• Class Number 6473
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Vince Craig
    • Prof Vince Craig
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

Soft Condensed Matter is a general term given to materials that are easily deformed or structurally altered due to thermal fluctuations or weak mechanical stresses. The topic includes colloids, polymers, gels, surfactants solutions, liquid crystals, surface forces and biological materials. Students will be introduced to soft matter and learn the fundamentals of colloid science, surface forces, polymers and liquid crystals. The topic is necessarily multidisciplinary and will include many examples of everyday phenomena and will be of interest to chemists, engineers and biologists as well as physics students.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain the significance of soft condensed matter both scientifically and in the wider community.
  2. Explain material properties using a fundamental knowledge of Colloid and Interface Science
  3. Describe polymer solutions using the fundamental basic physics
  4. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the physics of liquid crystal systems
  5. Recognize everyday examples of soft matter systems and use material learned in the course to understand the behavior of such systems

Research-Led Teaching

  • The course material will include examples of current research in the field
  • Students can adapt the laboratory exercises to address their own research questions 

Field Trips

Not Applicable

Additional Course Costs

Not Applicable

Examination Material or equipment

Non-programmable scientific calculator


Required Resources

  • Shoes suitable for laboratory work
  • Exercise book for recording laboratory work
  • Scientific Calculator

• Soft Condensed Matter, Richard A. L. Jones, Oxford University Press, ISBN 019 850589 2

• Soft Matter Physics an Introduction, Maurice Klemen & Oleg D. Lavrentovich, Springer, ISBN 0-387-95267-5

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Marks for assignments and laboratory exercises
  • Worked examples of tutorial exercises

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

The dates shown for exams are the examination period. Please refer to the PHYS2204 Wattle page for all due dates and/or the examination timetable for exam scheduling.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Weeks 1-12 Lectures Exam in the middle and at the end of the course. Regular quizzes
2 Weeks 3-8 Laboratory Class Submission of laboratory notebook at the completion of each lab. Some labs require a full report

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Long Lab report x 2 20 % * * 1,2,3,4,5
Mid Semester exam 40 % 30/08/2021 24/09/2021 1,2,3,4,5
Final exam 20 % 04/11/2021 02/12/2021 1,2,3,4,5
Pre laboratory questions and Lab Books 10 % * * 1,2,3,4,5
Quizzes 10 % * * 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Laboratory exercises are compulsory. If a student is unable to attend a lab, alternative arrangements must be made


Examination material or equipment:

• Non Programmable scientific calculator

• Ruler

Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and results returned to the student (official end of Semester results released on ISIS). Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Long Lab report x 2

2 x full reports are required for specific laboratory exercises. Together these reports cover ~ 2/3rds of your laboratory mark.

Reports are submitted electronically using the following file naming

LastName_FirstName_Student Number_Lab X.pdf, where X is the Lab number

Both lab reports will be due two weeks after the laboratory exercise is completed and will be marked within 2 weeks of submission

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 30/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 24/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Mid Semester exam

Please refer to the PHYS2204 Wattle page and/or the examination timetable for exam scheduling.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 04/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 02/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Final exam

Please refer to the PHYS2204 Wattle page and/or the examination timetable for exam scheduling.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Pre laboratory questions and Lab Books

Marks will be allotted to the pre-lab questions. These have to be completed before arriving in the lab via wattle. Your laboratory notebooks will be marked. No lab book - no mark. Copies of laboratory notebooks will be submitted in wattle within 48 hours of completing the lab

Students are expected to contribute on an on-going basis throughout the semester.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5


Regular quizzes will be made available on Wattle

Students are expected to contribute on an on-going basis throughout the semester.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments should be submitted electronically as a pdf file with the filename in the following format:

LastName_FirstName_Student Number.pdf

You must follow this file naming system!

Assignments will be returned via Wattle

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Will only be considered under exceptional circumstances

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Vince Craig

Research Interests

Soft Condensed Matter, Colloid and Interface Science, Specific ion effects, Surface Forces, Bubbles, Surfactant Adsorption

Prof Vince Craig

By Appointment
Prof Vince Craig

Research Interests

Prof Vince Craig

By Appointment

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