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 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)

Dr Alexis Bishop

Contact hours

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


PHS2011, PHS2022, MTH2032 and either MTH2010 or MTH2015