Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism

Module code: NT2009

Classical mechanics, sometimes known as Newtonian mechanics, is the branch of classical (pre-quantum) physics concerned with forces and motion, particularly of macroscopic objects. In this module we will review the definitions and use of quantities such as work, energy, momentum and angular momentum. We will examine the relationship between theory and experiment or observation in, for example, planetary motion. We will also discuss the properties of linear elasticity (Hooke’s law and Young’s modulus) and the basic properties of fluids including Archimedes’ principle and Bernoulli’s theorem.

So many aspects of modern life are reliant on electrical power and electromagnetic waves that we often take these things for granted. The laws that allow us to understand the behaviour of electrical charges and magnets, and which explain how electrical currents can be generated by magnets, or how electromagnetic waves propagate, are contained in Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism. In this module we will explore the fundamental laws of electricity and magnetism, including an introduction to Maxwell’s equations.

Topics covered

  • Newton’s laws
  • Classical dynamics
  • Conservation laws and their applicability
  • Rotational motion
  • Stress and strain
  • Work
  • Buoyancy
  • Basic fluid dynamics
  • Electrostatics
  • Currents and capacitance
  • Magnetic fields
  • Electromagnetic induction
  • Maxwell’s equations


  • 32 hours of lectures
  • 8 hours of seminars
  • 4 hours of tutorials 
  • 20 hours of practical classes and workshops 
  • 236 hours of guided independent study


  • 2 exams, 2 hours each (60%)
  • Coursework (40%)