USQ Logo
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

PHY3303 Modern Physics

Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Mathematics, Physics & Computing
Student contribution band : Band 2
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 17 May 2022


Pre-requisite: PHY1104 and PHY1911


Physics is about the fundamental laws governing our universe of matter, energy, space and time. "Classical physics" is typically considered to cover mechanics, acoustics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism and (classical) optics, whereas "modern physics" encompasses relativity and the quantum mechanics of matter and light. Modern physics is the science behind most of today's pure and applied research frontiers of physics; pure research is providing the most profound insight into the nature of matter and the universe as a whole, while applied research has given us electronic computers, mobile phones, and advanced medical technology, as well as the promise of cost-effective solar panels and massively parallel quantum computers. A course on modern physics can enable those pursuing a career as a scientist, science educator and other professionals to understand current major questions in physics research. Such a course can also inform students of how modern physics helps us deliver, manage and improve advanced technology for tackling the grand environmental, health and security challenges facing our world.

Modern physics covers the extraordinary developments in physics that have taken place over the last century or so (and which promise to continue, thanks to the search for a unified theory of everything and the discovery of an expanding universe). This course covers special and general relativity, the quantum description of light and matter, and quantum and statistical mechanics. Also covered are topics on atoms, molecules, solids, and nuclear and particle physics, and a concluding online section on modern cosmology. The theory in this course is supported by practice with relevant problem solving, and experiments. This course contains a highly recommended residential school (non-attendance will mean the student misses both an element for assessment preparation and an element of assessment).

Course offers

Semester Mode Campus
Semester 1, 2022 External
Date printed 17 May 2022