PHY3068 
Principles of Theoretical Physics 
202021 

Dr A.V. Shytov 


Delivery Weeks: 
T2:0111 

Level: 
6 (NQF) 

Credits: 
15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS 

Enrolment: 
19 students (approx) 

Description
This module reviews the most important concepts of theoretical physics, in particular: the
action, symmetries, and conservation laws. It shows how they help physicists to think about
seemingly disconnected topics, ranging from mechanics to quantum field theory. The module is
recommended as an option for students who wish to specialise in theoretical physics, and who are
intending to take level 7 theory option(s), such as PHYM013
Quantum ManyBody Theory. The topics covered will be also of interest to the
students who want to understand the language of theoretical physics without making it their field
of research.
Module Aims
Theoretical physics aims to organise our knowledge about the physical world using a compact set of
principles that are expressed mathematically.
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
A student who has passed this module should be able to:

Module Specific Skills and Knowledge:
 use symmetry principles to determine the form of the action of a physical system;
 derive equations of motion and conservation laws using the action;
 apply the concept of energystress tensor to a range of problems;
 describe the relation between leastaction principle in classical theory and path integral approach in quantum theory;
 solve quantummechanical problems involving magnetic field;
 use the semiclassical approximation in quantum mechanics to solve problems;

Discipline Specific Skills and Knowledge:
 apply the ideas and approaches of theoretical physics to a wide range of problems;

Personal and Key Transferable / Employment Skills and Knowledge:
 devise a wellstructured solution with clearly explained reasoning;
 use a range of resources in order to learn through independent study.
Syllabus Plan

Analytical dynamics
least action principle, EulerLagrange equations, symmetries, Noether's theorem, conservation laws.

Relativistic mechanics
geometry of space time, Lorentz symmetry, action, equations of motion, particle in external fields, scalar and vector potentials.

Classical field theory
scalar field, its action and conservation laws, sound waves in gases and solids as an example.

Electromagnetic Fields
Electromagnetic field tensor, action for electromagnetic field, Maxwell's equations, gauge invariance and charge conservation.
Electromechanical analogy and the effective action.

Quantum theory
Schrödinger equation and its Green function, Heisenberg representation, path integral formulation
of quantum mechanics, path integral treatment of quantum harmonic oscillator

Semiclassical Methods
Semiclassical approximation in quantum mechanics, the saddle point method.

Electromagnetic fields in quantum theory
Gauge invariance, AharonovBohm effect, Landau levels

Introduction to Quantum Field Theory
Interactions mediated by virtual particles
Learning and Teaching
Learning Activities and Teaching Methods
Description 
Study time 
KIS type 
20×1hour lectures 
20 hours

SLT 
2×1hour problems/revision classes 
2 hours

SLT 
5×6hour selfstudy packages 
30 hours

GIS 
4×4hour problem sets 
16 hours

GIS 
Reading, private study and revision 
82 hours

GIS 
Assessment
Weight 
Form 
Size 
When 
ILOS assessed 
Feedback 
0% 
Guided selfstudy 
5×6hour packages 
Fortnightly 
19 
Discussion in class 
0% 
4 × Problems sets 
4 hours per set 
Fortnightly 
19 
Solutions discussed in problems classes. 
100% 
Final Examination 
2 hours 30 minutes 
May/June 
18 
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:
Supplementary texts:

Feynman R.P., Leighton R.B. and Sands M. (1963), Lectures on Physics, Vol. II, AddisonWesley, ISBN 020102117X (UL: 530 FEY/X)

Feynman R.P. and Hibbs A.R. (1965), Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals, McGraw Hill, ISBN 0070206503 (UL: 530.12 FEY)

Goldstein H., Poole C. and Safko J. (2002), Classical Mechanics (3^{rd} edition), Addison Wesley, ISBN 0201657023 (UL: 531 GOL)

Griffiths D.J. (2014), Introduction to Electrodynamics (4^{th} edition), Pearson Education, ISBN 9780321856562 (UL: 537.6 GRI)

Inkson J.C. (1984), Many Body Theory of Solids, Plenum, ISBN 0306413264 (UL: 530.144 INK)

Jackson J.D. (1998), Classical Electrodynamics (3^{rd} edition), Wiley, ISBN 047130932X (UL: 537.6 JAC)

Landau L.D. and Lifshitz E.M. (1975), Classical Theory of Fields (Vol. 2) (4^{th} edition), ButterworthHeinemann, ISBN 9780750627689 (UL: 530.141 LAN)

Landau L.D. and Lifshitz E.M. (1976), Mechanics (Vol. 1) (3^{rd} edition), ButterworthHeinemann, ISBN 9780750628969 (UL: 531 LAN)

Schiff L.I. (1968), Quantum mechanics (3^{rd} edition), McGrawHill, ISBN 0070552878 (UL: 530.12 SCH)

Schwinger J., Deraad L.L., Milton K.A., Tsai W. and Norton J. (1998), Classical Electrodynamics, Perseus Books, ISBN 9780738200569 (UL: 537.6 SCH)

Shepherd P.J. (2013), A Course in Theoretical Physics, WileyBlackwell, ISBN 9781118481349 (UL: eBook)

Ziman J.M. (1969), Elements of Advanced Quantum Theory, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 521074584 (UL: 530.12 ZIM)
ELE:
Further Information
Prior Knowledge Requirements
Prerequisite Modules 
Quantum Mechanics I (PHY2022) and Electromagnetism II (PHY3051)/PHY3055 
Corequisite Modules 
none 
Reassessment
Reassessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.
Original form of assessment 
Form of reassessment 
ILOs reassessed 
Time scale for reassessment 
Whole module 
Written examination (100%) 
18 
August/September assessment period 
Notes: See Physics Assessment Conventions.
KIS Data Summary
Learning activities and teaching methods 
SLT  scheduled learning & teaching activities 
22 hrs 
GIS  guided independent study 
128 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 
 N/A this is an optional module

Availability 
unrestricted 
Distance learning 
NO 
Keywords 
Physics; Fields; Quantum; Action; Equations; Electromagnetic; Theory;
Conservation; Principles; Mechanics; Scalar. 
Created 
01Oct10 
Revised 
N/A 