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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Life, the Universe and everything (DCU)
Module Code PS481
School School of Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Eilish McLoughlin
Semester 2: Eilish McLoughlin
Autumn: Eilish McLoughlin
Module TeachersEilish McLoughlin
Ruth Saunders
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

A general introduction to astronomy & astrophysics assuming no prior knowledge. Including the solar system, stars, galaxies and an introduction to cosmology. This module will introduce students to the applications of physics with the human body and its systems so that students receive a comprehensive knowledge of medical applications of physics.

Learning Outcomes

1. Explain the motion of the Sun, Moon & planets in the sky
2. Calculate the motion of the plantets in the solar system using Kepler's Laws
3. Describe the composition & nature of the sun and its power source.
4. Quantify the different types of stars and their life cycle.
5. Describe the structure and functions of human body systems
6. Explain the role of physics in the human body, including respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
7. Calculate fluid velocities and pressures within different parts of the body.
8. Discuss energy and energy transfer in the body, including work, temperature and heat, and metabolism.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture242 hours of asychronous lectures per week accessed as pre-recorded videos
Online activity242 hours of scheduled synchronous online activities per week.
Tutorial24Student learning support facilitated through small-group tutorials with flexible provision.
Independent Study53Student self directed learning
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

The Sky
Movement of the Sun, Moon & planets. Ptolemaic & Copernican models. Earth’s orbit, time & eclipses.

The Solar system
Solar system; Sun, terrestrial planets & gas giants, minor bodies & extra solar planets. Kepler’s Laws, gravity, and motion of the planets. Solar constant & habitable zone.

Spectrum, composition and structure of the Sun. Nuclear fusion in the Sun

Life cycle of stars
Types of stars and their luminosity. HR diagram, life cycles of stars, supernovae

Physiology of the body
Structure and function of different parts of the body. Cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Fluids and pressures
Blood pressure, the heart, blood flow. Pressure in various organs. Bone density.

Energy regulation
Work. Regulation of body temperature. Metabolism.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Completion of online activitySolve physics problems based on mathematical/quantitative aspects of concepts in astronomy and astrophysics.50%As required
In Class TestSolve physics problems based on mathematical/quantitative aspects of concepts in medical physics.50%As required
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 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Young and Freedman: 2020, University Physics with Modern Physics,, 15, https://www.pearson.com/us/higher-education/program/Young-Modified-Mastering-Physics-with-Pearson-e-Text-Standalone- Access-Card-for-University-Physics-with-Modern-Physics-15th-Edition/PGM2485469.html,
  • Eugenia Etkina, Gorazd Planinsic and Alan Van Heuvelen: 2019, College Physics: Explore and Apply,, 2nd, 978- 01346018
Other Resources

55284, Online Simulations, 0, University of Colorado Boulder Phet simulations, https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations /,
Programme or List of Programmes
PDITPProfessional Diploma in Teaching Physics

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