Offered to students admitted to Year 1 in ALL
Major/Minor ALL
Course Type
Offer in 2023 - 2024 Y N
Course Code PHYS3150
Date2024/07/16 10:26
Enquiry for Course Details
PHYS3150 Theoretical physics (6 credits) Academic Year 2023
Offering Department Physics Quota ---
Course Co-ordinator Prof S Z Zhang, Physics < shizhong@hku.hk >
Teachers Involved (Dr Z Wu,Physics)
Course Objectives This is the third level course in our series of courses that introduces problem solving, mathematical and computational skill sets that are commonly used in the study of university-level physics.  We focus on the analytical and algebraic techniques in solving physics problems.  It is one of the core electives for physics major and an elective course for the computational physics and theoretical physics themes.  This is also an essential course for those who plan to pursue postgraduate studies in mathematical and theoretical physics.
Course Contents & Topics This course will introduce and address the following topics: (i) Functions of a complex variable and their applications (Cauchy's integral formula, Laurent expansion, calculus of residues, etc.); (ii) Advanced methods in solving and classifying differential equations commonly appears in physics (such as series solution, second solution, and singular points); (iii) Properties of special functions widely used in Physics (Gamma functions, Beta functions, Bessel functions, etc.), (iv) Integral transforms (Fourier transforms and Laplace transforms); (v) The use of Mathematica/Matlab in solving simple analytical problems appearing in topics (i)-(iv).
Course Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

CLO 1 analyse and examine the analytical properties of complex functions
CLO 2 calculate various definite integrals using the method of residues
CLO 3 analyse and solve the first and second order ordinary equations, and typical partial differential equations
CLO 4 apply the special functions in handling various physical problems
CLO 5 use the Fourier series and Fourier transform in analysing periodic functions and waves, and understand the basics of Laplace transforms
CLO 6 use Mathematica to solve simple analytical problems in physics
Pre-requisites
(and Co-requisites and
Impermissible combinations)
Pass in MATH2211 or PHYS2150 or PHYS2155
Course Status with Related Major/Minor /Professional Core 2023 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2023 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2022 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2022 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2021 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2021 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2020 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2020 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2019 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2019 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
Course to PLO Mapping 2023 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2023 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2022 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2022 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2021 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2021 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2020 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2020 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2019 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2019 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
Offer in 2023 - 2024 Y        1st sem    Examination Dec     
Offer in 2024 - 2025 Y
Course Grade A+ to F
Grade Descriptors
A Demonstrate thorough mastery at an advanced level of extensive knowledge and skills required for attaining all the course learning outcomes. Show strong analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, with evidence of original thought, and ability to apply knowledge to a wide range of complex, familiar and unfamiliar situations. Apply highly effective organizational and presentational skills.
B Demonstrate substantial command of a broad range of knowledge and skills required for attaining at least most of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, and ability to apply knowledge to familiar and some unfamiliar situations. Apply effective organizational and presentational skills.
C Demonstrate general but incomplete command of knowledge and skills required for attaining most of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of some analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, and ability to apply knowledge to most familiar situations. Apply moderately effective organizational and presentational skills.
D Demonstrate partial but limited command of knowledge and skills required for attaining some of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of some coherent and logical thinking, but with limited analytical and critical abilities. Show limited ability to apply knowledge to solve problems. Apply limited or barely effective organizational and presentational skills.
Fail Demonstrate little or no evidence of command of knowledge and skills required for attaining the course learning outcomes. Lack of analytical and critical abilities, logical and coherent thinking. Show very little or no ability to apply knowledge to solve problems. Organization and presentational skills are minimally effective or ineffective.
Communication-intensive Course N
Course Type Lecture-based course
Course Teaching
& Learning Activities
Activities Details No. of Hours
Lectures 36
Tutorials 12
Reading / Self study 80
Assessment Methods
and Weighting
Methods Details Weighting in final
course grade (%)
Assessment Methods
to CLO Mapping
Assignments Including computational assignments 20 CLO 1,2,3,4,5,6
Examination 3-hour written exam 50 CLO 1,2,3,4,5
Test 30 CLO 1,2,3,4,5
Required/recommended reading
and online materials
Lecture notes provided by Course Coordinator
G.B. Arfken, H.J. Weber, and F.E. Harris, Mathematical Methods for Physicists, 7th ed. (Academic Press, 2013)
Course Website http://moodle.hku.hk
Additional Course Information NIL
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