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In this course we study the physics of wave oscillations and their applications in numerous different physical systems. The geometric theory of image formation is developed and applied to various optical instruments. We will study interference and diffraction problems using Fourier techniques. Its use in optical instruments such as diffraction grating spectrometers, interferometers and lasers is highlighted. The course will also provide a review of 100 level mechanics material and then develop a deeper understanding of mechanics than addressed at 100-level, particularly the motion of rotating bodies and the application of these ideas to real-world systems such as the weather and orbits.
Students will:Have acquired an understanding of the importance of wave phenomena in the physical world (exam assessment).Have mastered the mathematical formalism used to describe oscillatory systems (exam and assignment assessment).Be able to solve imaging problems in geometric optics (exam and assignment assessment).Be able to apply Fourier techniques to solve diffraction problems in physical optics (exam and assignment assessment).Be familiar with key modern developments in optics (exam assessment).Have gained a thorough knowledge of the motion of orbits and rotating bodies and understand how to make use of rotating frames of reference to determine the motion of objects on the surface of the Earth (exam and assignment assessment).Demonstrate competency to solve appropriate physics problems in the concepts of the course (exam and assignment assessment).Demonstrate writing and associated communication skills (exam and assignment assessment).
(1) PHYS101; (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: (1) PHYS102; (2) MATH103 or EMTH119; (3) COSC131 or COSC121
(1) PHYS102; (2) MATH103 or EMTH119; (3) COSC131 or COSC121.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
C. Kittel e al.,;
F Smith, T King, D Wilkins;
Optics and Photonics
John Wiley and Sons.
The Physics of Vibrations and Waves
John Wiley & Sons.
Vibration and Waves in Physics
Cambridge University Press, New York.
R Serway, J Jewett;
Physics for Scientists and Engineers wiht Modern Physics
Course information and content (PDF 63KB)
General Course Information (PDF 163KB)
Domestic fee $926.00
International fee $4,563.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
This course will not be offered if fewer than 20 people apply to enrol.
For further information see
School of Physical & Chemical Sciences on the
departments and faculties