• Offered by Research School of Physics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Economics, Physics, Science, Engineering
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Kenneth Baldwin
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings

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:

  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

  1. Assignments and online questions (60) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Oral presentation (20) [LO 5]
  3. Exam (20) [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.

Workload

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 and 1 x 1 hour Tutorial per week. 5 x 3 hour site visits will be scheduled over the semester.

• Approximately 67 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for lectures and other assessment tasks. 

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

This course is incompatible with PHYS2205.

Prescribed Texts

N/A

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.  

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:
2
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.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
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
6033 25 Jul 2022 01 Aug 2022 31 Aug 2022 28 Oct 2022 In Person N/A

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