Faculty of Science

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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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, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton First semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Alexis Bishop


This unit provides the foundation for a theoretical 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: QM states and the Dirac notation. Operators, measurement and observables. Schrodinger and Heisenberg representations, matrix mechanics. The Hydrogen atom and the quantum harmonic oscillator. Raising and lowering operators. Angular momentum and intrinsic spin. Bosons, fermions and exchange;
  2. Statistical Physics: Heat, temperature and entropy. Classical and quantum statistics. Counting states and probability. The Maxwell-Boltzmann, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein probability distributions. Applications to real systems.


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%
Students must achieve a pass mark in the practical component to achieve an overall pass grade.

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Alexis Bishop

Contact hours

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


PHS2011, PHS2022, MTH2032 and either MTH2010 or MTH2015