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Physics & Philosophy


P


hysics & Philosophy offers a useful get-out to the terminally indecisive, preventing you from ever needing to make that difficult arts/sciences choice. In first-year physics, you’ll study classi- cal mechanics, special relativity, and a whole bunch of maths. The philosophy side covers logic; a grab-bag of things like free will, mind & body, knowledge and identity; and your first bit of the philosophy of physics, in the shape of a (surprisingly bitchy) 17th-century dispute over the nature of space and time. In second year, the first year maths gets put to good use in quan- tum physics, thermal physics and electromagnetism; then in third year, you choose your physics from a selection of topics covering atomic physics, con- densedmatter physics, general relativity, laser physics and more.


The second and third year philosophy is rolled together: you’ll do more philosophy of physics (on special relativity and quan- tum physics), philosophy of science, and some more general philosophy.


There’s also the option to do any random philosophy paper you want. Finally, eve- rything is up to you in fourth year; some physics options and a free pick of the philosophy faculty’s offerings, from which you can do pretty much whatever you like.


There’s a fair bit of work involved, and you’ll have the rare joy of experiencing both 9am lectures and late night essay


crises. However, the practical work demon has much less impact on Phys-Phil’s than on their poor straight physics counter- parts. Only three days have to be spent underground in the physics labs, and you get that out of the way in your second year (though if you want more, then there’s the option of a practical project later on). Although (and perhaps because) there tends to only be one or two Phys- Phil’s per college, there’s a strong sense of community among the Phys-Phil’s across the University.


All in all, Physics and Philosophy is a course with a lot of depth to it; if you want to know how the Universe is bolted together, it could be the course for you.


Courses


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