Introduction to Applied Physics: Great Experiments

  • Combine this unit with two others to form the module 'Introduction to Physics Specialisms'

During this unit you will begin your education in applied physics by studying some of the most important physics experiments throughout history.

Significant advances in physics can frequently be associated with classic experiments, the results of which have revealed some fundamental truth or have changed the way we perceive or think about nature.

For example: The concept of an ether – at one time believed to pervade space and to provide a medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves – was essentially abandoned after the Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887. Rutherford’s experiments on the scattering of alpha particles provided the basis of the nuclear model of the atom. The discovery of fundamental particles, such as the electron, led to major advances in understanding the nature of matter and in the development of electronic devices. Investigations of the cosmic microwave background radiation and experiments verifying the fundamental tenets of quantum mechanics have contributed significantly to unravelling the mysteries of the universe.

You will learn about the role played by classic experiments in the development of modern day physics, and gain an appreciation of the experimental methods used. You will learn about the significance of experimental results and data analysis.

During the unit, you will attend lectures, solve problems and discuss topical areas of speciality physics with your peers and staff.

Topics Covered

  • A selection of fundamental experimental investigations that have had a dramatic effect on the development of physics
  • The significance of historical discoveries considered in the light of today's knowledge