• Offered by Research School of Physics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Photonics, Physics, Science, Engineering, Earth Physics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Ben Buchler
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

This course has been adjusted for remote participation in Sem 2 2021, however students are encouraged to attend on-campus activities if possible.

This core second year physics course develops classical mechanics. The least action formulation of classical mechanics is developed and related to quantum mechanics. Hamiltonian mechanics is also introduced, as are the tensor properties of materials. The course examines wave phenomena in continuous media, including diffraction and Fourier theory, and continuum mechanics in fluids. The course material is supported throughout by examples taken from recent research on mechanical systems, nano-optics, atomic physics, biological systems, fluid mechanics and laser physics. Computer models provide an opportunity to explore various concepts presented in lectures, including coupled linear oscillators and chaotic dynamics in driven non-linear oscillators. Complementing the lectures, this course contains a laboratory component. Some experiments are essentially qualitative and support lecture material, while others allow development of important skills in quantitative experimental physics. This course is a prerequisite for PHYS3101 and PHYS3102. It is required for the physics major.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Solve complicated physical problems using the principle of least action.
  2. Describe the role of the wave equation and appreciate the universal nature of wave motion in a range of physical systems.
  3. Use Fourier theory and diffraction to describe properties of waves.
  4. Understand the fundamentals of the mechanics of continuous systems.
  5. Model and analyse the dynamics of physical systems using computational methods.
  6. Through the lab course, understand the principles of measurement and error analysis and develop skills in experimental design.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Assignments and online questions (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Laboratory work (20) [LO 6]
  3. Computational project (10) [LO 5]
  4. Exam (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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 expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 1 x 3 hour workshop per week (36 hours per semester), an optional 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week plus 16 hours of labs throughout the semester.
  • Approximately 78 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for lectures and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed PHYS1201 and have successfully completed or be studying MATH2306. Incompatible with PHYS2017, PHYS3001 and PHYS3034

Prescribed Texts


Assumed Knowledge

Students enrolling in this course are strongly encouraged to have completed PHYS1201 with a credit or higher.



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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2021 $4110
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5880
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

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
6135 26 Jul 2021 02 Aug 2021 14 Sep 2021 29 Oct 2021 In Person N/A

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