• 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 PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Igor Skryabin
    • Prof Kenneth Baldwin
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

This course includes an on campus activity/ies. Check timetable for details. Contact course convener if you are unable to travel to Canberra.

This course builds 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. Students 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.
This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

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

On satisfying the requirements for this course students will be able to:
  1. Critically analyse physical claims quantitatively using physical principles and methods;
  2. Evaluate physical quantities efficiently using 'back-of-the-envelope' techniques, including dimensional arguments;
  3. Use the above skills to make reasoned arguments to validate or criticise ideas and to fact check;
  4. Apply error and uncertainty estimation and sensitivity analysis to enable risk management;
  5. Communicate quantitative analysis and reasoned decision making on complex subjects to a diverse audience.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:
  • Assignments and online questions (50%; LO 1-5)
  • Oral presentation (20%; LO5)
  • Exam (30%; LO 1-4)

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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

This course is incompatible with PHYS2205.

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
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
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
8559 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person View

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