PHS3142 - Theoretical physics 2 - 2018

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

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Alexis Bishop


Professor Csaba Balazs

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)




This unit 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

The workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours spread across the semester (roughly 12 hours per week) - approximately an even mixture of attendance at scheduled activities and self-scheduled study time. Learning activities comprise a mixture of instructor directed, peer directed and self-directed learning, which includes face-to-face and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

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