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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

To revise relevant parts of the A-level syllabus, to cover the mathematical knowledge to undertake first year physics modules, and to prepare for 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; Have met the idea of mathematical modelling and how this leads to a description in terms of a differential equation; Be able to solve some types of first and second order Ordinary Differential Equations; Understand the notion of convergence and be able to obtain the interval of convergence of a series; Be familiar with functions of more than one variable and with partial differentiation; Be able to determine the gradient vector of a function of 2 and 3 variables Term 2: At the end of the second half module, you should: Be proficient at evaluating a definite integral that describes the area under a curve; Be able to deal with multiple integrals and know how to evaluate the volume of a three dimensional object; Understand the concepts of line and surface integrals; 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.

Timetabled teaching activities

60 Lectures + 20 problems classes

Departmental link

Other essential notes

All scientists use mathematics to state the basic laws and to analyze quantitatively and rigorously their consequences. The module introduces the concepts and techniques, which will be assumed by future modules. These include: complex numbers, functions of a continuous real variable, integration, functions of more than one variable and multiple integration.

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
24 CATS (Module code: PX149-24)
D (Assessed/examined work) Assessment 15%
  1st 2 hour examination (January) 42%
  2nd 2 hour examination (Summer) 43%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:

  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc) (F300) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Physics (MPhys) (F303) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc MPhys) (F304) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Physics and Business Studies (F3N1) - Year 1
Optional Core