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PX275 - Mathematical Methods for Physicists

  • Module code: PX275
  • Module name: Mathematical Methods for Physicists
  • Department: Physics
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

To teach mathematical techniques needed by second, third and fourth year physics modules.

Principal learning outcomes

Students should 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; Define and calculate the gradient, divergence and curl of a vector field and understand Gauss’s and Stokes’ theorems; Define a partial differential equation and to be able to solve the wave and diffusion equations using the method of separation of variables be able to represent simple, appropriate functions in terms of Fourier series and Fourier transforms; Demonstrate a good understanding of diffraction and interference phenomena and be able to solve problems involving Fraunhofer diffraction.

Timetabled teaching activities

40 Lectures + 20 examples classes

Departmental link

Other essential notes

The module reviews the techniques of ordinary and partial differentiation and ordinary and multiple integration. It develops vector calculus and discusses the partial differential equations of physics (Term 1). The theory of Fourier transforms and the Dirac delta function are also covered. Fourier transforms are used to represent functions on the whole real line using linear combinations of sines and cosines. Fourier transforms are a powerful tool in physics and applied mathematics. The examples used to illustrate the module are drawn mainly from interference and diffraction phenomena in optics (Term 2).

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: PX275-15)
D (Assessed/examined work) Class Tests and Assessed Coursework 20%
  2 hour examination (April) 80%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:

  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc) (F300) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc MPhys) (F304) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Physics and Business Studies (F3N1) - Year 2
Optional Core