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Department of Physics, Unit Catalogue 2011/12

PH10004: Dynamics, relativity & gravity

Click here for further information Credits: 6
Click here for further information Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Click here for further information Period: Semester 2
Click here for further information Assessment: EX 100%
Click here for further information Supplementary Assessment: PH10004 - Mandatory Extra Work (where allowed by programme regulations)
Click here for further information Requisites: Before taking this unit you must take PH10007 or equivalent.
Click here for further information Description: Aims:
The aims of this unit are to present students with a clear guide to the laws of dynamics and gravity, to strengthen their understanding of the universality of concepts from mechanics (from fundamental particles to billiard balls to planets) and to introduce them to relativity and relativistic mechanics.

Learning Outcomes:
After taking this unit the student should be able to:
* conserve linear and angular momentum in collisions;
* use vector notation and methods to solve problems in rotational dynamics;
* appreciate the difference between orbital and spin angular momentum;
* write down the essential results and formulae of special relativity;
* describe the important special relativity experiments (real or thought);
* solve simple kinematic and dynamical special relativity problems.

Numeracy T/F A, Problem Solving T/F A.

Newton's laws of motion (9 hours): Motion in 1D and 2D with constant and non-constant acceleration. Linear momentum, collisions, rockets. Work and energy; potential energy (potential wells and barriers), conservative and non-conservative forces. Circular motion. Rigid body rotation; moments of inertia, torque and angular momentum as vectors, equations of motion of rotating bodies, gyroscopes. Separation of orbital and spin angular momentum. Use of integration to find centres of mass and moments of inertia.
Gravitation (4 hours): Gravitational force and potential energy. Weight and mass. Circular orbits; Kepler's Laws; planetary motion. Escape velocity. Newtonian cosmology.
Special relativity (7 hours): Galilean transformation. Michelson-Morley experiment. Einstein's postulates. Simultaneity; time dilation, space contraction, invariant intervals, rest frames, proper time, proper length. Lorentz transformation. Relativistic momentum, force, energy. Doppler effect.
General relativity (2 hours): Gravity and geometry. The principle of equivalence. Deflection of light; curvature of space. Gravitational time dilation.
Click here for further informationProgramme availability:

PH10004 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Physics
  • USPH-AFB01 : BSc (hons) Physics (Full-time) - Year 1
  • USPH-AFB05 : BSc (hons) Physics with Computing (Full-time) - Year 1
  • USPH-AKB06 : BSc (hons) Physics with Computing (with Placement) (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 1
  • USPH-AAB06 : BSc (hons) Physics with Computing with Year Abroad (Full-time with Study Year Abroad) - Year 1
  • USPH-AKB02 : BSc (hons) Physics (with Placement) (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 1
  • USPH-AAB02 : BSc (hons) Physics with Year Abroad (Full-time with Study Year Abroad) - Year 1
  • USPH-AFM02 : MPhys Physics (Full-time) - Year 1
  • USPH-AFM04 : MPhys Physics with Research Placement (Full-time) - Year 1
  • USPH-AAM03 : MPhys Physics with Year Abroad (Full-time with Study Year Abroad) - Year 1

NB. Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.