• Offered by Research School of Physics and Engineering
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Physics
  • Academic career Undergraduate
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2016
    See Future Offerings

This course consists of an initial compulsory component, followed by a choice of units in the second half of the semester. This initial unit focuses on bringing the students up to speed in advanced Newtonian mechanics.  The emphasis is mainly on advanced statics and follows fairly closely the textbook Principles of Mechanics  by Synge and Griffith, up until the section on rotational motion. Topics include advanced material on those parts of classical mechanics that have not been  emphasized in early-year courses. They include the principle of virtual work, equilibrium of rigid bodies, equilibrium of elastic continua, hydrostatics and planetary orbits. The course emphasizes  calculation and problem-solving, particularly of real-world systems such as suspension bridges and the stability (or instability) of ships.

Topics available in the second half of the course include:
Car Physics - This covers general physics, using the car as a practice system. This will incorporate many areas of physics in order to understand a real-world system. Those parts of physics that are used include: rigid body mechanics and the mechanics of machines (cranks, gears, cams, valves etc); Thermodynamics  and Statistical Mechanics; Quantum Mechanics; Acoustics;  Elasticity Theory; and Fluid Mechanics (in many different regimes). The emphasis is mainly on the powertrain, with some attention paid to steering and suspension.
Gravity - This topic will discuss modern aspects of gravity including its general relativistic description, precision measurements of gravity, applications of gravity and experiments on quantum gravity. This topic will move freely between theoretical and experimental considerations of the subject.
Electronics - The topic will tie together much of the physics learnt as an undergraduate in a practical setting. It will introduce the students to electronics practice in a physics research laboratory environment. The course concentrates on the processing of analog signals. Linear circuits are reviewed before moving on to active circuits. The active circuits are primarily investigated using operational amplifiers, though simple transistor circuits are also used. Concepts such as negative feedback, dynamic range, signal to noise ratios, filtering and analog to digital conversion are explored.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this subject, students should have the skills and knowledge to:

1. Solve problems in the equilibrium of point or rigid bodies
2. Solve problems in elastic continua and hydrostatics
3.Solve problems in rotational motion and the orbits of planets and other celestial bodies
4. Understand, evaluate and describe the theories, concepts and principles of the current knowledge for the chosen topic.
5. Master appropriate analytical, theoretical and/or practical techniques to further their understanding and skills in the chosen topic.

Indicative Assessment

Wattle quizzes/Laboratory work (40%) (LO 1-5)
Exam (60%) (LO1-5)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The course will consist of lectures, tutorials and labwork, depending on the optional topic selected. Total workload (including homework and study) will be kept to 8 hours per week, with typically 3 contact hours per week.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You will need to contact the Research School of Physics and Engineering to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Preliminary Reading

Principles of Mechanics  by Synge and  Griffith

Assumed Knowledge

Students will be expected to have completed an undergraduate degree, with a major in Physics.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 2
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $3276
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $4368
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
4601 15 Feb 2016 26 Feb 2016 31 Mar 2016 27 May 2016 In Person

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions