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Electromagnetism and Thermodynamics - PHYS202

This unit introduces the principles, theory and application of the two great pillars of 19th century classical physics: electromagnetism and thermodynamics. We first develop the theory of electromagnetism, which describes the properties and behaviour of electric and magnetic fields and their interaction with charged matter. Maxwell’s four laws of electromagnetism are revisited, in the powerful language of vector calculus. We explore their power for understanding phenomena in electrostatics, magnetostatics and electrodynamics.
We then address the thermodynamic principles which guide our understanding of the physical world: the conservation of energy and the increase in entropy. We motivate the introduction of macroscopic state functions such as temperature, pressure, and volume to characterise the state of a system, and connect them with the concept of the equation of state, including the case of ideal and Van der Waals gases. The formulation of the Zeroth through the Third Laws of Thermodynamics are used to understand the concepts of reversible and irreversible engines as exemplars of all thermodynamic systems. Finally, we make a connection between entropy and information theory.
Advanced techniques of experimental physics including indirect measurement of microscopic quantities are covered in guided laboratory sessions, as are data analysis techniques and report writing.

Credit Points: 3
When Offered:

S2 Day - Session 2, North Ryde, Day

Staff Contact(s): Associate Professor Alex Fuerbach

(MATH133 or MATH136) and [(PHYS140 and PHYS143) or (PHYS106 and PHYS107)] Prerequisite Information



Unit Designation(s):



Unit Type:
Assessed As: Graded
Offered By:

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Course structures, including unit offerings, are subject to change.
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