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CC113: Minutes of meeting of Thursday 11th March 2004

Physics Consultative Committee

CC113: Minutes of meeting of Thursday 11th March 2004

Present: M Banglawala, Ms Carley, Mr Credgington, Ms Guebert, Mr Hopkinson, Mr McNeil, Mr Plant, Mr Revill, Mr Yianni, Prof. Longair, Dr Allison, Prof. Parker.

Apologies: Prof. Needs, Mr Cheadle

1. Minutes

Minutes of the last meeting were approved.

2. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising.

3. Teaching Committee Matters

GB review of physics will take place this year. The student reps will be invited to lunch with the reviewers on the 23rd of April.

4. Part III

Gauge Field Theories, Prof. Webber (2 replies, avg=4.5)

Very good course. People would appreciate more writing on blackboard. Perhaps the course is a little dry.

Information Theory, Dr McKay (8 replies, avg=4.3)

Excellent lecturing style, which was greatly appreciated. More worked examples would be useful.

General Relativity, Dr Hobson (7 replies, avg=4.1)

Very good course, much appreciated. Some supervisors could not do the problems.

Frontiers of HEP, Dr Parker (4 replies, avg=4.5)

Well received course.

Superconductivity, Dr Cooper and Prof. Lonzarich (1 replies, avg=3.0)

The handout could be much improved.

Quantum effects in low Dimensional Semiconductor devices, Prof. Pepper and Dr Barnes (4 replies, avg=3.5)

Interesting course, but lack of coordination between the lecturers.

Microelectronics, Dr Hasko (2 replies, avg=3.5)

Well received.

Optoelectronics, Dr Sirringhaus (1 replies, avg=4.0)

No complaints.

Phase transitions, Prof. Simons (4 replies, avg=4.5)

Lecture style was fast but very well liked.

Shock waves, Dr Proud (0 replies, avg=0.0)

Sounds interesting, but the course disappointed some who expected more demonstrations.

Polymers and Colloids, Dr Terentjev (1 replies, avg=4.0)

Good course, but the examples are hard.

Geometric Algebra, Prof. Lasenby and Dr Doran (5 replies, avg=4.0)

Very good course. Could have been better linked to other courses such as GR.

Experimental Astrophysics Dr Haniff (4 replies, avg=3.8)

Handouts need improvement, since the students were not able to take good notes from the presentations.

Medical Physics, Dr Thomas and others (1 replies, avg=4.0)

Novel material, but some of it not very interesting. Lecturing quality was variable.

Remote Sensing, Dr Rees (3 replies, avg=3.3)

Well received.

Quantum Information, Prof. Payne (10 replies, avg=3.7)

People either like it or hate it. Prof. Paynes writing is hard to read, so the discursions are hard to follow, and students are unclear as to what is required of them in exams. It would be nice if some of the optional non-examinable topics were included in the handout. Diagrams need to be included in the handout.

Biological Physics, Dr Duke and Dr McPhee (3 replies, avg=3.0)

The material was very interesting, but the course was unstructured, and students are concerned as to what will appear in the exam. Some of the problems are too hard, and need more explanation to get started. One lecture was cancelled because of a computer problem. The lecturer was sometimes hard to hear. The handouts are given after the lectures, making it harder to follow.

Entrepreneurship, Various (0 replies, avg=0.0)

Very well liked by those who attended.

Advanced Quantum Field Theory, Dr Evans (2 replies, avg=3.5)

No complaints. Solutions to example sheets would be useful.

Philosophy of Physics, Dr Massimi (5 replies, avg=4.2)

Enjoyed, but poorly attended. More publicity would be a good idea, or move to a more popular time.

Supercomputers, Dr Segall (3 replies, avg=4.0)

Well received. It would be better attended if it was better publicised or moved to a more popular time.

General Comments: Lecturers using the blackboard are appreciated. If students are to take notes, instead of being given a large handout, then the information must be presented clearly and slowly. Supervisions all occur in the last half of the term, causing overload. The theory courses need to take care that new techniques are absorbed by the students before being deployed too heavily.

5. Part II

Atoms and Light, Dr Phillips (23 replies, avg=2.7)

Very mixed response, perhaps because of the lack of handout. The question sheet sheet had to be printed. Students needed to copy everything from the overheads (too expensive to print the web information). The course is very disjointed, and the examples were hard.

Systems, Dr Padman (23 replies, avg=3.0)

Material was considered a little dull, but very useful. The handout was very complete, but the lectures used photocopies of the handout, which was hard to follow. The questions were harder than expected. The lecturing style could be more animated. More demonstrations would be appreciated.

Nuclear Physics, Dr Gibson (23 replies, avg=3.3)

Lecturer was good, with an interesting and clear style. Tendency to read the overheads. Generally seen as a good well rounded course, but many complaints about the handouts - printed too large, and inconsistencies in the notation. More rigorous content would be appreciated.

Particle Physics, Dr Thomson (24 replies, avg=4.0)

Well-liked lecturing style, liked wooden stick. Handout size needs to be reduced to save trees. The course started at a good pace, but was then rushed, with lectures overrunning. The questions are not evenly distributed through the course, and are very hard.

Fluids, Prof. Warner (23 replies, avg=4.0)

Excellent lecturing style, with good demos which were much liked. The handout produced a mixed response, with some people finding it difficult to join up the information in the handout and the course. More examples in the lecture would be useful. Students were very concerned that the course was being dropped.

Concepts in Physics, Prof. Longair (22 replies, avg=3.7)

Well received, with enthusiastic lecturer. Problems with attendance because of clash with literature review work.

Order of Magnitude Physics, Dr Mahajan (20 replies, avg=3.2)

Some drop off of attendance because non-examinable, and clashes with literature review work. A mixed response, with some people thinking the course pointless, others enjoying the new skills. Too much time spent on each problem, and too many fluids problems. More structure would be useful.

TP2, Prof. Webber and Dr Cooper (11 replies, avg=3.6)

The handout combined with blackboard working is well liked. Far too many examples.

Physics in Action, Dr Gull and Dr Batley (1 replies, avg=5.0)

Very well received.

Experiment E2, Dr Butcher (10 replies, avg=4.0)

Generally favourable reaction, with enjoyable experiments. The mobility experiment and germanium experiment had some equipment problems. More information is needed for the Gadolinium to guide the students.

General Comments

There are not enough supervisions to cover all the material in the courses. Supervisors simply go through the questions.

6. Part IB Physics and Advanced Physics

Classical Thermodynamics, Dr Mahajan (53 replies, avg=3.2)

This course was either loved or hated. The lecturer was very charismatic, but the students felt that they didnt learn very much. Things were introduced very slowly, and the thermodynamics content was low. The standard was too low, and not challenging to the students. The handout which has been produced is useful, as was the website. The students would appreciate a more formal introduction to the core topics of the course, before starting on the estimation aspects.

Quantum Physics, Dr Hughes (52 replies, avg=3.4)

No complaints, a very good handout. The lecturing style was perhaps a little dull, but the rigorous approach was appreciated.

Classical Dynamics, Dr Ellis (50 replies, avg=2.7)

The lectures were rushed, and the content was quite difficult. More lectures are needed to cover this. Most of the questions were too hard, and not connected to the lectures, relying on lagrangians which were not taught. Supervisors were also confused as to how to tackle the material. More examples needed in the course, and the lecture notes need to make clear the key results. With a short course, non-examinable material should be suppressed. More introductory questions would be useful.

Statistical Physics, Dr Allison (50 replies, avg=3.7)

Lecturing style was liked, but the handouts are not complete enough to help with the questions. More questions requested for the example sheet.

Theoretical Physics, Prof. Warner and Dr Smith (34 replies, avg=2.8)

Not very well received. Students found the course repeated the maths course, but tended to confuse them by using different notation and methods. The handout doesnt contain the theory. Many students abandoned the course. The intention of the course, to reinforce the maths with real physical examples, has not got through.

Mathematical and Theoretical Physics, Dr Withington (6 replies, avg=3.7)

A good course, combining the maths and physics well. But there are not enough examples to practise on, and it doesnt cover the full course. This means that the students are not clear what is examinable.

Practicals Score 3.5 (50 replies)

The practicals were the best so far, and the optics were well liked. There were some complaints that the handouts were sparse, but this made the experiments feel more realistic. Still complaints about the time needed to complete the experiments. The demonstrators were fairly good this term, but the marks are not always consistent.

General Comments: The examiners need to make sure that the students are clear about the structure of the papers. For practicals, students should be aware that demonstrator marks are moderator, and so the apparent variation in marking is largely removed in the final marks.

8. Part IA

Oscillations and Waves (Dr Jones) Score 3.0 (25 replies)

The lecturing style was dull, so many people transferred to the B course. The lecturer was not always audible. The course was seen as difficult, and lectured a little more slowly, with more allowance for those with less mathematical skills.

Oscillations and Waves (Dr Riley) Score 3.8 (98 replies)

Very positive response. Very clearly explained, although some of the early material was done too quickly, while the more advanced material was rushed. Some students find it difficult to connect the physics to the maths. The announcement in each lecture of which examples could be attempted was very useful.

Practicals Score 3.0 (123 replies)

Still considered too long, although not as bad as last term. Some demonstrators were unenthusiastic, and some had insufficiently good English to explain. More demonstrator training would be useful. Some practicals occur too early for the lecture material.

General Comments: Would like to have main points extracted from the handout in summary form, or highlighted within the handout.

9. Any Other Business

10. Next Meeting

The next Consultative Committee meeting will be on Thursday 20th May 2004 at 09:30 in the Committee Room.

MAP, March 2003