P510 Physics

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General Introductory Items (1 - 3)

Aids to measurement Micrometer, vernier, etc.

Dimensions of physical quantities. For checking equations, not for derivation of formulae.

Motion in a straight line. Motion of projectiles. Equations of uniformly accelerated motion. Graphical methods. Simple determination of g by free fall method. Non-uniform acceleration, including use of graphical methods. Simple Cases.

Mechanics and Properties of Matter (4 - 16)

Composition and resolution of vectors. Particular application to velocities, forces and momentum.

Moments, couples. Mass and weight. Centre of gravity.

Newton's Laws of Motion. Gravity.

Conservation of linear momentum. Collision, with special reference to the use of the laws of conservation of momentum and energy. Questions will not be set on oblique collisions or on the use of the coefficient of restitution.

Static and kinetic friction. General ideas of laws of friction. Simple determination of a coefficient.

Work, W, kinetic energy, T; and potential energy, V, Power, P. Potential energy of interacting bodies. Work represented by area under a force-distance graph. Translation and rotational kinetic energy.

Uniform motion in a circle Centripetal force. Practical Examples.

Planetary Motion. Newton's Law of Gravitation. Kepler's laws. Relation between G and g. Principle of a laboratory determination of G. Gravitational potential energy.

Simple harmonic motion. Experimental and mathematical treatment. Examples such as simple pendulum and light heli-cal spring. Determination of g. Questions will not be set on the compound pendulum.

Fluid pressure. Upthrust. Archimedes' principle. Pressure at a point in a fluid. Applications: Floatation, determination of density and relative density. Natural convection.

Motion in fluids. Qualitative treatment of viscous drag, terminal velocity, streamline flow, turbulence, Bernoulli effect, illustrated experimentally.

Elasticity. Hooke's law. Young's modulus, E and its determination. Elastic limit. Limit of proportionality. Yield point and breaking point. Work done in extension and compression.

Surface Tension (free surface energy). Simple phenomena, including angle of contact. Capillary rise. Pressure difference across a spherical surface.

Optics (17 - 20)

Reflection and refraction at a boundary Reflection and refraction at plane surfaces. Refractive index, critical angle, total internal reflection.

(a) Refraction through a prism.

  • Formula for deviation through a thin prism for small angles of incidence, including derivation of the formula.

(b) Minimum Deviation

  • Formula connecting minimum deviation and refractive index, including derivation.

(c) Spectrometer

  • Emission spectra, line and continuous. Absorption spectra.

(a) Spherical mirrors and thin lenses. Relations between u, v, f and r for mirrors; u, v and f as a function of refractive index and radii of curvature for thin lenses. Focal length of thin lenses in contact.

  • Simple experiments with mirrors and lenses. Derivation and use of these relations. Question on refraction at single spherical surfaces will not be set. No questions will be set involving any particular sign convention.

(b) Spherical aberration and chromatic aberration.

  • Simple qualitative consideration, including experimental demonstration. (spherical aberration only in relation to a point source on the axis of a large aperture lens or mirror).

(c) Paraboloidal mirror

(a) Microscope and telescope (refracting and reflecting).

  • Magnification and magnifying power. Methods of obtaining erect images, including prism binoculars. Questions will not be set involving achromatic or other compound eye pieces and objectives.

(b) Essential features of camera and projection lantern.

Part 3A: Oscillations and Waves and Related Pheonomena (21 - 22)

(a) Free damped and forced oscillations. Resonance.

  • To be treated qualitatively by means of demonstrations and graphs and by using mechanical and electrical illustrations.

(b) Harmonics. Influence on quality of sound.

(a) Waves - properties of waves. Types of waves - transverse, longitudinal; progressive, stationary. Reflection and refraction of waves.

  • In relation to the electromagnetic sound and water waves. Relation between velocity, v; frequency f; and wave length. Experimental determination of velocity of sound in free air and in a tube. Determination of frequency of sound waves.

(b) Superposition of waves. Interference and beats. Doppler effect.

  • In sound and electromagnetic waves.

Part 3B (23 - 25)

(a) Wave aspect of electromagnetic radiation. Wave theory as applied to reflection and refraction. Velocity of lifght, c by a terrestrial method.

(b) Double slit type of interference.

  • Qualitative and quantitative.

(c) Simple treatment of plane transmission grating.

  • Its use for measuring wavelengths.

(d) Other simple interference phenomena.

  • Including a qualitative treatment of interference in thin films.

Diffraction The phenomenon of diffraction treated qualitatively.

Polarization. Production and detection of plane-polarized light. Polarization of radio waves. Details of Nicol prism will NOT be asked. Reference to dipole aerial as emitter and receiver.


Temperature. Scales of temperature. Definition in terms of physical property.

Types of thermometers. Liquid in glass, constant volume (simple type), resistance, thermoelectric. Pyrometers.

The joule as a unit of both work and heat. Specific heat capacity, change of state, specific latent heat.

  • Electrical methods including constant flow method; method of mixtures. Accurate determination of the specific heat capacity of water.

Evidence for the belief in the existence of molecules.

  • Brownian motion (no calculations will be set).

Qualitative treatment of various phenomena in terms of the kinetic theory. Determination of saturated vapour pressure.

  • e.g. surface tension, evaporation, latent heat, saturated and unsaturated vapours.

Boyle's Law. Absolute temperature. Gas equation PV/T = constant. Dalton's law of partial pressures.

  • Experimental verification.

Kinetic theory of ideal gasses.

  • Derivation p = 1/3 pc.-2

Real gasses.

  • Inadequacy of simple assumptions of kinetic theory (qualitative only). Critical temperature.

Principal specific heat capacity of a gas.

  • Questions will not be set on experimental determination.

Difference of specific heat capacities (Cp - Cv) and its relation to the gas constant. Isothermal and adiabatic changes. The relation PV = constant.

  • Derivation of this relation. Proof of this relation will not be required.

Transference of Heat Energy

Quantitative consideration of thermal condition. Coefficient of thermal conductivity and its determination.

  • For cases of parallel flow only. For good and bad solid conductors - principle of one method for each.

Radiation as a form of energy.

  • Use of either thermopile or bolometer for detection of radiation.

Effect of nature of surface on energy radiated and absorbed by it. Black-body radiation. Stefan's law. Distribution of energy in the spectrum of black-body radiation.

  • Form of spectral curves.

Ultraviolet (u.v.) and infrared (i.r.) radiation. The complete electromagnetic spectrum.

  • Properties and methods of detection of these radiations.

Survey of Energy

Conversion of energy, E, from one form to another.

  • Gravitational, mechanical (kinetic and potential), thermal electrical, magnetic, radiant, chemical.

Conservation of energy. Degradation of other forms of energy into thermal energy

Current, Charge, Potential Difference, Power

(a) The ampere, A.

  • Treated as axiomatic.

(b) Conservation of current at a junction. Definition of unit charge, Q. The coulomb, C. EMF; potential difference.

(c) The volt, v. Power. Electrical energy: kilowatt-hour kWh.

(d) Inter-conversion of electrical energy with other forms.

  • Quantitative treatment.


(a) General variation of current with p.d. in solids, liquids and gasses. Extension of Ohm's law to combinations of resistors and to a complete circuit.

  • Including thermionic devices, ionized gasses, and non-linear resistors.

(b) Resistivity, p. Temperature coefficient of resistance.


Wheatstone Bridge.

Theory of the potentiometer. Application to the measurement of p.d. (including thermoelectric emf), current and resistance.

Theory of the circuit and use of the simple Wheatstone bridge circuit for comparison of resistances. Questions will not be asked on modifications of the Wheatstone network for finding battery resistance, galvanometer resistance or resistance of an electrolyte.

== Magnetism ==

The idea of magnetic field. Magnetic flux density (or magnetic induction) B. Magnetic flux (or flux of magnetic induction). Permeability. Relative permeability.

  • Treatments involving magnetic field intensity (magnetizing force) H will be accepted but questions specifically requiring this concept will not be set. Questions will not be set on the experimental determination of permeability.

Experimental determination of magnetic flux and of magnetic flux density B by any one method.

  • E.g. by means of an induced emf or by calibrated ballistic galvanometer (or fluxmeter) and search coil, or by force on a current.

The earth's magnetic field.

  • Qualitative treatment, including the ideas of variation (declination) and dip.

Superposition of magnetic fields. Compass-needle as indicator of direction of the resultant.

Deflection magnetometer as a means of comparing the strengths of two magnetic fields.

  • E.g. comparison of the strength of a magnetic field with the horizontal component of the earth's field. Experimental investigation of the dependence of the field at the centre of a circular coil on the number of turns and the radius. Questions will not be set on (i) calculation of magnetic field due to a magnet; (ii) oscillations of a magnet in a magnetic field.

Magnetic Effects of Electric Current

Formulae for the strength of the magnetic field due to a current in the following situations: (i) at the centre of a circular coil; (ii) at a distance from a long straight wire; (iii) inside a long solenoid.

  • Questions on the mathematical derivations of these formulae will not be set.

Force on a current in a magnetic field. Force on moving charge in a magnetic field

  • Questions on the mathematical derivation of the formulae involved will not be set.

Torque on a coil in a magnetic field.

  • Mathematical derivation of the formula for a rectangular coil is sufficient for the examinations.

Principle of a simple form of current balance. Moving coil galvanometer; general features of design; application to use as ammeter, voltmeter, ballistic galvanometer.

  • In the ballistic galvanometer, only the features of design which render it ballistic need to be studied; mathematical proof of proportionality between charge and throw is not required for the examination.

Electromagnetic Induction

(a) Laws of Faraday and Lenz.

  • Including calculation of induced emf current and circulation of charge.

(b) Principle of a method for direct determination of resistance.

  • E.g. rotation of a disc within a solenoid.

(c) Application to calibration of voltmeters. Eddy currents.

(d) Self-induction. Mutual induction.

  • Qualitative treatment only.

Simple ac and dc generators (constant-field type). Back emf in a dc motor. The ac transformer.

  • Factors affecting its (ac transformer) efficiency, viz. ohmic loss, eddy current loss, hysteresis loss.

Alternating Currents

Instruments for measuring alternating current and pd. RMS and peak values. Relation between these for sinusoidal ac. Moving iron, thermal and rectifier types. Proof of relation not required for the examination.

Effects of resistance, capacitance and incductance on current and power when each is connected (separately) to an ac supply. Lead and lag. Simple qualitative treatment in terms of oscillograms.

== Electrostatics ==

(a) Elementary electrostatic experiments.

  • Including use of the electroscope as an electrostatic voltmeter.

(b) Distribution of charge outside and inside conductors at constant potential. Principle of Van de Graaff machine.

  • Experimental treatment required.

Law of force between electric charges. Idea of an electric field. Electric field intensity, E: force per unit charge and its relation to potential gradient.

  • Experimental verification not required.

(a) Capacitors and the geometrical factors which affect capacitance, C.

  • For examination purposes, candidates will not be expected to know the formulae for the capacitance of standard types of capacitors in terms of their dimensions.

(b) The farad, F.

  • In numerical questions on capacitors the units used will be the farad, volt, coulomb, joule.

(c) Relative permitivity (dielectric constant).

  • It's effect on capacitance.

(d) Expermintal comparison of capacitances.

  • E.g. by ballistic galvanometer and by calibrated electroscope.

(e) Capacitors in series and in parallel. Energy of a charged capacitor.

Cathode Rays and Positive Rays

(a) Production and properties of cathode rays.

(b) Measurement of e/m.

  • By any one method.

(c) Measurement of e by Millikan's method or a similar method.

  • Stoke's Law may be assumed.

(d) Relation between e and the ionic charge.

(e) The Avogadro constant, L.

(f) NA and its relation to e and the Faraday constant.

(g) Production of positive rays and determination of charge/mass.

  • By one method, e.g. Dempster, Brainbridge. Isotopes.

Electronic Devices

(a) Diode and triode.

  • Thermionic emission and the high vacuum diode. Characteristic of a diode, including description of space-charge limitation and saturation. The diode as a rectifier; practical methods of rectification ac. The triode and its use as a single-stage voltage amplifier. Including use of a linear time-base, but no details of its circuit.

(b) Cathode ray oscillograph and its use.


  • Structure and simple current - pd characteristics. Theoretical treatment (i.e. in terms of holes and electrons) is not required.

Particle Aspects of Radiation

Photoelectric effect and the evidence it provides for the quantum theory. The Principles, but not the details, of the determination of Planks' constant are required.


(a) Production and properties.

  • In hot cathode tubes.

(b) The diffraction of X-rays.

  • Bragg's law.

(c) Maximum frequency for a given tube potential.

The Atom

Idea of the small nucleus, from a particle scattering. Simple explanation of the occurrence of line spectra. Qualitative ideas of stable electron energy levels and emission or absorption of light quanta with transition of electrons between levels.


(a) alpha and Beta-particles and gamma-rays: their properties and detection.

  • By ionization scintillation and photographic methods. Details of detectors are not required.

(b) Simple absorption and intensity measurements. Operation of a cloud chamber and GM tube.

  • Treated simply.

(c) Safety precautions.

The Nucleus

(a) The proton and neutron.

  • Explanation of isotopes.

(b) Atomic number and mass number.

(c) Radioactive decay.

  • Changes of mass number, A and atomic number, Z, caused by radioactive decay. Details of radioactive series are not required.

(d) Half-life

  • Simple problems on half-life are included but questions on the decay law will not be set.

(e) Production of artificial radioactive isotopes.

  • The use of accelerating machines and neutrons should be mentioned but details of methods are not required.

(f) The uses of radioactive isotopes.

  • One biological and one industrial use.

Einstein's mass-energy relation. Energy from fission and from fusion.

  • The idea of change of mass excess resulting in release of energy. Further details including chain reactions, etc. are not required. Dioactive series are not required.