Faculty of Science

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.

print version

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

To find units available for enrolment in the current year, you must make sure you use the indexes and browse unit tool in the current edition of the Handbook.

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


This unit provides part of a major in experimental physics. It consists of two 12-lecture sub-units and laboratory work. Key areas are:

  1. Nuclear Physics: nuclear systematics, nuclear forces, potentials and energy spectra, shell model concepts, with the aim of understanding the formation of low-lying excited states, nuclear decay modes, nucleon emission, beta decay and EM transitions;
  2. Elementary Particles: experimental methods used in contemporary particle physics and the fundamental properties that classify leptons, hadrons and quarks, the role of conservation laws and symmetry in the production of and interactions between elementary particles, quantum chromo-dynamics, strong and weak interactions, the cosmological implications.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Recall fundamental concepts from the sub-unit of Nuclear Physics, which include short range nature and charge independence of the nuclear force, nuclear force properties in terms of meson theory, nuclear shell structure and the magic numbers, spin-orbit term, pairing force, addition of nucleon angular momenta within each shell, Gamma decay: matrix elements with respect to parities and angular momenta of nuclear states, selection rules, internal conversion, and Beta decay: Fermi's theory, Kurie plot, allowed, super allowed, first forbidden, second forbidden transitions, Fermi and Gamow-Teller transitions, Fermi Coulomb penetration factor, non-conservation of parity;

  1. Recall fundamental concepts from the sub-unit of Fundamental Particle Physics, which include relativistic wave equations, Feynman diagrams, pair production and annihilation, particle exchange, Yukawa potential, scattering amplitude, natural units, leptons, quarks, hadrons, neutrinos, further lepton generations, lepton decays and universality, interacting particles, experimental methods of particle physics: accelerators and detectors, space-time symmetries and their conservation laws, the isospin formalism, resonances, quark diagrams, quark states and colour, quantum chromodynamics, the strong coupling constant, screening, and the weak interaction: W and Z bosons, charged-current reactions, quark mixing, electroweak unification, gauge invariance, Higgs boson;

  1. Solve new problems in physics related to the core concepts of the unit by drawing on the theoretical underpinnings that illustrate the physics;

  1. Perform measurements and analysis on experiments that demonstrate the theoretical physics described in this and other Physics units;

  1. Produce experimental reports that present results, analyse and discuss the implications and outcomes of experimental work.


Examination (3 hours): 48%
Laboratory work: 34%
Assignments: 18%
Students must achieve a pass mark in the practical component to achieve an overall pass grade.

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

An average of 2 hours lectures, 1.5 hours tutorial and 2.5 hours laboratory work per week