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PHS3031 - Foundations of contemporary physics

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader: Dr Imants Svalbe


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


This unit provides the foundation for a theorectical and/or experimental major in physics. It consists of two 12-lecture sub-units, Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Physics and laboratory work. The key areas for each sub-unit are:

  1. Quantum Mechanics: Schrodinger formulation, matrix mechanics, operators and commutator relations, angular momentum and spin;
  2. Statistical Physics: entropy, classical and quantum statistics and foundation mathematical techniques and Laboratory work: experimental and/or computational work on relevant topics.


On completion of this unit, students will be able to: understand a range of fundamental concepts from the core sub-units of foundation Quantum Mechanics (including spin and matrix formalism) and Statistical Physics (including entropy and partition functions), apply a series of theoretical techniques within this subject core, extend mastery of this core to related subject areas of knowledge of particular interest to the student. They will also be able to perform a series of measurements on experiments related to the above topics, write up experimental reports that present results, analyse and discuss the implications and outcomes of experimental work.


Examinations (2 x 1.5 hours): 48%
Laboratory work: 34%
Assignments: 18%

Contact hours

An average of 2 hours lectures, 1.5 hours tutorial/ workshop and 2.5 hours of laboratory work per week


PHS2011, PHS2022, MTH2010, MTH2032