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Natural Sciences Tripos, Part III, Experimental and Theoretical Physics, 2008

The Faculty Board gives notice that the examination in Experimental and Theoretical Physics for Part III of the Natural Sciences Tripos in 2008 will have the following form:

PART III: Examination in Experimental and Theoretical Physics

The Major Options papers, to be taken in the period Monday, 14 to Wednesday, 16 January 2008, will provide in each paper three questions of which candidates are required to answer two. Each paper lasts 90 minutes; all questions carry equal weight. Candidates are required to take three papers. The titles of the papers are as follows:

Paper 1. Advanced quantum condensed matter physics

Paper 2. Soft matter

Paper 3. Astrophysics and cosmology

Paper 4. Particle physics

Paper 5. Physics of the Earth as a planet

Paper 6. Quantum condensed matter field theory

Paper 7. Classical field theory and gravitation

Paper 8. Quantum field theory

The Minor Options papers, each of which lasts 60 minutes, will be set as a single three-hour paper which will contain sections corresponding to each of the Minor Options; this paper will be taken on Tuesday, 22 April 2008. Candidates who are not replacing these Minor Options by other work, as specified below, must attempt three sections. Each section will contain three questions, of which candidates will be required to answer two; all questions carry equal weight. The topics are as follows:

Gauge field theory; Information theory, Pattern recognition and neural networks; The frontiers of particle physics; The frontiers of experimental condensed matter physics; Superconductivity and quantum coherence; Quantum information; From quantum optics to quantum matter; Phase transitions and collective phenomena; The frontiers of observational astrophysics; Medical physics; Biological physics; The physics of nanoelectronic systems.

Candidates may replace one, two, or three Minor Options as follows:

Candidates are advised that their examination entries will be viewed as a commitment. In particular, candidates who have chosen to replace one of the Minor Options will be required to answer two sections in the Minor Options paper, and to leave the examination after two hours. Candidates who have chosen to replace two of the Minor Options will be required to answer one section in the Minor Options paper, and to leave the examination after one hour. Those candidates who have replaced three Minor Options will not sit any part of the Minor Options paper. Candidates may not replace more than three Minor Options.

The style of the physics questions in the Major Options and Minor Options papers will be such as to test breadth of exposure rather than knowledge in great depth, and there will be no emphasis simply on highly focused calculations. Some questions may be of essay type or may ask for notes on several diverse subjects. Examples may be found in previous years' papers from Part III Experimental and Theoretical Physics.

The General Physics paper, to be taken on Monday, 2 June 2008, will examine a range of core topics in Physics. The three-hour paper will consist of two sections: Section A, which carries one-third of the total marks for the paper, will contain ten short questions from which students must answer six; Section B, which carries two-thirds of the total marks for the paper, will contain eight longer questions from which students must answer four.

The final part of the examination consists of assessment of a report on a Research Project carried out during the academical year. This report, of not more than 5,000 words excluding footnotes and appendices, is to be submitted for inspection by the Examiners not later than Monday, 12 May 2008.

Candidates are advised that the three Major Options papers taken together will account for approximately one-third of the total marks, and the Research Project will also account for approximately one-third of the total marks. Approximately one-sixth of the total marks will be allocated, in appropriate proportion, to the Minor Options Paper or its replacements. Approximately one-sixth of the total marks will be allocated to the General Physics paper.


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Cambridge University Reporter 24 October 2007
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.