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CC108: Minutes of meeting of Thursday 23rd May 2002

Physics Consultative Committee

CC108: Minutes of meeting of Thursday 23rd May 2002


Present: Ms Bacon, Ms Blackburn, Ms Glansdorp, Mr Jewsbury, Mr Mach, Ms Soule, Mr Sprague, Mr Sprake, Prof. Longair, Dr Waldram, Dr Needs.

Apologies: Dr Parker, Mr Lintott, Ms Schlichting


1. Minutes

Minutes of the last meeting were approved.

2. Matters Arising

It was noted that the supervision system had considerably improved for the allocation of supervisors in the Easter Term. A new system will be used next year and it is hoped that it will be more efficient that last year.

3. Teaching Committee Matters

Dr. Waldram gave details of the work of the further years' working party and the outline of the new Part IB proposals which will come into effect in the academic year 2003-4. Part IB Physics will now become a sub-set of Part IB Advanced. A major change will be the Introduction of a new course in Theoretical Physics which will be taken by all students. The Mathematics for Physical Sciences course run by the Department will be expanded to 24 lectures and will be examinable. The new arrangements will enable students to combine the Advanced Physics course with another experimental subject without the penalty of additional work which has been the case under the present arrangements.

In Part II, some of the material currently in the Theoretical Physics options will be transferred to the core and efforts will be made to ensure that students do not obtain advantage by taking the Theory courses in support of the core material. We are also in the course of investigating a joint scheme with the Institute of Astronomy for a joint course in Astrophysics.

Dr. Waldram will be retiring at the end of the present academic year and the new Chairman of the Teaching Committee will be Dr. Bill Allison.

4. Part III

Examples classes (Dr. Warner) Score 2.8 (4 replies)

Helpful, but not particularly well attended.

5. Part II

Examples classes (Prof. Liang) Score 3.7 (3 replies)

More demonstrators would be helpful for these classes. More essay questions would be valuable in preparing for the examinations.

6. Part IB Advanced

Quantum Mechanics (Prof. Payne) Score 4.0 (95 replies)

This was a hard, but very good, course. The course accelerated towards the end. It was stated that the gaps in the handouts often contained vital material.

Condensed Matter Physics (Prof. Friend) Score 3.4 (89 replies)

The students who took the Materials course started with a considerable advantage in understanding this course. It was suggested that computer models of crystal structures would have helped with comprehension of the crystals part of the course. Generally, this was found to be a hard course.

7. Part IB

Astrophysics (Prof. Hills) Score 3.6 (5 replies)

This was an enjoyable course, but there was concern about what was to be included in the examination, for example, in topics such as nuclear reactions in star formation. It was noted that a number of other subjects in Part IB finish on the Saturday before the end of lecturing term, that is, with two less lectures right before the examinations.

8. Part IA

Fields, Relativity and Quantum Physics (Dr. Green) Score 4.0 (83 replies)

Very well received course. The mathematics involved in the quantum physics was found to stretch the understanding of some of the class.

Fields, Relativity and Quantum Physics (Prof. Carter) Score 3.8 (73 replies)

Well received course - the lecture was possibly a little too enthusiastic! There was possibly too much fields and relativity and too little quantum physics. The latter became a bit mathematical. It was explained that the course will change next year.

Practicals (Dr. Ford) Scores: A course 2.9 (81 replies), # B course 3.0 (73 replies)

The demonstrators were generally good, although . The complex impedance experiment contains too much material and there were some demonstrator problems with this experiment. The other experiments went down well.

9. Any Other Business

The members of the Consultative Committee were warmly thanked for their work during the year. Dr. Waldram was especially thanked for all the work he had done for the Teaching Committee and the Consultative Committee and was wished a very happy retirement.

10. Next Meeting

The next Consultative Committee meeting will be on Thursday 5th December 2002 at 09:30 in the Committee Room.


MAP, June 2002