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Queen Mary, University of London School of Physics Undergraduate Studies

The east London advantage Barts and The London serves a huge population of unrivalled diversity in the east of London, but is also next door to the City of London, one of the UK’s richest neighbourhoods. This means that our medical and dental students encounter a huge range of medical conditions while building the patient contact hours they need to become confident and competent professionals.

Campus-based “East London and the wider Thames Gateway offer our medical students the opportunity to observe a wide range of diseases – from diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, obesity, TB and even malnutrition. This is a unique learning environment for their medical training.” Cathy Baker, Head of Graduate Entry Programme in Medicine

2012 Olympics on our doorstep The 2012 Olympics are taking place very close to Queen Mary’s Mile Endbycampus, and ourQueen Mary, University of London Produced Creative Services, Whitechapel and West Smithfield - Pub7800 campuses are also not far away. The information given in this prospectus is correct at the time of going to press. Barts Hospital, the new Royal The College reserves the right to modify or cancel any statement in it and accepts London Hospital and our no responsibility for the consequences of any such changes. For the most up-toassociated Trusts willrefer provide date information, please to the website healthcare for the Olympic Any section of this publication is available in large print upon request. If you require athletes and in thea different generalaccessible public format we will endeavour to provide this this publication during the summer games. Thisand assistance, please contact: hrwhere possible. For further information; 7882 will be an exciting +44 time(0)20 to be in 5585. London. This prospectus has been printed on environmentally friendly material from wellmanaged sources.

Barts and The London is part of Queen Mary, the only College of the University of London to offer extensive campus-based facilities. This promotes a sense of community and encourages an active student life. All our first year medical and dental students who live a certain distance from the School are allocated places in residences at the Whitechapel, Charterhouse Square and Mile End campuses. East London also offers affordable privately-owned accommodation at a walking distance from our campuses. See page XX for more details about accommodation.

State-of-the-art clinical facilities We have modern state-of-the art buildings alongside more traditional teaching facilities such as our fantastic library. The Dental School now contains a clinical skills laboratory which closely simulates the real clinical


Module descriptions

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Career opportunities



Degree programmes

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School of Physics


School of Physics at Queen Mary, University of London

Welcome to the School of Physics at Queen Mary, University of London The School maintains a long tradition of excellence in groundbreaking research combined with a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of student education, giving our graduates the best possible preparation for their chosen careers. Research in the School is organised into three research centres: high-energy particle physics, condensed matter physics and theoretical physics. In addition we have very close teaching and research links with the Astronomy Unit in the School of Mathematical Sciences. All of these groups contribute to the teaching on our degree programmes. These cover the key areas of Physics, Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Theoretical Physics, all at BSc or MSci level. We have dedicated support staff, covering all academic and pastoral areas, to help and advise you during your time at university. Studying at university is an opportunity and a challenge, and can be a very rewarding experience both intellectually and personally. We are committed to helping you to benefit as much as possible during your time with us.

By the end of your degree you will have attained a thorough knowledge of modern physics along with high level analytical, problem-solving and research skills. These will open up career opportunities across a spectrum from postgraduate research to diverse careers in business. We also provide opportunities for paid summer research internships within our research centres, as well as those in other universities, plus a wide variety of paid summer employer placements in industry. Our reputation is built on the quality of our graduates. Whatever their choice of degree programme, career aims, or other interests, our students have reported high levels of satisfaction with our teaching and support, and have gone on to build successful careers in many professions. Should you enrol at Queen Mary I have every confidence that you would join them. Professor William J Spence, Head of School of Physics and Professor of Theoretical Physics

What is physics? Physics is fundamental in helping us understand how our world works: from the behaviour of protons and electrons to the movement of the stars and planets. Theory and experiment are vital to developing answers to questions about the universe and how things work. Technological advances and benefits to our daily

lives often come as a result of the pursuit of new knowledge, one example being the development of the language of the Internet. This was developed as a way to share huge amounts of information rapidly and easily by a research team at the particle physics laboratory, CERN. The new Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment at CERN is developing a new form of cloud computing called GridPP. Within the discipline of physics you will find subsections covering the full spectrum of scales: particle physics for the smallest particles; nano-science for creating new small structures; and general relativity for understanding large scale behaviour of the universe. One theory that physics is lacking, however, is the Grand Unified Theory, and many physicists are working to find the one theory that applies to all scales, so there’s plenty of work still to be done.

Why study physics? As a physicist you have a grounding in both theoretical and experimental principles. This results in a way of thinking that can be applied not only within the field of physics, but to other realworld situations, for example the stock market. The nature of physics means that you need to continue your mathematical studies, so you should either enjoy the application of mathematics or be comfortable using mathematical tools.


School of Physics

School of Physics at Queen Mary, University of London

A physics degree provides you with: • a practical approach to problem solving • high level research skills • the ability to reason and communicate complex ideas • excellent IT skills through the use of word processing and spreadsheets with additional knowledge of computer programming • the ability to manage your time effectively • experience of working with others • confidence in reporting/presenting the work to others in the form of projects, essays or seminars.

Why study physics at Queen Mary? Our degree programmes are supported by our research strengths. Students directly benefit from the high quality research carried out by our academic staff – the research work they do informs their teaching. The School of Physics is located in the GO Jones building on our Mile End campus. While lectures and tutorials may be held in other buildings around campus, there are many facilities within the GO Jones building for your use. These include: the Physics Museum where undergraduates work together on material covered in lectures, the Hive study area, the

undergraduate teaching laboratories, and the central administration area where you can hand in your coursework and talk to support staff such as the Student Support Administrator. Our academic and support staff are on hand to advise you from the first day of term. You are assigned an academic adviser who will help you make your module choices. Some programmes are more flexible than others. See the information on programme structure on p5. We have a full-time Student Support Administrator who is there to help with any queries or problems during the academic year. They are the first point of contact for any student concerns, be they academic or pastoral. They are available to provide advice and guidance on matters such as student funding, bursaries and financial support, accommodation and welfare concerns, help with special exam arrangements for those students in need of additional support and offers advice on careers and further study. Our undergraduate society PsiStar organises regular social events for undergraduates and encourages first year students to participate in the Peer Assisted Study Support (PASS) scheme for academic help. PASS mentors are second or third year students who work with first year students to help them with any parts of their academic modules that they have not

School of Physics

understood. These mentors also help to ease first year students’ transition from school or college to university. They clearly understand what first years are going through having recently had the same experience.

Programme structure Your studying is arranged so that you take eight different modules in each academic year for all programmes. You are required to take four in each semester. Semester A runs from September

to December and Semester B runs from January until April. Generally for each module you will have three or four hours of lectures per week and one or two hours of tutorials or exercise classes. If you are taking a practical module, such as Scientific Measurement in the first year, you will spend two afternoons a week in our undergraduate laboratory. Our degrees are structured so that you take a number of compulsory modules. In the first year, the


compulsory modules are common across all degree programmes. From the second year onwards, you have a number of options available. The exact number of options will depend on your choice of degree programme. For example, if you are studying astrophysics you will have fewer optional module choices than someone studying physics. You will find a detailed outline of each programme further on in this brochure. All of our degree programmes are accredited by the Institute of Physics: Once in employment you can work towards Chartered Physicist status whcih shows you have an accredited degree and have reached high professional standards in your job.

Degree programmes

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Degree programmes

Physics F300 BSc/Phy (three years) F303 MSci/Phy (four years)

Programme description The range of research in our department reflects the breadth of this subject: from understanding the most basic building blocks in our universe through particle physics, to building structures and manipulating matter on a molecular scale with condensed matter physics to understanding the formation of stars and galaxies. A degree in physics gives you knowledge of theories, techniques and mathematical approaches which can be applied in many different careers (see page 16 for information on what our graduates go on to do).

Programme outline Year 1 Scientific Measurement • From Newton to Einstein • Mathematical Techniques 1 • Mathematical Techniques 2 • Electric and Magnetic Fields • Quantum Physics • Condensed Matter • Options include: Our Universe Year 2 Vibrations and Waves • Thermal and Kinetic Physics • Electromagnetic Waves and Optics • Quantum Mechanics A • Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics • Physics Laboratory • Options include: Mathematical Techniques 3 (Core for MSci) • Modern Computation in Physical Science • Physics of Energy and the Environment • Planetary Systems • Physics of Galaxies • Condensed Matter 2 • Physical Dynamics

Year 3 Extended Independent Project (MSci: Physics Review Project) • Statistical Physics • Synoptic Physics • Elementary Particle Physics • Options include: Quantum Mechanics B (Core for MSci) • Solid State Physics (Core for MSci) • Quantum Mechanics and Symmetry (Core for MSci) • Space Time and Gravity • Stars Year 4 (MSci only) Physics Investigative Project or Physics Research Project plus options giving a total of eight modules • Options include: Plasma Physics • Atom and Photon Physics • Advanced Quantum Theory • Electrons in Solids • Molecular Physics • Electromagnetic Theory • Condensed Matter • Particle Physics • Low Temperature Physics and Nanotechnology • Relativistic Waves and Quantum Fields

Astrophysics F526 BSc/Asph (three years) F523 MSci/Asph (four years)

Programme description There are lots of questions about the origin and evolution of the universe that we do not have answers to yet. However, astrophysics can help us investigate our surroundings by applying our knowledge of physics and mathematics to the observations of stars, galaxies and planets. This allows us to investigate how old we think the universe is, how and why it is expanding, how the planets formed and if there is potential for life on other planets.

Programme outline Year 1 Scientific Measurement • From Newton to Einstein • Mathematical Techniques 1 • Mathematical Techniques 2 •


School of Physics

Degree programmes

Electric and Magnetic Fields • Quantum Physics • Condensed Matter • Our Universe Year 2 Vibrations and Waves • Thermal and Kinetic Physics • Electromagnetic Waves & Optics • Quantum Mechanics A • Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics • Stars • Planetary Systems • Options include: Modern Computation in Physical Science • Physics Laboratory • Condensed Matter 2 • Physics of Energy and the Environment Year 3 Extended Independent Project (MSci: Physics Review Project) • Statistical Physics • Space Time and Gravity • Physics of Galaxies • Synoptic Physics • Options include: Quantum Mechanics B • Elementary Particle Physics • Mathematical Aspects of Cosmology • Modern Computation in Physical Science Year 4 (MSci only) Physics Investigative Project or Physics Research Project plus at least two modules of Astrophysics options: Stellar Structure and Evolution • Solar System • Planetary Atmospheres • Solar Physics • Extrasolar Planets and Astrophysical Discs • Advanced Cosmology • Plus further MSci options up to a total of eight modules. Options include: Molecular Physics • Particle Physics • Atom and Photon Physics

Physics with Particle Physics

Physics of Energy and the Environment

F392 BSc/PWPP (three years) F393 MSci/PWPP (four years)

Year 3 Extended Independent Project • Synoptic Physics • Quantum Mechanics B • Statistical Data Analysis • Statistical Physics • Elementary Particle Physics Two optional modules from: Mathematical Techniques 3 • Space Time and Gravity • Physics of Galaxies • Solid State Physics • Quantum Mechanics and Symmetry • Continuous Time Methods in Finance • Mathematical Aspects of Cosmology

Programme description Understanding what the universe is made from and how particles interact is the goal of particle physics research. We can design, build and analyse data from leading experiments worldwide to help achieve this. Specialist modules have been designed specifically for this degree programme and your research project will be with an academic member of staff from the Particle Physics Research Centre, so you could find yourself working on experimental results from the ATLAS experiment in CERN or the T2K experiment sited in Japan.

Programme outline Year 1 Scientific Measurement • Condensed Matter • From Newton to Einstein • Mathematical Techniques 1 • Mathematical Techniques 2 • Electric and Magnetic Fields • Quantum Physics • One optional module from: Our Universe • Introductory Java Programming Year 2 Thermal and Kinetic Physics • Vibrations and Waves • Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics • Modern Computation in Physical Science • Electromagnetic Waves & Optics • Quantum Mechanics A • Physics Laboratory One optional module from: Physical Dynamics • Stars • Condensed Matter 2 •

Year 4 (MSci only) Physics Research Project • Particle Physics • Particle Accelerator Physics • Relativistic Waves and Quantum Fields • Two optional modules from: Advanced Quantum Theory • Atom and Photon Physics • Electromagnetic Theory • Computing and Statistical Data Analysis • Statistical Mechanics • Relativity and Gravitation

Theoretical Physics F340 BSc/ThPhy (three years) F323 MSci/ThPhy (four years)

Programme description The most fundamental questions about the universe are examined using the tools of theoretical physics. What is the origin of mass? What is dark matter? Do more than four dimensions exist? These kinds of questions can be considered by examining current theories, identifying their weaknesses and proposing new solutions. Investigations by

School of Physics


Programme outline Year 1 Scientific Measurement • From Newton to Einstein • Mathematical Techniques 1 • Mathematical Techniques 2 • Electric and Magnetic Fields • Quantum Physics • Condensed Matter • Options include: Our Universe Year 2 Vibrations and Waves • Thermal and Kinetic Physics • Electromagnetic Waves and Optics • Quantum Mechanics A • Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics • Mathematical Techniques 3 • Physical Dynamics • Options include: Planetary Systems • Modern Computation in Physical Science • Physics of Galaxies • Physics Laboratory • Condensed Matter 2 • Physics of Energy and the Environment Year 3 Extended Independent Project (MSci: Physics Review Project) • Statistical Physics • Synoptic Physics • Solid State Physics • Quantum Mechanics B • Elementary Particle Physics • Options include: Space Time and Gravity (Core for MSci)• Quantum Mechanics and Symmetry (Core for MSci) • Physics of Galaxies • Modern Computation in Physical Science

members of the Centre for Research in String Theory are having an impact on areas such as particle physics: Twistor String Theory is giving us a new

simplified understanding of particle scattering in the Large Hadron Collider.

Year 4 (MSci only) Physics Investigative Project or Physics Research Project • Advanced Quantum Theory • Statistical Mechanics • Electromagnetic Theory • Relativistic Waves and Quantum Fields • Plus two options from an extensive selection of MSci modules.

Module descriptions

School of Physics


Module descriptions

This section contains a selection of our modules and includes core modules for the different degree programmes, however please note that there are more optional modules available to choose from. Full details can be found on our website:

observe it daily on a macroscopic scale. This module will teach you the theoretical basis of statistical physics. You will also develop the valuable skill of using spreadsheets to calculate and visualise complex algorithmic expressions.

Scientific Measurement

Physics Investigative Project

In this module you will learn valuable laboratory techniques and skills: from measurement techniques to data analysis and reporting; you will find all of these skills necessary to carry out experimental investigations into concepts in physics.

This project runs throughout the final two semesters of your degree programme. You will be expected to study a problem in physics and develop your design, experimental, computational and analytical skills through independent study. You will produce a final written report on your project which could involve things such as simulating a physical process, carrying out experiments to test a current hypothesis or building a piece of equipment.

Electric and Magnetic Fields This is an introduction to the basic laws of electricity and magnetism, including Maxwell’s equations. By the end of the module you will be able to mathematically state the laws, whilst also be able to explain and apply the laws to solve a variety of problems.

Electromagnetic Waves and Optics A triumph of Nineteenth Century physics was the unification of the theories of electricity and magnetism. This module will give you an understanding of Maxwell’s equations, the electromagnetic wave equation, diffraction, interference effects and polarisation.

Statistical Physics We use this subject to help us to bridge the gap between microscopic quantum mechanics and the behaviour of matter as we

the cosmological abundances of nuclides via the big bang and stellar nucleo-synthesis.

Physics of Galaxies There are a variety of different types of galaxies and you will learn their categories and how to estimate properties such as mass and luminosity. As well as exploring the properties of galaxies, you will also learn about the evolution of structure in the universe.

Physics Review Project You will use scientific research literature to examine a specialised area of physics. This will be a combination of directed reading and independent study. By the end of this project you will have investigated an area of physics of interest to you to a deeper degree than is normally possible in conventional modules.

Our Universe This module is intended to make you familiar with the components which make up our universe: from stars and planets to solar systems and galaxies. The role of the known laws of physics in understanding observations is investigated.

Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics You will be introduced to the concept of the atomic nucleus along with the various forms of radioactivity and their properties. We explore the possible decay modes (radioactive decay and fission) of the nuclei and learn how these properties help explain

Quantum Physics Here you will study the evidence for particle-like properties of waves and wave-like properties of particles. This is followed by a study of their consequences and their formal expression in physical law: topics include Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and Schroedinger’s equation.

From Newton to Einstein This module reviews the developments in our understanding of the laws of space, time and motion, from the seventeenth century to the present day. Topics from classical mechanics include kinematics


School of Physics

Module descriptions

and dynamics, gravity and planetary orbits. Special relativity, length contraction and time dilation, general relativity and black holes are covered in relativistic mechanics.

Relativistic Waves and Quantum Fields Here you will be given an introduction into the unification of quantum mechanics and special relativity. You will review both of these topics before going on to investigate the relativistic wave equations and quantum field theory.

Advanced Cosmology Cosmology is a rapidly developing subject that is the focus of a considerable research effort worldwide. It is the attempt to understand the present state of the universe as a whole and thereby shed light on its origin and ultimate fate. Why is the universe structured today in the way that it is, how did it develop into its current form and what will happen to it in the future? The aim of this module is to address these and related questions from both the observational and theoretical perspectives.

Solar System As the planetary system most familiar to us, the Solar System presents the best opportunity to study questions about the origin of life and how enormous complexity arise from simple physical systems in general. This module surveys the physical and

dynamical properties of the Solar System. It focuses on the formation, evolution, structure, and interaction of the Sun, planets, satellites, rings, asteroids, and comets. The module applies basic physical and mathematical principles needed for the study, such as fluid dynamics, electrodynamics, orbital dynamics, solid mechanics, and elementary differential equations. However, prior knowledge in these topics is not needed, as they will be introduced as required. The module will also include discussions of very recent, exciting developments in the formation of planetary and satellite systems and extrasolar planets (planetary migration, giant impacts, and exoplanetary atmospheres).

Extrasolar Planets and Astrophysical Discs Ever since the dawn of civilisation, human beings have speculated about the existence of planets outside of the Solar System orbiting other stars. The first bona fide extrasolar planet orbiting an ordinary main sequence star was discovered in 1995, and subsequent planet searches have uncovered the existence of many hundreds of planetary systems in the Solar neighbourhood of our galaxy. These discoveries have reignited speculation and scientific study concerning the possibility of life existing outside of the Solar System. This module provides an in-depth description of our current knowledge and understanding of these extrasolar planets. Their statistical and physical properties are described and contrasted with the planets in our Solar System. Our understanding of how

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planetary systems form in the discs of gas and dust observed to exist around young stars will be explored, and current scientific ideas about the origin of life will be discussed. Rotationally supported discs of gas (and dust) are not only important for explaining the formation of planetary systems, but also play an important role in a large number of astrophysical phenomena such as cataclysmic variables, X-ray binary systems, and active galactic nuclei. These so-called accretion discs provide the engine for some of the most energetic phenomena in the universe. The second half of this module will describe the observational evidence for accretion discs and current theories for accretion disc evolution.

Synoptic Physics A study only module providing highly structured professorial tutorials aimed at bringing together and summarising the main elements of physics. At the end of the module, you should be able to answer oral questions addressed to the generality of any topic within the area of study known as physics and especially within the subjects of gravitational and rotational forces, electromagnetism and Lorentz forces, optics and interference, thermodynamics and nuclear and astrophysics. In addition, you should be able to respond to more detailed questions on the subject


of any project you are completing. In all cases, you should be able to demonstrate an intimate knowledge of the help provided by dimensional analysis, symmetry and conservation rules.

detailed treatments are included for those who wish to follow them; space-time diagrams are used extensively. The module includes discussion of the big bang and black holes.

Statistical Data Analysis

Quantum Mechanics A

This module will review basic metrics and techniques used to describe ensembles of data such as averages, variances, standard deviation, errors and error propagation. These will be extended to treat multidimensional problems and circumstances where observables are correlated with one another. The Binomial, Poisson, and Gaussian distributions will be discussed, with emphasis on physical interpretation in terms of events. Concepts of probability, confidence intervals, limits, and hypothesis testing will be developed. Optimization techniques will be introduced including chi2 minimisation and maximum-likelihood techniques. A number of multivariate analysers will be discussed in the context of data mining. These will include Fisher discriminants, multi-layer perceptron based artificial neural networks, decision trees and genetic algorithms.

This module aims to introduce the fundamental concepts of quantum mechanics from the beginning. By studying applications of the principles of quantum mechanics to simple one-dimensional systems, the module will provide a foundation for understanding concepts such as energy quantisation, the uncertainty principle and quantum tunnelling, illustrating these with experimental demonstrations and other phenomena found in nature.

Space Time and Gravity This module presents the essential concepts of both special and general relativity. The emphasis is on the physical understanding of the theory and the mathematical development is kept simple, although more

Quantum Mechanics B This module has an extended exposition of the basic principles and applications of quantum mechanics. Topics include: Operators and the general structure of quantum mechanics, observables, orthonormality of eigenstates, expansion theorem, commuting operators, theory of measurement; The harmonic oscillator; Angular momentum theory, the rigid rotator and applications to rotation-vibration spectra of diatomic molecules; Spin in quantum mechanics illustrated with spin1/2: matrix representations, Stern-Gerlach experiments and measurement theory exemplified; Indistinguishable particles in quantum mechanics: bosons and


The School of Law

Module descriptions

fermions; Spherically symmetric potentials and the Hydrogen atom.

Vibrations and Waves This module is an introduction to oscillatory phenomena and wave motion. The concepts and phenomena taught in this module occur throughout nature from biology to quantum mechanics. Topics include: free, damped and forced vibrations, resonance, coupled oscillators; the nature of travelling waves and transport of energy; types of waves including sound, water waves and light; interference, beats and standing waves; dispersion; simple diffraction phenomena.

Stars Stars are a vital building block in the Universe: forming out of interstellar gas and dust, and themselves being a major component of galaxies. They are also vital for providing the nuclear reactions that create the elements from which planets and even ourselves are formed. This module describes how the fundamental properties of stars are related to observations. Temperatures and densities in the centre of stars reach values that are unattainable in the laboratory. Yet the application of basic physical principles can help us determine much about the internal structure and evolution of stars, from their formation to their ultimate end states in such exotic and spectacular objects as white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes.

Planetary Systems Human beings have charted the paths of the planets across the night sky and speculated about their nature for thousands of years. Indeed the word planet has its origin in the ancient Greek term ‘planete’ – meaning wanderer. Used in its modern scientific context the word planet refers to an object which orbits about a star, but which itself is not a star. Planets have a special philosophical significance since they are the bodies on which life itself is expected to come into existence. This module provides an in depth description of our current knowledge and understanding of the planets in our Solar System, and of the planetary systems now known to orbit around stars other than the Sun – the extra-solar planets. The properties of individual planets and their satellites will be

described and contrasted, and basic physical principles will be used to explain their orbits and physical features. Our understanding of how planetary systems form will be explored, and current scientific ideas about the origin of life will be discussed.

Physics of Energy and the Environment This module examines concepts and equations of physics (including mechanics, thermodynamics, waves, quantum physics) with respect to energy transfer processes in natural energy sources, and in energy technologies. Analysis of efficiencies of energy transfer will be included. The emphasis will be on useful quantitative results from physics rather than detailed derivations. Examples will be drawn from wind, wave, solar and nuclear energies. The relevance of

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Physics in understanding and improving energy technologies as well as assessing their environmental impact will be emphasised. Specific topics will include; first and second laws of thermodynamics, wind energy, Betz limit on efficiency of wind turbines, solar energy, semiconductor physics relevant to solar cells, radioactivity, nuclear reactors and nuclear waste disposal.

Elementary Particle Physics This module covers a nonmathematical introduction to the standard model of particle physics – the strong and electroweak interactions between the basic constituents of the world, quarks and leptons, via the exchange of gluons, photons and W and Z particles. You will also cover the following topics: 'Particle astrophysics – the relationship

between particle physics and cosmology'; 'Beyond the standard model – Grand unified theories and supersymmetry'.

Mathematical Techniques 1 An understanding of mathematics, calculus in the main, is required in the study of the physical sciences. Complex numbers, differentiation, partial differentiation, series, integration, polar coordinates and multiple integration are particular areas covered by this module.

Mathematical Techniques 2 Following from Mathematical Techniques 1, this module continues work on some topics and extends into others. You will study: complex numbers and hyperbolic functions; polar and spherical coordinates and coordinate transformations; multiple integrals; line and surface


integrals; vector algebra; vector calculus; the theorems of Gauss, Green and Stokes; matrices; determinants; eigenvalues and eigenvectors; Fourier series and transforms including the convolution theorem; and differential equations.

Condensed Matter This module describes the structure of bulk matter starting from the intermolecular forces at the microscopic level. Using simple mechanical and thermodynamical ideas the structure of solids is described. An introduction is provided into electronic and dynamic properties of solids. Simple models of transport processes like diffusion, thermal and electrical conduction will be introduced. The concept of order/disorder will be explored.

Career opportunities

School of Physics


Career opportunities

In recent years over 20 per cent of our graduates have gone on to some form of further study, this can be a one year Masters degree or PhD. The remaining students go on into employment in a wide range of fields, including roles such as a Market Research Analyst, Accountant and Advertising Executive in the Business and Finance field and Computer Analyst, Programmer and ICT Manager in IT. They have also taken on technical physics roles in engineering firms and medical and non-medical laboratories. Your potential earnings also reflect the contribution you can make: according to a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, physics graduates earn around £187,000 more during their career than nongraduates.

The reason for these increased potential earnings is down to the particular skills and abilities you have as a physics graduate. The way in which you approach problem solving and your mathematical skills make you a valuable employee. The Queen Mary Careers Service is available to help you with any career-related issue throughout your time at university. If you are not sure what you want to do, a discussion with a careers adviser will help you to be clearer about your options for work or further study, and our resources will help you to begin investigating the careers open to graduates. Queen Mary students have access to a wide range of events organised locally by the Queen Mary Careers Service and London-

Student profile Tejpal Singh Physics “I have always been passionate about physics ever since I was a child. I have always been interested in how and why things work. Therefore, the best thing about the subject for me is that it requires more than just knowledge to solve problems; creative thinking is also necessary. “The best thing about the College is definitely the staff; they are very welcoming. Outside of lectures the physics professors are always willing to help when I have any questions. They do an excellent job of explaining clearly. “Queen Mary has excellent facilities, and they are always improving. The Physics laboratory was recently fully renovated to provide each student with the use of computing facilities. It is a great place to study. I would also rate the social, leisure and recreational facilities as excellent. There is always something to do and many social clubs and societies available.

Students and mentors at the SEPnet Student Expo – Undegraduate students presented summer placment projects

“My favourite memory so far has to be when a few of the physics postgraduates started gathering people in front of the Physics building and created ‘ice cream’ using liquid nitrogen. It was fun to watch, and then we started to freeze some other things… mostly fruit. It was so interesting to see what happens to things when they are frozen in that way.”


School of Physics

Career opportunities

wide by The Careers Group giving you a chance to talk to employers and take part in interactive activities, enabling you to get a better taste of what the jobs are really like. There are also a number of talks and events offered by the Careers Service and the School of Physics. Recent events have included a Physics Careers Forum where our students had the chance to question employers from a range of fields: from IT and computing to engineering and academic research. Alumni also contribute to careers sessions, giving current undergraduate students the benefit of their experiences. To find out more about the careers support available please visit our website:

Graduate profile Studied: BSc Theoretical Physics

Amira Mahmood Salary bracket:£35,000 - £45,000

Currently: Teaching Physics in a secondary school, after completing a PGCE at King’s College, University of London. Why did you choose Queen Mary?I chose Queen Mary because of its location and distance from home. The size of the School of Physics was another factor as it has a high staff/student ratio, which allowed the lecturers to get to know the students. This added to the friendly atmosphere which made me feel welcome. Queen Mary also has a wonderful library as well as an established Students’ Union. What did you gain from your time at Queen Mary? A good education in the subject that I love as well as making friends I am still in contact with. The support staff and lecturers have an informal open door policy which helped greatly when I needed help with anything. Pete and Ted, the lab technicians, always provided support with experiments, physics problems or time to just have an informal chat. After studying physics for three years you gain an insight in to how wonderful the subject is as well as realising how little you still know at the end. It really does open your eyes to the world around you. I still enjoy the subject immensely and try to enthuse my pupils about physics every day. What are your career plans in the next five years? I want to establish myself in teaching by becoming Head of Physics at a school. After a few years I would like to study for a PhD in String Theory or Nanotechnology.

Student life – Students’ Union, student support and health services

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Student life – Students’ Union, student support and health services

Students’ Union All Queen Mary students automatically become members of QMSU, an active and flourishing Students’ Union run by students for students. Best known for its clubs and societies, there are literally hundreds to choose from, whether your interests lie in football or philately. And if you have a passion that isn’t represented, you can always start your own club. Clubs and societies provide a great opportunity for meeting people, especially those who are studying a different subject to you. One of the aims of QMSU is to ensure that your time at university is not just about work, but also includes socialising and personal development.

QMotion QMotion is Queen Mary’s recently refurbished Health and Fitness centre. Equipped with a great range of exercise machines and weights, there’s also a women only area and loads of classes including yoga, spinning and Pilates. There’s a squash court and sports hall on campus, and a swimming pool a short distance away.

Sports Playing sports is a good way to relax after a day spent studying. Queen Mary teams regularly compete against other college teams, and there’s a great social scene with after-match drinks and a regular social night, Hail Mary, hosted by one of the SU’s sports teams. There’s even a team of cheerleaders, the Queen Mary Angels!

QM Provide: Volunteering Volunteering with charities and non-profit organisations is a brilliant way to explore what London has to offer, make a difference and really get involved in your local area. You can volunteer on a regular basis in a placement with a local charity or organisation, doing anything from mentoring local school kids, to volunteering in local hospitals, to becoming a helpline volunteer and managing a local sports team. See:

Student support You will be assigned an academic adviser when you start at Queen Mary, and the same adviser will stay with you throughout your studies. Your adviser will help you choose which modules to take (some programmes offer greater flexibility when it comes to module choices), sign any forms you need and help you with any academic or personal problems that you have.

Many students find it extremely helpful to have one adviser on hand throughout their time at Queen Mary.

Health services All the services are provided for all students and staff living in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. In order to access these services and other available services under the NHS, you need to register with the Globe Town surgery at the Student Health Centre at the beginning of term. Students living outside Tower Hamlets can be treated on campus in the event of an urgent medical situation. For more information see:

Advice and counselling Our advice service offers in-depth and specialist advice on a range of financial, practical and legal issues, such as student finance, housing rights, immigration law and international student issues. Counselling is also available – from cognitive behavioural therapy, ongoing weekly therapy groups and support groups on specific issues such as anxiety, academic performance. Our advice and counseling service is a completely free and confidential service. For more information see:


School of Physics


If you live close enough to the College to commute, you will normally be expected to live at home until rooms become available after term begins, once all those students who cannot commute are housed. Once you have firmly accepted your offer to study at Queen Mary, full details on how to apply for College housing will be sent to you by the Admissions Office. Queen Mary students also have access to places in the fullycatered Intercollegiate Halls in central London, which are owned centrally by the University of London.


You feel like you belong a bit more, living on campus. The place is packed with people all doing the same thing, unloading their cars at the beginning of term. It’s really sociable. Jen Holton

Another option is a house share. There are a number of privately let houses in the area suitable for groups of students to share. The residences office can put you in touch with local landlords, as well as groups of students who are looking for extra people to make up numbers. For more information, see:



If you are a single full-time firstyear undergraduate, apply during the normal admissions cycle, and have not lived in Queen Mary’s housing before, you may be eligible for accommodation on campus. Priority is given to those applying by the deadline of 30 June of the year of entry, and those who live furthest away. This offer does not extend to students who join through the Clearing process or those holding insurance offers with Queen Mary, although every attempt is made to accommodate them, subject to availability.


Queen Mary’s Student Village incorporates 2,000 rooms on campus, all provided in selfcatered houses, flats and maisonettes. All rooms in the Village have a bathroom en-suite, and you’ll share a kitchen.

I had a beautiful canal view from my room. I just can’t believe this is student accommodation – it’s very airy, bright, fresh and clean. Fariah Khan


School of Physics Entry requirements

School of Physics


School of Physics Entry requirements


Tariff/Grades requirement: BSc programmes: a total of 320 tariff points. Applicants should aim to achieve grades A and B at A-level in physics and mathematics. MSci programmes: a total of 340 tariff points. Applicants should aim to achieve grade A at A-level in physics and mathematics. If you do not perform as well in one subject and do better in others, then that is acceptable, providing you gain the minimum number of points required for the degree programme. Additional information: General studies should not be included in the points tariff.

Vocational or applied A-levels

Acceptability: Acceptable only when combined with other A2-equivalent physics and mathematics qualifications.

BTEC National Certificate

Acceptability: Acceptable only when combined with other A2-equivalent physics and mathematics qualifications.

(12 units)

Subjects and grades required: Overall in Double Award DD. Must have high physics and mathematics content.

BTEC National Diploma

Acceptability: Acceptable only when combined with other A2-equivalent physics and mathematics qualifications.

(18 units)

Subjects and grades required: Overall DMM. Must have high physics and mathematics content.

International Baccalaureate

Acceptability: Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications. Subjects and grades required: BSc programmes: 30 points overall with 6 in both Higher Level physics and Higher Level mathematics. MSci programmes: 34 points overall with 6 in both HL physics and HL mathematics.

European Baccalaureate

Acceptability: Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications. Subjects and grades required: BSc entry: 75 per cent overall 7/6 in maths/physics in any order. MSci entry: 80 per cent overall with 7 in maths and physics

Access to HE Diploma

Credits required: A total of 60 credits, out of which 45 at level 3 and 18 level 3 credits in maths units and 18 level 3 credits in physics units for BSc entry. Grade required: Distinction. Additional information: Must be physics and mathematics based. Recognised by the Quality Assurance Agency for HE

European and international qualifications

The university accepts a wide range of EU and international qualifications, including selected international foundation programmes. For further information please contact the Admissions Office, or visit:

Other qualifications

The College welcomes applications from those holding qualifications not listed above. Staff in the Admissions and Recruitment Office will be happy to advise you as to the acceptability of your qualification.

Living in London

School of Physics


Living in London

With eight million residents, London is up there with Tokyo and NYC in terms of sheer size. Yet rather than a single city, London is actually a patchwork of different areas – many of them former villages in their own right. Many retain their own centres, with a parade of shops, bars and restaurants that reflects its own particular and historic character. Depending on your mood, the occasion and the kind of place you are looking for, you can make this diversity work to your advantage – there’s always somewhere that will suit your mood, budget, and the kind of occasion you are looking for. Queen Mary’s main campus is at Mile End, well connected to the rest of the city by tube. Mile End (Central line) and Stepney Green (Hammersmith and City, and District lines) are both a short walk away.



A world-famous city and the nation’s capital, London is an exciting place to live. If you’re new to the city, you’re in for a treat; and if you’ve lived here before, then you’ll know there’s always more to explore. Either way, student life in London promises to be an adventure.

Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. Samuel Johnson


School of Physics

Living in London

1 Old Street, and surrounding EAT… Yelo, on Hoxton Square (Thai food) Shish, an upmarket kebab restaurant. VISIT… White Cube2 Gallery. This area is the epicentre of the East End’s artistic community. SHOP… The Hoxton Boutique. The Sunday Flower Market at Columbia Road is legendary amongst Londoners.

2 Shoreditch, and Brick Lane EAT… Brick Lane is London’s ‘Curry Capital’– an entire street lined with Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants. Brick Lane Beigel Bake, open 24-hours (great for bagel emergencies). VISIT… The Old Truman Brewery, a converted brewery and home to numerous fashion designers, artists and DJs.

3 Bow Wharf The complex includes: The Fat Cat Café Bar; The Thai Room; and Jongleurs Comedy Club, which, as well as the comedy, has a bar and restaurant plus post-comedy disco on Friday and Saturday nights.

4 Docklands, and Canary Wharf EAT… Ubon by Nobu (the sister restaurant to the West End favourite of the stars), or Carluccio’s, an Italian chain serving exceptional food. Wagamama in the Jubilee Place Mall. Bene Bene, which offers a huge selection of seriously cheap sandwiches, salads, bagels and desserts. VISIT… The Museum in Docklands, which explores the story of the docks from Roman settlement through to recent regeneration.

School of Physics


Kings Cross British Library

Victoria Park




To Olympic Stadium

Bethnal Green



Islington Bloomsbury

Stepney Green



Mile End

ULU: Students’ Union

1 Leicester Square

Chancery Lane


Liverpool Street

Shoreditch Mile End Park




HOLBORN St Paul’s Temple



Whitechapel Aldgate Limehouse

Tower Hill Tower of London

4 Canary Wharf

Mansion House Monument

Charing Cross

To O2 Arena

St James’ Park


London Bridge



5 Bethnal Green, and Victoria Park

6 Mile End, and surrounding area

EAT… E Pellici, on Bethnal Green Road, an Italian greasy spoon café which has been around since 1900. Nando’s, Hackney Village for a range of other restaurants and cafes, including Frocks, Mojo’s and Déjà Vu. VISIT… Modern Art and Vilma Gold galleries on Vyner Street, just north of Bethnal Green.

EAT… with Mile End’s big range of eating places, our students never go hungry, whatever their culinary skills. Wetherspoon's pub, offering the ‘cheap and cheerful’ deals. The Morgan Arms, a bit more of an up-market pub. The Golden Bird (Chinese), The Pride of Asia (Indian), Matsu (Japanese) restaurants, if you like to eat your way around the world. Roastars coffee shop, for a small caffeine buzz at the start of the day.

VISIT… Mile End Park, 90 acres of greenery in the heart of the East End where you’ll find an ecology park; an arts park; and a terraced garden and a sports park. The Mile End Stadium, includes an eight lane athletics track, artificial hockey/football pitches and grass football pitches. The Genesis Cinema, go on Wednesday night for a student discount. The Whitechapel Gallery: famous for exhibitions by big name artists.

Frequently asked questions

School of Physics


Frequently asked questions

Should I take the BSc or MSci? We offer two different types of qualification: BSc or MSci. The BSc takes three years to complete, and the MSci four years. An MSci will provide you with more advanced training and project experience which could lead to a PhD or provide you with an advantage if you wish to enter a career at a higher level. The BSc and MSci courses have common programmes and module options over the first two years and transfer between the programmes is possible during this time, subject to satisfactory performance. In the final year of the MSci you will have the opportunity to take

modules selected from a large range of current research topics in physics. This year is taught as an intercollegiate year and you will be able to take modules taught by lecturers from Colleges throughout the University of London.

Can I study abroad? Queen Mary students can take part in an international exchange programme spending either the autumn semester or full academic year at one of our partner institutions. The academic work completed abroad is credited towards your Queen Mary degree. Tuition fees will still be paid to Queen Mary for your period abroad and you do not have to pay tuition fees at the host institution but you are still

responsible for all travel, accommodation and living expenses. You will find full eligibility details and other conditions for participation in this programme on our website: exchanges Our partner universities with physics specialities are: • Hunter College (City University of New York) • University of Miami • University of Richmond • University of California (with several campuses and different specialities) It is also possible to study in Europe within the Erasmus programme. Queen Mary enjoys close links with Europe through its participation in the SOCRATES ERASMUS programme and believes this presents a great opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the language, lifestyle and culture of another country. Students are selected by their academic school at Queen Mary and the criteria for selection include academic ability, proficiency in the language of the host country and the desire to participate in an exchange. The Language Learning Unit provides courses to give students practical skills in a foreign language and help prepare them for the exchange. Students are given credit for courses passed at the host institution. You can find out more on the British Council website: erasmus.htm


School of Physics

Frequently asked questions

What does studying Physics at University involve? You will be expected to devote yourself full-time to your studies. With regards to your timetabled hours, in the first semester of your first year you should expect to spend on average each week: • 3 or 4 hours in lectures for each module (4 modules per semester) • 3-6 hours in the laboratory • 3 hours in exercise classes or tutorials However, overall you should be devoting around 40 hours a week to your degree. This will include your timetabled lessons, studying and preparation for laboratory sessions and exercise classes.

How will I be taught? The teaching in the School of Physics is carried out through lectures and exercise classes backed up by a practical element. Lectures take place in various locations around the campus and will not always be held in the School of Physics. This will give you a chance to get to know the different areas of the College. Tutorials and exercise classes are used to support the lectures. These classes will be taken by the lecturer and postgraduate students They are an opportunity for you to ask questions and work through any problems you have with the material.

We have laboratories which are reserved solely for the use of our undergraduate students. In the first year you are required to take the module Scientific Measurement, (see page 11 for a description) which will illustrate the basic concepts in physics: you will carry out experiments and interpret results. This gives you valuable knowledge on how certain laboratory instruments work and it will also give you the opportunity to develop your time management and reporting skills. You are supported in these laboratory sessions by dedicated technicians, academic staff and postgraduate students.

How is the academic year structured? You will take four modules in each of the two semesters in every year of study. The academic year runs from September to June. There are typically three or four lectures per week for each module. You will also have one or two hours scheduled for tutorial work for each module. You are expected to do some independent study outside of your timetabled hours. Modules often have an element of coursework to them therefore you will be expected to spend time preparing your hand-ins and these count towards your final mark. Some modules have a class test and most have an end of year examination which makes up the bulk of your mark for that module.

Can I take modules from outside of the School of Physics? You will have a number of options available to you each year, but the exact number will depend on which degree programme you are registered on. Our modular system allows you take a subject from another academic school which will still count towards your degree. For example, you may choose to study a language with choices from beginner to advanced level in a variety of languages. Visit the Language and Learning Unit website for more details: www.languageandlearning.

Who can I go to for advice and help? When you start at Queen Mary, you will be allocated an Academic Adviser. This person will talk to you about your module options and will discuss with you what is best for your needs before registering you on the appropriate modules. If you need support or advice on personal or academic matters, then your Adviser is there to help you. We have a full-time Student Support Administrator (SSA) who acts as the first point of contact for any student concerns, be they academic or pastoral. The SSA is available to provide advice and guidance on matters such as Student Funding, Bursaries and Financial Support,

School of Physics

Accommodation and Welfare concerns, help with special exam arrangements for those students in need of additional support and offers advice on careers and further study. If you wish to you will be able to take part in a supplemental study program in your first year of study. The Peer Assisted Study Support (PASS) scheme supports new students through weekly one hour sessions led by second and third year students.

Is there any financial support available? There is a comprehensive package of support available to students. For the latest details on what is available and for eligibility, please visit our website.

What teaching facilities are available for experimental modules? Our undergraduate teaching laboratories have recently been refurbished and contain a main


lab with 46 spacious work stations, two optics rooms providing a further 11 work stations and four specialist vibration free surfaces for sensitive experiments. The laboratories are open access and we have two members of staff offering technical support for all physics students during normal working hours. Each work station has a PC with internet access and has an adjustable height function. It is a well-funded resource with a mix of traditional and modern equipment. The modules Scientific Measurement and Physics Laboratory are taught here.

Next steps

School of Physics


Next steps

There are three types of applicant:

The School of Physics runs numerous events for students thinking of studying physics at university. From one day taster courses to week-long summer schools. For more information on when these activities are taking place, please visit our website:

1 Students at a school or college registered with UCAS All UK schools and colleges (and many establishments overseas) are registered with UCAS to manage their students’ applications. Advice is available from your teacher or a careers adviser at your school or college. You fill in an online application and submit it to a member of staff.

In addition to the School activities, the College has two open days each year: one in April and a second in September. If you are unable to visit us at any of these times then you can book a campus tour. Information can be found online at: visitus

Applying to Queen Mary For all full-time higher education programmes at universities and colleges in the UK, students must apply online at: You’ll find full instructions to help you fill in your online application, plus help text where appropriate. UCAS also has a comprehensive guide called Applying Online, which can be downloaded from the website ( You can also visit our QM:Insight pages which offers guidance on applying to university.

After checking your details, and having added the academic reference, your school or college submits the completed application online to UCAS. You pay online using a credit card or debit card. You may also be able to pay through your school or college. 2 Independent applicants in the UK Other UK applicants, who are not at school or college, apply online independently. It is likely that you are a mature applicant, who, unlike school and college students, cannot readily seek advice from your teacher, but can instead consult with various careers organisations (such as Connexions). You are responsible for paying the correct application fee, for obtaining and attaching the academic reference and for submitting the completed application online to UCAS.



Visit us

One of the best things you can do is visit a university and find out from the students this what they think about studying there Asmi Barot Physics student

3 International applicants outside the UK (EU and worldwide) Except for those whose school or college is registered with UCAS, individuals from the EU (excluding the UK), and worldwide, apply online independently. Advice is available from British Council offices and other centres overseas, such as your school or college or one of our overseas representatives. You will find a step-by-step guide to applying at: international/ howtoapply/ index.htm

Contact us School of Physics Queen Mary, University of London Mile End Road London E1 4NS Tel: 0207 882 5030 Fax: 0208 981 9465 email: For latest news, see: Facebook: Twitter:


School of Physics


School of Physics Queen Mary, University of London Mile End Road London E1 4NS Tel: 0207 882 5030 Fax: 0208 981 9465 email: For latest news, see: Facebook: Twitter:

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Queen Mary, University of London Physics Undergraduate 2011  

Queen Mary, University of London Physics Undergraduate 2011