This great adventure begins in the first year of the course, which has several distinct aims. First, it aims to bridge the gap between school and university level physics. Second, it aims to consolidate school physics by providing a much more logical and analytical framework for classical physics, which will be essential for all years of the course. Third, it includes new themes such as special relativity and quantum physics, which foreshadow key topics to be developed in the subsequent years of the course. Fourth, the individual lecture courses aim to broaden your perspective, so that you can begin to appreciate the great flexibility and generality of the laws of physics and their application, from the most theoretical applications, such as the behaviour of matter close to black holes, to the most practical of everyday problems, such as the damping of oscillating systems.
Students attend a physics practical for one afternoon once every two weeks. The primary aim of the class is the development of experimental skills, which are important to all professional physicists. The second aim of the practical session is to illustrate ideas and concepts in physics. Most of the experiments are concerned with topics covered in the Part IA Physics lecture course.