Cannot be taken with: PHY384

Aims/Description: This module is a 'big picture' look at physics problem solving.  The module develops techniques for solving unfamiliar problems in physics and astronomy using mathematical and statistical methods. This module is split into two halves: Statistics and data analysis (S1), and Physics and Astronomy Problem Solving (S2).   Statistics covers the basics of Frequentist vs. Baysian approaches and data analysis, and applies them to data analysis tasks from a wide range of physics. It also looks at common statistical mistakes and fallacies and examines how to present data graphically and in writing. Physics and Astronomy Problem Solving uses weekly problems classes to examine how physics knowledge can be applied to unfamiliar (often 'real world') problems to obtain quick, rough, but sound and useful conclusions/answers (often known as the 'back of the envelope' approach to problem solving). Problems cover the full range of core physics, requiring identification of which aspect of physics and astronomy is relevant to a particular problem.

Teaching Methods: Lectures, Problem solving, Independent Study
Assessment: Formal Exam, Course work, Project/ portfolio

Information on the department responsible for this unit (Physics and Astronomy):

Departmental Home Page
Teaching timetable


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK