• Class Number 5876
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Ben Buchler
    • Dr Ben Buchler
    • Prof Joseph Hope
    • Dr Nicola Maher
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

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.

Required Resources

The course material will be presented via edX. You will have have to sign up to the course on this platform, watch the video material, answer some questions and then attend the workshops to learn how to solve problems.

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

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Weeks 1-4: Fourier Theory and Applications Fourier Series Fourier transforms Properties and theorems of the Fourier transform Linear time-invarient systems Applications to wave dispersion and imaging
2 Weeks 5-8: Mechanics of discrete bodies Calculus of variations Least action and Lagrangian mechanics Hamiltonian mechanics Transformations and symmetries Tensors
3 Weeks 9-12: Introductory Fluid Mechanics Continuum approximation, Lagrangian vs Eulerian flow descriptions, Conservation of mass, Waves in fluids Nonlinear behaviour in fluids Pressure, momentum, Hydrostatic balance Stress, strain, viscosity and the Navier-Stokes equations Dimensional analysis Transition to turbulence, Dissipation, Turbulent spectra

Tutorial Registration

Tutorials will be "drop-in" at a time to be determined by the class.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Assignments and online questions 30 % * * 1,2,3,4
Laboratory Work 20 % * * 6
Computational Projects (1 of 2) 5 % * * 5
Computational Projects (2 of 2) 5 % * * 5
Exam 40 % 02/11/2023 30/11/2023 1,2,3,4

* 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 Integrity 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 Skills 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.


Workshops: There is 1 x 2 hour workshop per week. Attendance is compulsory. If you miss more than 3 workshops then you can not pass the course.


Please check the ANU final Examination Timetable http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/examination-timetable to confirm the date, time and location exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Assignments and online questions

Online questions must be completed before the workshop (5%) There is one workshop per week. There are 11 assignments due over the semester. (25%) The first assignment will be due in week 2. It is intended that the marked assignments will be returned within 1 week after submission. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site.

Weekly assignments are to be submitted via Wattle

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 6

Laboratory Work

Sign up for 2nd year labs will be via the 2nd year labs Wattle page.

2 lab reports, the first is due at the end of week 7, the second is due at the end of week 12.

Log books due after each lab session.

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

Assessment Task 3

Value: 5 %
Learning Outcomes: 5

Computational Projects (1 of 2)

There will be two computational projects worth 5% each to be submitted via Wattle.

The first project is due end of week 6.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 5 %
Learning Outcomes: 5

Computational Projects (2 of 2)

There will be two computational projects worth 5% each to be submitted via Wattle.

This second project is due end of week 9.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 02/11/2023
Return of Assessment: 30/11/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


Please refer to the Examinations timetable and/or Wattle for exam scheduling.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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 beyond 1 week 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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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

Not permitted

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).

Dr Ben Buchler

Research Interests

  • Quantum Information, Computation And Communication
  • Classical And Physical Optics
  • Quantum Optics
  • Lasers And Quantum Electronics

Dr Ben Buchler

Dr Ben Buchler

Research Interests

Dr Ben Buchler

Prof Joseph Hope

Research Interests

Prof Joseph Hope

Dr Nicola Maher

Research Interests

Dr Nicola Maher

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