PHYS310-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024

Thermal, Statistical and Particle Physics

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2024
End Date: Sunday, 23 June 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 3 March 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 12 May 2024


Development of statistical mechanics from thermodynamic principals. Entropy interpreted from both the thermodynamic and statistical viewpoint. Applications in nuclear and particle physics including radioactivity.

This course provides an introduction to the study of the physical properties of matter. It integrates the study of thermal properties of matter in bulk (thermodynamics) with the molecular/atomic approach (statistical physics). The particle physics is further extended to subatomic scales with an introduction to the phenomenology of nuclear structure, radiation processes and the standard model of particle interactions.

Learning Outcomes

Please consult the document General Information for Physics and Astronomy Students on the Physics and Astronomy Web Page:


(1) PHYS203; (2) MATH103 or EMTH119 or MATH201. RP: MATH201


PHYS204, PHYS440

Recommended Preparation

Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 11:00 - 12:00 Ernest Rutherford 465
19 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 10:00 - 11:00 E16 Lecture Theatre
19 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 11:00 - 12:00 Ernest Rutherford 465
19 Feb - 24 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun

Examinations, Quizzes and Formal Tests

Test A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 19:00 - 20:00 A7
25 Mar - 31 Mar
02 Tuesday 19:00 - 20:00 A4 Lecture Theatre
25 Mar - 31 Mar
Test B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 19:00 - 20:00 E7 Lecture Theatre
13 May - 19 May

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Roger Reeves


Chris Gordon and David Frame


Michael Williams


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Homework Assignments 25%
Test 1 25% On Thermodynamics
Test 2 25% On Statistical Physics Section
Test 3 25% On Nuclear and Particle Physics


There is NO FINAL EXAM for PHYS310/440

The THREE sections of PHYS310/440 will be assessed independently in the form of tests and homework.  Homework is worth 24% and Tests 75%.

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Frauenfelder, Hans; Nuclear and particle physics (1975) ; 1975.

Karl Heinrich Lieser; Nuclear and radiochemistry: fundamentals and applications (1997) ; 1997.

Kenneth S. Krane, Halliday, David; Introductory nuclear physics ; 1987; New York : Wiley, c1987, 1987.

Martin and Shaw; Particle physics ; 1997.

Parker, Sybil P; Nuclear and Particle Physics Source Book (1988) ; 1988.

Riedi, PC; Thermal Physics: an introduction to thermodynamics Statistical mechanics, and kinetic theory ; 1988.

Sears and Salinger; Thermodynamics, kinetic theory, and statistical thermodynamics ; 1975.

Serway, RA; Moses, CJ; Moyer, CA; Modern Physics ; 3rd;

Sprackling M; Thermal Physics ; 1991.

Thornton, Stephen T. , Rex, Andrew F; Modern physics for scientists and engineers ; 4th ed., International ed; Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 2013.

Williams; Nuclear and Particle Physics ; 1991.

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $978.00

International fee $4,988.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see School of Physical & Chemical Sciences .

All PHYS310 Occurrences

  • PHYS310-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024