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PHS3131 - Theoretical physics

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader(s): Associate Professor Andrei Nikulin


Clayton First semester 2009 (Day)


This unit provides part of a major in theoretical physics. It consists of two 12-lecture sub-units and a 12-hour seminar sub-unit. Key areas are:

  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. Radiative Electromagnetism: 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. Theoretical Seminar: seminar participation in theoretical problems.


On completion of this unit students will be able to: understand a range of fundamental concepts relevant to relativistic particles and fields and radiative electromagnetism and will be able to apply these theoretical techniques. Mastery of these techniques is then able to be extended and applied to related subject areas of particular interest to the student. Students will have experience in solving theoretical (Fermi) problems. Short reports on theoretical physics topics will be able to be written. The students will be able to present a short seminar on a topic in theoretical physics.


Examinations (2 x 1.5 hours): 48%
Assignments: 18%
Seminar contributions: 34%

Contact hours

An average of 2 hours lectures, one 1-hour tutorial and one 1-hour seminar per week


PHS2011, PHS2022, MTH2010, MTH2032



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