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PX149 - Mathematics for Physicists

  • Module code: PX149
  • Module name: Mathematics for Physicists
  • Department: Physics
  • Credit: 24

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

A sound knowledge of certain areas of mathematics is essential for the successful study of physics at University level. However, students' mathematical knowledge on coming to University varies considerably. The aim of this module is revise relevant parts of the A-level syllabus, to provide you with sufficient mathematical knowledge to undertake the physics modules this year, and to prepare you for further mathematics and physics modules in subsequent years.

Principal learning outcomes

Term 1: At the end of the module you should: Understand the concept of a vector and be able to carry out vector algebraic manipulations; Understand the notion of a complex number and be able to manipulate expressions involving complex numbers; Be able to sketch simple functions involving zeros, poles and discontinuities; Understand the notion of convergence and be able to obtain the radius of convergence of a series; Be familiar with functions of more than one variable and with partial differentiation; Be able to deal with multiple integrals and know how to evaluate the length of a curve and the volume of a three dimensional object; Have met the general idea of mathematical modelling and how this leads to a description in terms of a differential equation.Term 2: At the end of the second half module, you should: Be able to solve first and second order linear Ordinary Differential Equations. Know what is meant by a Fourier series and be able to compute the Fourier coefficients for simple functions; Be familiar with the basic ideas from linear algebra: matrices, determinants, condition for a unique solution to a set of linear equations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors and the diagonalisation of 2x2 matrices; Know how to use simple vector geometry to find the equation of a plane and the perpendicular distance from a point to a plane.

Timetabled teaching activities

60 Lectures + 20 problems classes

Departmental link

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
24 CATS (Module code: PX149-24)
D (Assessed/examined work) Assessed Course Work 15%
Examination - January 42%
Examination - Main Summer Exam Period (weeks 4-9) 43%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:

  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc) (F300) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc MPhys) (F304) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Physics and Business Studies (F3N1) - Year 1
Optional Core