Waves and Quanta

Module code: PA1140
Module co-ordinator: Dr Matt Burleigh

In this module you will learn about the important equations used to describe oscillations and waves, which are of fundamental importance in many branches of physics. We will discuss the dual wave and particle nature of light and matter, and learn about the experiments that led inexorably to the need for a quantum theory of matter. We will explore some ideas from atomic physics including the quantisation of electron energy levels in the Bohr model of the atom. We will also consider the wave and particle natures of light and matter as described by De Broglie and Heisenberg.

Topics covered

  • Oscillations and simple harmonic motion
  • The wave equation and traveling waves
  • The wave and particle natures of light and matter
  • Atomic physics, including the Bohr model of the atom


  • 16 hours of lectures
  • 4 hours of seminars
  • 10 hours of practicals/workshops
  • 120 hours of guided independent study


  • Coursework (30%)
  • Exam, 2 hours (70%)