PHYS203-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Relativistic and Quantum Physics

15 points
16 Jul 2018 - 18 Nov 2018


Introduction to relativistic mechanics, including space-time transformations, dynamics and collisions of relativistic particles. Introduction to quantum physics, bringing out its applications, including wave-particle duality, one dimensional barriers and wells, electron spin, electron configuration of atoms, lasers, semiconductors and quantum dots.

Provide a thorough knowledge of relativistic dynamics and its application to various physical
situations. Provide a conceptual understanding of the physical principles of quantum
mechanics, together with the technical understanding for applying these principles to
determine the quantitative properties of physical systems where quantum physics is

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Have mastered space-time transformations for reference frames travelling at
    relativistic speeds.
  • Have mastered techniques to calculate the dynamics of relativistic particles and
    collisions between relativistic particles.
  • Have acquired a conceptual understanding of the principles of quantum
    mechanics and their implications for physical measurements
  • Have mastered the mathematical techniques used to solve the
    Schrodinger equation in simple situations, and quantitively describe
    physical observables in related systems
  • Have developed and be able to demonstrate competency to solve appropriate
    physics problems in the concepts of the course
  • Have developed and be able to demonstrate writing and associated
    communication skills.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


(1) PHYS102 or (PHYS101 and CHEM211); (2) MATH102 or EMTH118. These prerequisites may be replaced by a high level of achievement in level 3 NCEA Physics and Mathematics with Calculus or other background approved by the Head of Department. RP: MATH103 or EMTH119.



Recommended Preparation

Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 09:00 - 10:00 Ernest Rutherford 312 Physics Lab (8/10)
Link 309 Lecture Theatre (16/7-20/8, 10/9-1/10, 15/10)
16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 13:00 - 14:00 Psychology - Sociology 252 Lecture Theatre 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
Lecture C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 12:00 - 13:00 Link 309 Lecture Theatre (19/7-2/8, 16/8-23/8, 13/9-18/10)
West 213A (9/8)
16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 11:00 - 12:00 Ernest Rutherford 141 (18/7-22/8, 12/9, 26/9)
Ernest Rutherford 312 Physics Lab (3/10-17/10)
16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 16 Sep
24 Sep - 21 Oct

Examination and Formal Tests

Test A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 11:00 - 12:00 E5 Lecture Theatre 17 Sep - 23 Sep

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

David Wiltshire


Chris Gordon


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Final Exam 54%
Homework Assignment 16% 10, counting the best 8 @ 2% each
Test 2 15%
Test One 15%


Required Texts

Serway, R A; Moses, C J; Moyer, C A; Modern physics; 3rd; 2005 ((There are two copies on 3-hour loan in the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library.)).

Recommended Reading

French, Anthony P; Special Relativity; Norton, 1968.

French, Anthony P. and Taylor, Edwin F; An Introduction to Quantum Physics; W.W. Norton, 1978.

Kittel, Charles et al.,; Mechanics; 2nd edition; McGraw-Hill, 1973 ((Berkeley Physics Course Vol 1),).

Krane, Kenneth S.,; Modern Physics; 2nd; J. Wiley & Sons, 1996.

Thornton, Stephen T. and Rex, Andrew; Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers; 4th; Brooks/Cole, 2012.

(Note: the last two books are very similar to Serway, Moses and Moyer)

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity

General Physics and Astronomy Information
Please consult the document General Information for Physics and Astronomy Students on the
Physics and Astronomy Web Page:

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $865.00

International fee $3,788.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see School of Physical & Chemical Sciences on the department and colleges page.

All PHYS203 Occurrences

  • PHYS203-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018