PHS3142 - Theoretical physics II - 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


Associate Professor Csaba Balazs

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


This unit provides part of a major in theoretical physics. It consists of two 12-lecture sub-units, Advanced Quantum Mechanics and Computational Physics and a 12-hour seminar sub-unit. The key areas of study are:

  1. Advanced Quantum Mechanics: Mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics, spin and orbital angular momentum, approximate methods in quantum mechanics, including perturbation theory, the WKB approximation and the variational method, formal scattering theory, and the quantum theory of radiation.
  2. Computational Physics: discrete arrays to model the space and time evolution of functions or physical systems; a hands-on approach is used throughout to develop confidence and competency in using a computer to solve physical problems.
  3. Theoretical Seminar: seminar participation in theoretical problems, projects and presentations.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe concepts and perform calculations in Advanced Quantum Mechanics, which include both exact and approximate methods, such as perturbation theory, the variational approach, WKB and scattering theory;
  2. Use a high level computer language, such as Matlab, to solve computation problems, and model systems, applicable to a wide variety of problems in theoretical physics;
  3. Solve new problems in physics related to the core concepts of the unit by drawing on the theoretical underpinnings that illustrate the physics;
  4. Carry out research in contemporary physics, and present critically assessed summaries as scientific reports and presentations.


Examination (2 hours): 23% + Assignments and computational projects: 43% + Seminar contributions: 34%

Workload requirements

Each week:

  • One 1-hour lecture
  • One 1-hour tutorial class
  • One 1-hour lecture/computational laboratory session
  • One 1-hour seminar
  • Eight hours of independent study

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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