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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Nuclear Physics and Relativity
Module Code PS207
School School of Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Miles Turner
Semester 2: Miles Turner
Autumn: Miles Turner
Module TeachersMiles Turner
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination

The first part of this module introduces the central ideas of the theory of relativity, and shows how these ideas lead to radical changes in our view of basic physical concepts, including space, time, energy and mass. We will see how a consistent relativistic approach leads to surprising results such as time dilation and the equivalance of mass and energy. In the second part of the module, we examine the influence of relativistic concepts in modern physics, ranging from the structure of the universe to nuclear physics.

Learning Outcomes

1. Explain the central ideas of relativity theory, and contrast with them corresponding elements in classical theory
2. Express these central ideas in terms of the formal postulates of relativity theory
3. Show how the main relativistic effects (time dilation, Lorentz contraction, simultaneity failure, mass-energy equivalence), follow from the postulates
4. Solve problems involving the application of relativistic concepts
5. Explain how relativity theory applies to specific areas of modern physics (cosmology, atomic theory, nuclear physics)
6. Solve problems involving relativistic ideas in modern physics

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture36No Description
Independent Study89No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Einstein's postulates
The alarming discovery that classical mechanics and the Maxwell electromagnetic theory are contradictory. Einstein's surprising conclusion that classical mechanics is at fault. Einstein's postulates of Special Relativity.

Special Relativity and its consequences
The implications of Einstein's postulates: Time dilation, Lorentz contraction, simultaneity failure, equivalance of mass and energy. Various examples of the use of these ideas and their unexpected consequences.

General Relativity and Cosmology
Introduction to the central ideas of General Relativity (the Einsteinian theory of gravity). Ideas about curved space-time.

Nuclear physics
Relativistic ideas applied to nuclear physics. Nuclear structure.

Particle Physics
Sub-atomic particles and the four forces of nature. Classification of particles.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment20% Examination Weight80%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
In Class TestProblems involving the application of concepts covered in the lectures20%Once per semester
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 3
Indicative Reading List

  • D.C. Giancoli: 2004, Physics: Principles with Applications, Pearson,
  • N. David Mermin: 1989, Space and Time in Special Relativity, Waveland,
  • Hugh D. Young, Roger A. Freedman and Lewis Ford: 2007, University Physics with Modern Physics, Pearson,
  • Edwin F. Taylor and John Archibald Wheeler: 1992, Spacetime Physics, W.H.Freeman,
  • Richard P. Feynman: 2007, Six Not-so-easy Pieces: Einstein's Relativity, Symmetry and Space-time, Penguin,
  • Roger Penrose and George Gamow: 1993, Mr Tompkins in Paperback, Cambridge,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
APBSc in Applied Physics
BSSAStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
BSSAOStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
IESAStudy Abroad (Institute of Education)
IESAOStudy Abroad (Institute of Education)
PANBSc Physics with Data Analytics
PBMBSc Physics with Biomedical Sciences
PHABSc in Physics with Astronomy
SEBSc Science Education
SHSAStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
SHSAOStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
SMPSCSingle Module Prof. Science and Health
Date of Last Revision04-FEB-10

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