OSCILLATIONS AND WAVES - 2025/6

Module code: PHY1036

Module Overview

This module covers introductory concepts of simple harmonic motion and waves, drawing on and bringing together examples from different branches of physics including mechanics, optics, electronics, and electromagnetism. Some of these concepts will build upon examples that may have been encountered as part of the Physics A-level material but others are new. It combines the mathematical description, physical interpretation as well as experiments and their analysis of oscillations and wave phenomena to provide students with a well-balanced introduction to the important physical concepts that are required for further study in the subsequent modules of your physics course.

Module provider

Mathematics & Physics

DOHERTY Daniel (Maths & Phys)

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Workshop Hours: 2

Independent Learning Hours: 78

Lecture Hours: 28

Tutorial Hours: 10

Laboratory Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 10

Semester 1

None.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

• Fundamental description of oscillations and waves

• Simple harmonic motion

• Longitudinal and transversal wave motion

• Frequency, angular frequency, wavelength, wave number, “speed”

• The wave equation in one dimension

• Superposition, beating, phase, group, particle velocities

• Energy and Momentum

• Mechanical waves

• Waves on a string, string boundaries and joins, standing waves.

• Sound waves, Doppler effect

• Waves in Optics

• Huygens construction

• Reflection, refraction, diffraction, refractive index

• [Geometrical optics, lens formulae, magnification, telescope, microscope]

• Optical fibres

• Interference

• Diffraction – single, double slit and grating diffraction

• Oscillations and Waves in AC circuits

• Transients in circuits with Inductors and Capacitors

• Time constants in circuits with L,C, R components

• AC circuits: Impedance, frequency dependent response

• Description of AC circuits using phase and phasors

• Review of the course bringing out the unifying themes

An Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Awareness workshop

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment EDI Awareness Engagement Pass/Fail
Practical based assessment Laboratory Diaries 20
Coursework Bi-weekly Small Group Tutorial Session Questions 10
Examination End of Semester Examination - 2 hours 70

Alternative Assessment

Assessed Laboratory experiments with associated report may replace the laboratory Unit of Assessment. Bi-weekly Small Group Tutorial questions may be replaced with an alternative question set

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

• during the laboratory components, tutorials and exam, that they have acquired a basic understanding and familiarity with waves in different context of Physics and that they can apply that knowledge in order to perform calculations predict experimental findings relating to wave phenomena.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

• Laboratory diary entries (on selected experiments). These diary entries will not be marked anonymous, in order to allow follow up with students in the subsequent lab sessions, as well as cross checking diary entries with attendance. Due to Institute of Physics accreditation requirements, the average mark of the laboratory component needs to be above 40% in order to pass the module.

• Bi-weekly hand-in questions from Small Group Tutorial Sessions.

• A written examination of 2-hour duration with a section of short compulsory questions, and a section of longer questions with a choice of 2 out of 3.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students receive formative verbal feedback during laboratory session from Academics and Demonstrators.

They also have the opportunity to receive feedback on their ability to apply the topics covered during the Oscillations and Waves lectures through:

- Small group tutorial sessions

- Exercise sheets and model solutions made available through the Virtual Learning Environment following class tutorials

- Multiple Choice revision questions during the lecture sessions

EDI Training

The assessment of engagement with the EDI Awareness Workshop will be by an open book quiz with unlimited re-attempts, but it must be passed in order to pass the module.

Module aims

• provide a solid base for the important concepts that re-occur in (almost) all areas of physics relating to harmonic oscillations and wave phenomena.
• introduce the general mathematical description as well as to the common physical interpretation and consequences concerning speed, frequency, energy, velocities etc.
• applied and re-inforce concepts through many examples of oscillations and waves
• develop confidence and familiarity in students with the theoretical description and analysis of harmonic oscillations and waves  as well as performing experiments of wave related phenomena, for example in the area of mechanical springs, diffraction, standing mechanical waves, AC circuits etc.

Learning outcomes

 Attributes Developed 002 Analyze simple systems undergoing simple harmonic motion and be able to derive equations describing the motion and expressions for the oscillation frequency. KCP 003 Derive and understand the wave equation for simple cases e.g. waves on a string. Understand and analyse simple travelling waveforms KC 004 Be able to calculate interference and diffraction patterns arising from , e.g. multiple point sources of light and slits of finite width KC 005 Demonstrate an understanding of the working of selected optical instruments CP 006 Demonstrate an intuitive feel for fundamental and basic properties such as the speed, frequency, and wavelength of light P 007 Apply practical and teamworking skills for laboratory work. Perform measurements and keep clear and accurate records of the results. CPT 001 Recognise benefits of equality, diversity and inclusion and identify causes and effects of unconscious bias T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching methods include:

• lectures which are delivered in person and supported by captured content to give students access to lecture resources when revising.

• laboratory classes (shared with PHY1033) which are supported by guided learning in the form of short videos introducing experimental work.

• an interactive workshop on the importance of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PHY1036

Other information

The School of Mathematics and Physics is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Global and Cultural Capabilities The module includes an Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) workshop which aims to increase students’ awareness of cultural, religious, and racial differences while exploring how a person can change their behavior to be more inclusive . Through this training, students are encouraged to diversify their knowledge and reflect upon their experiences as a physicist and in education.

Resourcefulness and Resilience Students are introduced to problem solving, both individually in the assessed coursework, and in small groups in both the experimental laboratories and small-group tutorial sessions. A key aim of the module is to show how the techniques developed here can be applied to a wide range of physics phenomena and real-world examples.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Physics BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Astronomy BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Quantum Computing BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics MPhys 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Astronomy MPhys 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics MPhys 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Quantum Computing MPhys 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics and Physics BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics and Physics MPhys 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics and Physics MMath 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.