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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton First semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Andrei Nikulin


This unit is the first of two units in theoretical physics and contributes to a physics major. Mastery of these topics underpins much of theoretical physics; this unit will provide students with a better basis for carrying out study and research in theoretical physics. It consists of three 12-lecture sub-units. The three sub-units cover the following areas:

  1. Relativistic Dynamics: tensors in pseudo-Euclidean spaces, Lorentz transforms, world lines, energy-momentum 4-vectors, action and variational methods, Lagrangians and Hamiltonians, metrics and Riemann spaces, consequences of Einstein's assumptions;
  2. Electrodynamics: electromagnetic waves in a vacuum and in media, energy and momentum conservation, transmission lines and waveguides, radiation from accelerating charges, antennae, synchrotron radiation, and
  3. Classical Dynamics and Lagrangian Interaction: Hamilton's principle, dynamics of classical point particles and fields, Noether's theorem and symmetries, field theory, internal symmetry and the guage principle, Lagrangian interactions and quantised fields, Feynman diagrams, the quantum vacuum and the holographic principle.


On completion of this unit students will be able to: explain and apply the key concepts in relativistic dynamics, electrodynamics and classical dynamics, apply appropriate methods in analysing/solving problems relevant to these areas, and communicate their understanding of these areas in appropriate scientific form.


Examinations (3 x 1.5 hours): 70%
Assignments: 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Andrei Nikulin

Contact hours

An average of 3 hours lectures and one 1-hour tutorial per week


PHS2011, PHS2022, MTH2010, MTH2032