Year 1 Modules

Below are some module reviews for the first year modules. Most of the first year modules are all core modules, but there are two optional modules; particle physics and astronomy. Next to the module name is the year that the module was taken.

PX101: Quantum Phenomena, 2019-2020

This year, this module was online only with no exam, and only consisted of learning out of Young and Freedman, which was mostly fine, since the content isn’t too difficult. The module itself is really interesting, giving you a first look at the Schrodinger equation, and particle in a box, etc. introducing some fascinating concepts. Additionally, the module bridges really nicely to PX262, which is the second year quantum module, so it’s well worth learning this content well!

PX120: Electricity and Magnetism, 2019-2020

E&M is always such an intimidating module, but it’s not too bad overall. The lectures can be quite intense but it’s just because everything is done very rigorously and explicitly. Erwin’s notes are brilliant and have loads of useful maths at the beginning which does come in handy, and the problem sheets are mostly nice, with lots of optional but helpful problems. Similar to PX101, this module bridges quite nicely to PX263, which is the second year electromagnetic theory module. You learn about Maxwell’s equations in this module, and they are so useful and used very often in PX263 (in a slightly different form though). Overall, it seems like a difficult module, but after going through some past papers and problem sheets, you should be sorted for the exam.

PX145: Physics Foundations, 2019-2020

Foundations is a nice module; a lot of the early content is familiar from A-Levels and it’s really interesting. The lectures are great, and Jon is a fantastic lecturer, however there are no written notes for this module which is a bit of a shame. That being said, most stuff from this module is covered in Young and Freedman, so if you get a bit confused then you can always look in there. Come exam season, just stay on top of the problem sheets, use the problems in Y&F, and do lots of past papers and you should be fine.

PX147: Introduction to Particle Physics, 2019-2020

This was a fun module, and Steve was a brilliant lecturer. The lectures were great, and the written notes are fantastic as well. There are some links to the Special Relativity section of PX148 in this module, so they go quite nicely together. Out of the two optional modules for first year, I chose this one because I wasn’t too bothered about astronomy, and I thought that particle physics would be more interesting. The exam can be tricky for this module, so revise well by making use of the problem sheets and past papers.

PX148: Classical Mechanics and Special Relativity, 2019-2020

This was by far my favourite module in first year. The lectures were amazing - David is a great lecturer, his notes are brilliant and clear, and the content is interesting. The problem sheets and Mastering Physics can be really difficult at times though. Not much else to say here – was a great module and would definitely recommend to any Maths students thinking of taking it, since there is a lot of maths involved. To help with revision, there are lots of useful bits in Young and Freedman, loads of practice problems etc., so definitely make use of it!

PX149: Maths for Physicists, 2019-2020

This was a great module in terms of the content. Literally everything in this module will crop up at some point during your physics degree, and this module really bridges the gap between A-Level and university physics. If you didn’t take Further Maths at A-Level then most of the Term 1 content will be completely new to you. But, answering the problem sheets as you go along and making a good set of notes from the lectures will really help you. For our year, Bogdan lectured Term 1 and he had an amazing set of written notes, with loads of examples and explanations. Term 2 was lectured by Nicholas and his lectures were decent, but the content was substantially more difficult than the first term. I think a set of written notes would have really helped for Term 2 content, but this might not be the case if the lecturer has changed. Overall, this was a decent module and all of the content is really useful for future physics. The Term 1 exam can be quite difficult, so practice time management for it, but the Term 2 exam is usually a bit easier.

PX150: Physics Programming Workshop, 2019-2020

This was a decent module and can be some really easy marks if you’re interested in Python. For me this was my first proper encounter into programming, so I found it quite confusing at the beginning, but there is a nice set of written notes that definitely help, and the workshops help if you’re stuck with a problem. Bridges nicely into PX277, which is the second year programming module.