skip to primary navigationskip to content

CC117: Minutes of meeting of Thursday 26th May 2005

Physics Consultative Committee

CC117: Minutes of meeting of Thursday 26th May 2005


Present: Joseph Bae, John Edmundson, Rhodri Mainsell, Alice Myerson, Lionel Matsuya, Andy Nowacki, Steffen Sahl, Katrina Soderquest, Erica Thompson, Prof. Longair, Dr Allison, Prof. Needs.

Apologies: Prof. Parker


1. Minutes

Minutes of the last meeting were approved.

2. Matters Arising

There were no matter arising. Andy Nowacki apologised for his own absence, and that of his deputy, at the last meeting.

3. Teaching Committee Matters

A web-based coursework system will be implemented from October 2005. IB Advanced Mathematical Physics will be allowed to run for one more year and then reviewed.

New Part III options next year will be Quantum Optics and Quantum Condensates. The Entrepreneurship exam will be reconsidered. The Part III Review is requesting more flexibility with more sharing of courses across the NST. The Bologna process expects 3 years for a Batchelors degree, 2 for a Masters and 3 for a PhD. We need to make our Part III consistent with this. The Review of Physics wants more formal feedback from the TC to the CC.

4. Part III

Examples classes (Dr. Warner) Score 4 (2 replies)

Attendance was half that of other classes before the project hand in. Need to consider removing one examples class and making the Friday before projects are due free. Some of the questions are two hard.

Overall Part III was regarded as very good.

5. Part II

Quantum Condensed Matter (Prof. Littlewood) Score 3.0 (49 replies)

Very hard course. Well lectured and interesting. Lecturer too fast and some of the explanations beyond the students. Revision in lectures was appreciated. Too much material in course, and the supervisions were not satisfactory.

Astrophysics (Profs Gull and Lasenby) Score 3.4 (64 replies)

Style and content were very different between the two lecturers. Gull was enthusiastic but the handout was confusing, disorganised, with errors. There was too much material on fluids. Lasenbys material was difficult, but the lectures were liked very much.

Particles and Nuclear (Dr Gibson) Score 3.3 (50 replies)

Wide but shallow course, with a lot of material treated at a superficial level. Handouts were well organised. Overall an enjoyable course.

Soft Condensed Matter (Prof. Donald) Score 3.1 (54 replies)

Overall, well liked, and a good lecturer. More qualitative and less mathematical course. Some examples just require numbers to be put into equations, and were not liked. Others were very hard and could not be answered from the course material. In the handout, some equations were not derived, and it was not obvious what needed to be learnt. The demonstrations were liked.

In general, more supervisions were requested. Also, mock exam papers are needed for new courses. Students liked the further work.

6. Part IB

Quantum Mechanics (Dr Hughes) Score 3.1 (60 replies)

The lecturer was very clear, but the style was not exciting. The course contained a lot of material and some found the maths hard. Algebra sometimes obscured the main ideas. The handouts were excellent.

Statistical Physics (Dr Allison) Score 3.5 (61replies)

Good explanations and engaging lecturer. The handout was too brief and did not give enough explanation. Students would like to have three lectures per week so that they finish earlier and have more time to revise. The handouts are a bit crowded, but it is good that there is enough room to write comments on them.

General Comments: Students would like past exam papers on the web.

7. Part IA

Statistical and Quantum Physics (Prof. Longair) Score 3.9 (69 replies)

Very hard and a lot to take in just before the exams. The lecturer was very enthusiastic and overall it was a good course. A little too mathematical at times, and Fourier series were used before being covered in the Maths course.

Statistical and Quantum Physics (Dr Alexander) Score 3.4 (62 replies)

Positive response to the lectures, but the delivery was a little dry and the lecturer mostly goes through the handout. There was a lot of material. The quantum material was better liked that the statistical. More lecture demonstrations would be appreciated. The handouts were excellent and comprehensive, but the students would like bullet points, summaries and contents page, as well as more worked examples in lectures. The questions sheets were good.

Practicals (Dr. Ford) Scores: 3.1 (123 replies)

Feedback was more positive than earlier in the year. Students still complain that there is not enough time to complete the practicals, especially the camera experiment, where there is a wait for the darkroom. Some felt there were too few links to lectures. The demonstrators are of variable standard. The nuclear gamma decay experiment was very good. Complex impedance was ``horribly repetitive''. The process for allocating experiments could be improved. Students would like more guidance on what is expected in the head of class reports.

8. Any Other Business

The members of the Consultative Committee were warmly thanked for their work during the year.

9. Next Meeting

The next Consultative Committee meeting will be on Thursday 1st December 2005 at 09:30 in the Committee Room.


MAP, May 2005