PHYS203-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020

Relativistic and Quantum Physics

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 13 July 2020
End Date: Sunday, 8 November 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 24 July 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 25 September 2020


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.


(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



Recommended Preparation

Timetable 2020

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 10:00 - 11:00 Putaiao Koiora 275
13 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 18 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 E14 Lecture Theatre
13 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 18 Oct
Lecture C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 16:00 - 17:00 Rehua 528
13 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 18 Oct
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 15:00 - 16:00 Ernest Rutherford 319
320 Physics Lab Space
13 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 18 Oct

Examination and Formal Tests

Test A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 18:30 - 19:30 E5 Lecture Theatre 3 Aug - 9 Aug
Test B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 18:30 - 19:30 E5 Lecture Theatre 14 Sep - 20 Sep

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

David Wiltshire


Jenni Adams


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

Textbooks / Resources

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

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $900.00

International fee $4,250.00

* 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

  • PHYS203-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020