Classical and Quantum Matter and Radiation module (PH22001)

Develop your understanding of thermal and condensed matter physics, as well as nuclear and particle physics

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Module code


The microscopic and sub-atomic world is described by quantum mechanics, and nuclear and particle physics. You will study how materials behave in thermal physics and condensed matter physics.

Thermal physics describes how different materials respond to changes in temperature and how thermal energy can be manipulated and controlled. This underpins many aspects of condensed matter physics.

Quantum mechanics is vital to understanding material properties on a microscopic scale. The transition from classical to quantum physics is further developed here, starting from the Bohr model of the atom.

Nuclear and particle physics is the study of what makes up matter on a sub-atomic scale. Nuclear physics explains the core of atoms through nuclear binding, structure, and radioactivity. Particle physics approaches the understanding of matter from the smallest scale. Particle accelerators allow us to explore the fundamentals of what makes up matter, from gluons and quarks to the Standard Model.

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • review relativity, photons, electron waves, the Bohr model of the atom, and uncertainty principles
  • learn the beginnings of quantum mechanics
  • gain insight into condensed matter physics, including energy bands and semiconductors
  • learn about the properties of nuclei and radioactivity
  • study fundamental particles, quarks, gluons, and the Standard Model
  • undertake weekly laboratories studying thermal and solid-state physics

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand the microscopic and sub-atomic world through nuclear physics and particle physics
  • describe the properties of matter using thermal physics and condensed matter physics
  • explain the transition from the classical to the quantum world
  • undertake detailed experiments including advanced data analysis

Assignments / assessment

  • coursework (25%)
  • laboratories (25%)
  • final exam (50%)

Teaching methods / timetable

You will learn by taking a hands-on approach. This will involve taking part in lectures, tutorials, problem classes, and lab sessions.

Learning material is provided through videos, review notes, examples, and tutorial questions.


This module is available on following courses: