Practical Skills

Module Title - Practical Skills
Number of credits – 40

Module description

Computational and Numerical Analysis

Students undertake a course in numerical analysis and computation, during which design studies are made.
Involved in the numerical analysis are the techniques of numerical integration and differentiation, curve fitting and function approximation; polynomial representation (Taylor's and Tchebychev's expansions). Finite-differences and Runge-Kutta methods in solving differential equations, error estimates; approximate integration methods and error estimates.
Applications in radiation transport particularly including Monte Carlo Methods. Practical exercises and demonstrations are carried out.
The computing element provides an introduction to the facilities available in the laboratory which include word processing, spreadsheets and graphics packages. Emphasis is given to programming in FORTRAN.
Semester 1, contact hours - 45.

Physics Laboratory

The physics laboratory course, occupying one day per week for two terms, is designed to complement lectures, to stimulate discussion on theoretical principles and is related, as far as possible, to the background of the students concerned. The general fields covered include:

  • the behaviour of different detector systems
  • the properties, production and use of radioactive materials
  • neutron slowing down, diffusion and multiplication, and
  • neutron and gamma ray behaviour in shields.

The facilities available in the MSc laboratory for these studies are extensive, including hyperpure germanium, surface-barrier and scintillation detectors, gas proportional and Geiger counters, dosimetry equipment, and neutron moderating assemblies. Computer controlled multi-channel analysers are used for data taking and computational facilities are provided for data analysis, graphics, word-processing and FORTRAN programming; direct network links provide communication with other resources on campus and via the internet.
Semesters 1 and 2, continuous assessment.