PHS1011 - Classical physics and relativity - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

School of Physics and Astronomy


Dr Paul Lasky

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


In this unit you will build on your knowledge of classical (non-quantum) physics related to concepts of motion, forces, momentum and energy; including their application to oscillations, waves and thermal physics. You will also investigate the limits of applicability of classical (non-relativistic) concepts of motion where the ideas of special relativity must be applied.

You will explore these concepts in the context of current technology in areas such as transportation and communication and you will also discover how these ideas link to current research in Physics.

This unit will also introduce you to concepts of experimental design, measurement and analysis that form the basis of the evidence-based approach that is the foundation of scientific discoveries and theories.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Explain and understand concepts taught in the unit such as force, energy, work, and wave propagation;
  2. Apply their knowledge to solve problems related to these concepts;
  3. Evaluate and appraise novel situations in terms of mechanics, thermodynamics, waves and relativity;
  4. Execute experiments and analyse, interpret and evaluate the results arising from them;
  5. Present and communicate results of others and one's own experimentations in a scientific form.


Experimental work: 25%

Tests/Assignments: 35%

Examination (3 hours): 40%

Hurdle requirement: Students must achieve a pass mark in the

experimental work to achieve an overall pass grade.

Workload requirements

Two 1-hour classes and one 3-hour class per week (attendance is expected at all classes)+ Seven hours of private study per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Year 12 Physics and calculus (VCE Mathematical Methods or equivalent).

Note: If you have not taken Year 12 Physics you should consider PHS1080 or PHS1031. If you have not taken VCE Mathematical Methods or equivalent with permission from the School of Physics and Astronomy you may be able to take MTH1010, as a co-requisite, to fulfill the calculus requirements.


Recommended: MTH1020, MTH1030, MTH1035 or ENG1005.

Note: to continue with Physics at level two students must have taken MTH1030, MTH1035 or ENG1005 by the end of level one or you will need to seek permission to continue from the School of Physics and Astronomy.