GEOL1006 Foundations of Physical Geoscience

1st Year - 1/2cu for those without maths and physics 'A' level
Course Organisers:                        Lidunka Vočadlo
Other Contributors:                      Alex Lindsay-Scott, Alex Petty

ASSESSMENT:    2 hour theory exam (40%), practical work (30%), written course work (30%).

This course is intended to introduce Earth science students to the basic fundamental principles of mathematics and their applications in physics relevant to the Earth and planetary sciences, assuming minimal previous knowledge. The student will use the essential tools of mathematics required for the Earth and planetary science degrees, and will study the basic principles of physics behind the fundamental processes occurring within the Earth and our solar system. Practical sessions and problem classes will illustrate the material covered within the lectures and will give the students training in good experimental techniques and scientific methods. In addition, the student will develop computer skills through exercises in word-processing, spreadsheet analysis and graph drawing.
Week 1
Geometry and Co-ordinates
Measurement and Mapping

Week 2
Exponents and Graphs and Quadratic Equations
Data Analysis 1

Week 3
Scalars and Vectors and Mechanics 1
Data Analysis 2

Week 4
Mechanics 2 and Elasticity
Weighing the Earth

Week 5
Waves and Light Complex numbers
Optical Props. of Crystals & Glasses

Week 6
Thermal and Transport Processes
Viscosity of Liquids

Week 7
Electricity and Magnetism

Week 8
Errors and Statistics
Elementary Statistics

Week 9
Differentiation and Differential Equations
Numerical Data Analysis 1

Week 10
Numerical Data Analysis 2

A more detailed syllabus can be found here

You are expected to attend all Lectures, the Problem Class and Practical Sessions.
Lectures will be held on Tuesdays from 9-11am in Room 23.
Problem sheets associated with each week's lectures will be distributed at the lecture and collected the following Tuesday. There is a problem class given by Nikhil Radia Wednesdays from 12-1pm in Room 44.
Practical sessions will be held on Fridays from 11am to 1pm (Room 42). Practical write-ups will be collected on the following Friday. It is not necessary for write-ups to be typed but they should be neat and legible.
The file, prem.dat, for Practical 3 can be found here.

There is no “book of the course”.
Those without Mathematics A-level might consider:
Waltham: "Mathematics: a Simple Tool for Geologists" (Blackwell Science).
This covers the necessary mathematics at about the right level, with an Earth science bias.
Those wanting a physics book might consider:
Breithaupt:“Physics” (Palgrave, Macmillan)
This seems to be a well presented and clearly written text at about the correct level. It is a general text, i.e. it does not have a specific Earth physics bias.
Chapman: "Physics for Geologists" (Taylor & Francis) covers the material at about the right level, with an Earth science viewpoint. However, it is probably not as clearly written as Breithaupt.
Keighley, Harrison & McKim: “Mastering Physics” (Palgrave Master Series). A general text at about the correct level but not as clearly presented as Breithaupt.
Halliday, Resnick & Walker: “Fundamentals of Physics” (Wiley). A large, comprehensive text. The layout is rather dense - probably over-long for a GEOL1006 text and not as clear as Breithaupt.
When used with care, the Internet is an excellent resource to aid your understanding.