Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 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 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitSchool of Physics
OfferedClayton Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Heath Jones


Physics principles which underlie our understanding of the environment and processes in nature are studied, with particular focus on energy, its forms, sources, and usage. Topics and applications include: Solar and infra-red radiation, satellite thermal imaging techniques, spectroscopy; energy conversion including solar cells, renewable energy sources, fuel cells; nuclear radiation, applications in pollution monitoring; nuclear energy, reactor applications, and nuclear waste; nuclear fusion; environmental impact of energy technologies; monitoring and detection of physical quantities.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Understand the basic physics principles underlying applications in the contexts of environmental, biological, and planetary sciences;

  1. Apply and interpret the relevant principles in these contexts in relation to energy, its forms, use, conversion and efficiencies, the use of thermal (IR) imaging systems, and the methods and devices used in basic systems for measuring quantities of environmental and general scientific importance (such as light, temperature, humidity, windspeed);

  1. Demonstrate numeracy skills in describing, modelling and analysing such applications as described above, and performing appropriate calculations;

  1. Reliably carry out basic experimental measurements, analyse and interpret data and experimental uncertainties;

  1. Demonstrate communications skills in presenting and discussing scientific information in written report and poster forms.


Examination (3 hours): 50%
Practical work: 28%
Tests/assignments: 22%
Students must achieve a pass mark in the practical work to achieve an overall pass grade.

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

Three 1-hour lectures and one 3-hour practical class per week