Physics exam topics

The goal of this part is to ensure that all graduate students begin with a good grasp of basic physics at the undergraduate level. During your exam 3 topics will be picked at random and you are expected to present each of these topics briefly, with the relevant equations. Even if you feel quite confident, you should definitely plan on doing some preparatory revision.

  • Section A
    1. Inertial frames of reference; Galilean and Lorentz transformations
    2. Formulations of classical mechanics
    3. Symmetries and constants of motion
    4. The two-body problem
  • Section B
    1. Maxwell’s equations and the electric and magnetic properties of matter
    2. Electromagnetic waves
    3. Principles of thermodynamics
    4. Maxwell-Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac distributions
  • Section C
    1. The Schrödinger equation and the interpretation of the wave function
    2. Observables in quantum mechanics and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle
    3. Quantum description of the hydrogen atom
    4. Symmetries in Quantum Theory