• Class Number 6235
  • Term Code 3260
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Cedric Simenel
    • Dr Ben Buchler
    • Prof Cedric Simenel
    • Dr Mika Kohonen
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/07/2022
  • Class End Date 28/10/2022
  • Census Date 31/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/08/2022
SELT Survey Results

Physics 2 builds on Physics 1, PHYS1101, with a greater emphasis on mathematical techniques. It is an essential course for any student intending to study physics in later years as it introduces foundational knowledge in the areas of waves and optics, mathematical physics, stationary action principles, and special relativity. The course develops experimental and mathematical methods as parts of an integrated approach to physics. 

This course together with Physics 1 provide the basis for further study of physics. They underpin the study at second year level of the core physics areas of: quantum mechanics, statistical and thermal physics, electromagnetism, and classical physics.

An Honours Pathway option is offered.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand the concepts of special relativity, including: the postulates, time dilation, length contraction and the relativity of simultaneity.
  2. Be able use the Lorentz transformations for event coordinates.
  3. Understand the stationary action principle and its origin in quantum mechanics.
  4. Be able to derive the Euler-Lagrange equations for simple mechanical systems.
  5. Be able to take a wide range of physical situations, model them using differential equations, and effectively use the solutions.
  6. Be able to set up and compute 3D integrals of both scalar and vector quantities and use them to compute physical quantities such as electric fields and moments of inertia.
  7. Be able to model physical systems as damped, driven and coupled harmonic oscillators.
  8. Be able to apply physics principles to the solution of problems, including complex problems, and to the conduct of experiments.
  9. Have developed laboratory skills including equipment skills, data gathering and analysis, estimation and interpretation of uncertainties and, experiment design, and presentation.

- Morin, D. (2008) Introduction to Classical Mechanics with Problems and Solutions, Cambridge Uni. Press

- Feynman, R. (1964) The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Addison-Wesley

- University Physics (vol. 1 & 3), by OpenStax: https://openstax.org/details/books/university-physics

- Chabay, R. and Sherwood, B. (2015) Matter and Interactions (4th edition), John Wiley & Sons

- Squires, G. L. (2001) Practical Physics (4th edition), Cambridge Uni. Press

- Kirkup, L. (1996) Experimental Methods, Wiley

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
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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

Workshops and labs are compulsory and in person.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Action physics (classical) Hamiltonian, Lagrangian, and action. Path. Principle of stationary action. Free particle, falling particle, and particle in a potential. Euler-Lagrange (EL) equation. Catenary problem. Equivalence with Newtonian dynamics. General coordinates. Spring pendulum. Bead on a rotating hoop. Canonical momentum. Symmetries and conservation laws. Noether theorem. Skills learned: - Mathematical: Partial di?erentiation. Integration by part. Cartesian, polar and spherical coordinates. Taylor expansion. Manipulation of complex numbers. Stationary phase approximation. Linear algebra. - Theoretical: Building a mathematical representation of physical systems and their dynamics. Making adequate approximations. Taking classical and non-relativistic limits. Using symmetries.
2 Action physics (quantum) Planck constant. Phasor. Amplitude of transition probability. Many path formulation of quantum physics. Stationary phase approximation. Classical limit. Two-slit experiment with particles. Hydrogen atom. Positronium.
3 Relativity and particles Relativity principle. Constancy of speed of light. Action and canonical momentum of a free relativistic particle. Inertial frames. Galilean transformations. Light clocks. Time dilation. Length contraction. Relativity of simultaneity. Gamma factor. Lorentz transformation. Causality. Paradoxes. Principle of maximal ageing. Relativistic energy and momentum. Fundamental electromagnetic, strong, and weak interactions. Antiparticles. Neutrinos and ß-decay. Q-values.
4 Oscillations and waves Damped, driven and coupled mechanical oscillators (using EL equation again). LCR circuit. Quality factor. Wave equation. Speed of waves, energy transport, impedance re?ections. Doppler e?ect for sound. superposition of waves. sonic booms - interference. standing waves and normal modes Acoustic waves.
5 Electromagnetic (EM) waves and optics Evidence for EM waves: Snell’s law. From Maxwell’s equations to EM wave equation. Polarisation. Evidence for Photons: Black body spectrum. Photo-electric e?ect. Ray optics. Lenses. Microscope. Telescope. Resolution Di?raction. Double slit experiment with light.
6 Labs Spring constant. Gravitational waves. Magnetic ?eld in a solenoid. Electronics: diodes. Electro-magnetic induction. Interference and di?raction of light. Di?raction grating spectrometer. Speed of sound in air. Torsion pendulum. Speed of light. Skill learned: - Computational: Mathematica. Python. - Communication: Writing a formal lab report. Video (HPO). - Experimental: Graphing of data and deriving information from graphs. Calculating uncertainties. Keeping logbook records. Quantifying the goodness of ?t between a theoretical model and experimental data using the Chi-squared test. Using a grid search to ?nd a best-?t parameter. Conception of a simple experimental setup (HPO).

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Final Exam 40 % 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
Labs 30 % 8,9
Assignments 25 % 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
Quiz 5 % 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

* 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 Academic Integrity . 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.


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: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Final Exam

Refer to the PHYS1201 Wattle page and/or Examination timetable for end of semester exam scheduling

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 8,9


Answer the pre-lab questions and go to your lab session. Labs will commence in week 2, enrollment in labs is via the PHYS1201 Wattle page.

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

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8


Work on your weekly home assignment (assessable) and submit it on Wattle before the due date. (due dates will be advised at the start of the semester via Wattle)

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

Assessment Task 4

Value: 5 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8


Wattle quiz during workshops.

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 1 week of the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. No late submission permitted for Assignment 10. 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 have to be submitted electronically in Wattle

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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

Resubmission of assignments is not allowed as the solution is published online.

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 Cedric Simenel

Research Interests

Quantum, nuclear and particle physics

Prof Cedric Simenel

Dr Ben Buchler

Research Interests

Dr Ben Buchler

Prof Cedric Simenel

Research Interests

Prof Cedric Simenel

Dr Mika Kohonen

Research Interests

Dr Mika Kohonen

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