• Offered by Physics Education Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Economics, Physics, Science, Engineering
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Kenneth Baldwin
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2018
    See Future Offerings

This second year course is an elective unit that will build on the understanding of physical principles and methods and apply them to quantitative analysis of real-world problems. Case studies will be drawn from energy systems, climate science, communications, defence, sensing/imaging, measurement standards and forensics. Course graduates will be able to use their skills to, for example, fact-check statements in the media by public figures that claim a particular outcome for a physical system. These skills will include understanding scientific method, quantitative reasoning, measurement units, noise / error estimation, sensitivity analysis, risk management assessment and truth validation. There will be lectures by guest experts drawn from government, industry and research institutions who have practical experience in the application of physics to real-world problems and public policy. The course may include site visits, but there is no laboratory component.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Apply the scientific method in unfamiliar contexts
  2. Analyse physical claims quantitatively using physical principles and methods
  3. Estimate physical quantities efficiently using 'back-of-the-envelope' techniques, including dimensional arguments
  4. Apply error and uncertainty estimation and sensitivity analysis to enable risk management
  5. Use the above skills to validate or criticise ideas and to fact check
  6. Apply physical principles to analyse a range of practical applications

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:
  • Assignments and online questions (50%; LO 1-6)
  • Oral presentation (20%; LO6)
  • Exam (30%; LO 1-6)

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.

Workload

Three contact hours per week (with online lecture material), optional weekly tutorial, including site visits.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 24 units

Preliminary Reading

"Physics and Technology for Future Presidents", Richard A. Muller Princeton University Press (2010)
"Sustainable Energy — without the hot air", David JC MacKay (2007) - downloadable book - http://www.
withouthotair.com/

Assumed Knowledge

Assumed knowledge in mathematics or physics at university entry level

Fees

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:
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.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $5160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9833 23 Jul 2018 30 Jul 2018 31 Aug 2018 26 Oct 2018 In Person N/A

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