can be understood in terms of electromagnetic waves described by Maxwell’s equations. The theory and applications of several key optical components will be described, including lasers and resonators. Advanced Laboratory work is included in relevant topics.

*Prerequisite: Departmental approval* *
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Restriction: PHYSICS 333*

Quantum Physics

Develops non-relativistic quantum mechanics with applications to the physics of atoms and molecules and to quantum information theory. Topics include the Stern-Gerlach effect, spin-orbit coupling, Bell’s inequalities, interactions of atoms with light, and the interactions of identical particles. Advanced Laboratory work is included in relevant topics.

*Prerequisite: Departmental approval* *
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Restriction: PHYSICS 335*

Directed Study

Directed study on a research topic approved by the Academic Head or nominee.

Graduate Diploma Research Project

*To complete this course students must enrol in PHYSICS 690 A and B*

### Postgraduate 700 Level Courses

Advanced Quantum Mechanics

An advanced development of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics in the Dirac formulation is presented. Emphasis is placed on the simplicity and generality of the formal structure, lifting the reliance of introductory courses on wave mechanics.

Directed Study

Enrolment requires approval of the Head of Department and the choice of subject will depend on staff availability or on the needs of particular students.

*Prerequisite: Departmental approval*

Advanced Classical Mechanics and Electrodynamics

Develops and deepens students’ knowledge and understanding of advanced topics in classical mechanics and electromagnetism, including variational and least action principles in mechanics, the physical basis of magnetism; and the four-vector treatment of special relativity and electromagnetism.

*Restriction: PHYSICS 331, 705*

Advanced Statistical Mechanics and Condensed Matter

Advanced concepts in statistical mechanics and condensed matter. Topics to be covered include the theory of magnetism, mean field theory, the Ising model, superconductivity, phase transitions, complex systems, and networks.

*Restriction: PHYSICS 708*

Waves and Potentials

Presents the universal mathematical physics of waves and potential fields and discusses related applications. Topics include derivations and solutions for electromagnetic and elastic wave equations, propagation of waves in media, reflection and transmission of waves at interfaces, guided waves in geophysics and optics, and fundamentals of potential theory.

Relativistic Quantum Mechanics and Field Theory

Examines quantum field theory. Covers the relativistic generalisations of the Schrödinger equation and many-particle quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics is explored using Feynman diagram techniques. Extensions of scalar field theory to include path integrals, statistical field theory, broken symmetry, renormalisation and the renormalisation group.

*Restriction: PHYSICS 706, 755*

General Relativity

Discusses Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity with application to astrophysical problems, drawn from black hole physics, gravitational waves, cosmology, astrophysical lensing and solar system and terrestrial tests of the theory. The course includes the mathematical background needed to describe curved spacetimes in arbitrary coordinate systems and the covariant description of fundamental physical relationships.

Photonics

Advanced topics in photonics including optical detection, semiconductor and modelocked lasers, the propagation of light in optical fibres, and the physics and applications of nonlinear optics.

*Restriction: PHYSICS 726, 727*

The Dynamic Universe

Covers topics in modern astronomy and astrophysics relating to the evolution and dynamics of key astrophysical systems. Topics will be drawn from: stellar structure and stellar evolution; the formation of planets and the evolution of planetary systems; stellar and galactic dynamics; the large scale dynamical behaviour of the expanding universe.

Condensed Matter Physics

Covers topics and methods that are important for current condensed matter research. Topics include ferroelectricity, soft condensed matter, experimental materials physics, electronic structure theory, techniques for condensed matter simulation, and renormalisation group theory.

Quantum Optics and Quantum Information

The nonrelativistic quantum treatment of electromagnetic radiation (light) and its interaction with matter (atoms, quantum dots, superconducting qubits) is presented. Emphasis is placed on what is strictly quantum mechanical about light compared with a description in terms of Maxwell waves, and on the concepts and methods underlying modern advances in quantum measurement theory and quantum technologies, e.g., quantum communication/cryptology and quantum simulation/computation.

*Restriction: PHYSICS 760*

Advanced Imaging Technologies

Covers the physical basis and use of new imaging technologies and data processing in medicine, biomedicine and biotechnology. Makes use of practical examples from techniques such as computer assisted tomgraphy, nonlinear microscopy, optical coherence tomography, fluorescence or microarray analysis. No formal prerequisite, but an understanding of material to at least a B grade standard in PHYSICS 244, 340, and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211 is recommended.

Dissertation - Level 9

*To complete this course students must enrol in PHYSICS 787 A and B, or PHYSICS 787*

Honours Research Project - Level 9

*To complete this course students must enrol in PHYSICS 789 A and B, or PHYSICS 789*