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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Algebra and Calculus (PHYS08041)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is designed for pre-honours direct entry physics students. It covers basic and more advanced algebra, as well as basic and multivariate calculus, which are used to describe concepts in physics. The course consists of lectures to present new material, and workshops to develop understanding, familiarity and fluency.
Course description Basic Algebra & Calculus (20 lectures)

- Basic Algebra. Manipulating expressions. Squares. Polynomials. Factorization. Quadratic and root equations (3)

- Functions. Inequalities. Moduli. Exponentials and logarithms. Curve sketching. Series expansions. Harmonic potentials. (3)

- Geometry and trigonometry. Trig functions. Lines and circles. Conic sections. (3)

- Complex numbers. Complex algebra. Argand diagram. Euler and de-Moivre. (2)

- Derivatives. Differentiation of standard functions. Composite functions. Higher derivatives. (3)

- Elementary Ordinary Differential Equations. (3)

- Integrals. Standard integrals. Integrating by parts. Substitution. (3)

Linear Algebra & Several Variable Calculus (20 lectures)

- Vectors. Basic vector algebra. (1)

- Dot and cross products. Triple products. (3)

- Linear independence. Expansion in a basis. Change of basis. (1)

- Matrices. Matrix algebra. Orthogonal transformations. (3)

- Determinant, rank and inverse. Eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Matrix diagonalisation (4)

- Complex vectors. Hermitian and unitary matrices. (2)

- Taylor expansions. Maxima, minima and saddle points (1)

- Partial derivatives. Chain rule. Change of variables. Spherical and cylindrical polar coordinates. (3)

- Multivariate integration. (2)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Mathematics for Physics 2 (PHYS08036) OR Linear Algebra and Several Variable Calculus (PHYS08042)
Other requirements Physics and Maths with A grades in Advanced Highers or A-levels (or equivalent)

This course should only be taken by new entrants starting in year 2 (Direct Entry) of the following degrees:

School of Physics and Astronomy:
Physics, Astrophysics, Comp Physics, Physics with Met, Theoretical Physics (but not Mathematical Physics).

School of Chemistry:
Chemical Physics

School of Geoscience:
Geophysics, Geophysics with Met, Geophysics with Professional Placement, Geophys with Met and PP.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Show fluency and confidence in elementary algebra and calculus, basic problem-solving techniques and the methods of linear algebra as they apply to physical problems.
  2. Interpret unfamiliar equations, e.g. through appropriate sketches (especially of graphs) and by identifying special cases.
  3. Present a solution to a physics problem in a clear and logical written form.
  4. Assess whether a solution to a given problem is physically reasonable.
  5. Locate and use additional sources of information (to include discussion with peers and use of computer algebra packages where appropriate) to facilitate independent problem-solving.
Reading List
Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering
AUTHORS: K.F. Riley, M.P. Hobson & S.J. Bence
ISBN: 9780521679718
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Jamie Cole
Tel: (0131 6)50 5999
Course secretaryMiss Stavriana Manti
Tel: (0131 6)50 5310
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