PHY3053 General Problems 2022-23
Dr P.G. Petrov and Tutors

Delivery Weeks: T1:01-11, T2:01-11
Level: 6 (NQF)
Credits: 15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS
Enrolment: 101 students (approx)

Description

Problem-solving is the process of answering questions by using reasoning beyond the mere application of pre-learned procedures. This is a synoptic module that presents students with unfamiliar problems to solve. It requires them to draw on the skills and knowledge of core physics they have built up over their three years at University in order to develop their own solutions to these problems.

Module Aims

Professional physicists are expected to able to tackle many problems by the appropriate application of basic physical laws and by doing so demonstrate their knowledge of the relevant laws and deepen their understanding of the physical world. The ability to solve problems is also an essential life-skill, and most physics graduates earn a living not from their detailed knowledge of physics, but from their ability to solve their employers' problems. The aim of this module is to develop students' problem-solving ability and experience.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

A student who has passed this module should be able to:

• Module Specific Skills and Knowledge:
1. use core physics knowlege and skills from Stages 1-3 of a Physics programme to solve unfamiliar problems;
• Discipline Specific Skills and Knowledge:
1. transform textual and/or diagrammatic descriptions of systems into mathematical models;
2. identify relevant and irrelevant information in a stated problem and supplement it with the general and subject-specific knowledge required to obtain a solution;
3. design, execute and check a solution to a physical problem;
4. solve problems and check solutions by considering and/or exploiting: dimensional analysis, symmetry, scaling properties, functional form, algebraic validity, limiting values and special cases, numerical reasonableness and units, etc.;
5. make and justify appropriate estimates and approximations.
7. identify the basic physical laws relevant to solving problems involving unfamiliar systems;
8. identify, and correct, fallacious reasoning and/or the incorrect application of physical laws;
• Personal and Key Transferable / Employment Skills and Knowledge:
1. present written solutions to problems in a manner that makes clear the methods, reasoning and assumptions used.

Syllabus Plan

The examination may consist of problems on any area of physics. However, these will be soluble by applying laws and techniques included within the core modules common to the Physics programmes that include this module. Booklets of past questions and their mark schemes are publish on ELE (see link below). Past examination papers and the associated solutions and hints are useful guide to the style of problems that they can expect to encounter in the assessment.

This module is primarily taught through self-study. It is supported by video lectures, tutorials (including set work), and the ELE forum.

Learning and Teaching

Learning Activities and Teaching Methods

Description Study time KIS type
11×1-hour problem-solving videos 11 hours SLT
9×2-hour follow-up exercises 18 hours GIS
9×2-hour problem-sets 18 hours GIS
6×1-hour tutorials 4 hours SLT
Reading, private study and revision 99 hours GIS

Assessment

Weight Form Size When ILOS assessed Feedback
0% Problems assigned by tutor 1×2-hour problem-set Week T1:08 1-10 Written and verbal
0% Problems assigned by tutor 3×2-hour problem-sets Fortnightly in Term 2 1-10 Written and verbal
100% Examination 2 hours 30 minutes May/June 1-10 Mark via MyExeter, collective feedback via ELE and solutions.

Resources

The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).

Core text:

• Not applicable

Supplementary texts:

• Not applicable

ELE:

Further Information

Prior Knowledge Requirements

Pre-requisite Modules Vector Mechanics (PHY1021), Introduction to Astrophysics (PHY1022), Waves and Optics (PHY1023), Properties of Matter (PHY1024), Electromagnetism I (PHY2021), Quantum Mechanics I (PHY2022), Thermal Physics (PHY2023) and Condensed Matter I (PHY2024) (Electromagnetism II (PHY3051), Quantum Mechanics II (PHYM002))/PHY3055 and Nuclear and High Energy Physics (PHY3052)

Re-assessment

Re-assessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.

Original form of assessment Form of re-assessment ILOs re-assessed Time scale for re-assessment
Whole module Written examination (100%) 1-10 August/September assessment period

Notes: See Physics Assessment Conventions.

KIS Data Summary

Learning activities and teaching methods
SLT - scheduled learning & teaching activities 15 hrs
GIS - guided independent study 135 hrs
PLS - placement/study abroad 0 hrs
Total 150 hrs
Summative assessment
Coursework 0%
Written exams 100%
Practical exams 0%
Total 100%

Miscellaneous

 IoP Accreditation Checklist Not applicable Availability Physics only Distance learning NO Keywords Physics; Problem-solving; Physical laws; Unfamiliar problems. Created 07-Jan-23 Revised 01-Oct-10