Yearbooks

Programme: BSc Physics

Code Faculty Duration Credits Download
02133203 Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Minimum duration of study: 3 years Total credits: 428

Admission requirements

  • The following persons will be considered for admission: a candidate who is in possession of a certificate that is deemed by the University to be equivalent to the required Grade 12 certificate with university endorsement, a candidate who is a graduate from another tertiary institution or has been granted the status of a graduate of such an institution, and a candidate who is a graduate of another faculty at the University of Pretoria.
  • Life Orientation is excluded in the calculation of the Admission Point Score (APS).
  • Grade 11 results are used for the conditional admission of prospective students. Final admission is based on the Grade 12 results.

Minimum requirements

Achievement level

English Home Language or English First Additional Language

Mathematics

Physical Science 

APS

NSC/IEB

AS Level

NSC/IEB

AS Level

NSC/IEB

AS Level

5

C

5

C

5

C

32

*  Cambridge A level candidates who obtained at least a D in the required subjects, will be considered for admission. International Baccalaureate (IB) HL candidates who obtained at least a 4 in the required subjects, will be considered for admission.

Candidates who do not comply with the minimum admission requirements for BSc (Physics), may be considered for admission to the BSc – Extended programme for the Physical Sciences. The BSc – Extended programme takes place over a period of four years instead of the normal three years.

BSc Extended Programme for the Physical Sciences

 Minimum requirements

Achievement level

English Home Language or English First Additional Language

Mathematics

Physical Science  

APS

NSC/IEB

AS Level

NSC/IEB

AS Level

NSC/IEB

AS Level

4

D

4

D

4

D

26

 

Other programme-specific information

 

 

 

A student must pass all the minimum prescribed and elective module credits as set out at the end of each year within a programme as well as the total required credits to comply with the particular degree programme. Please refer to the curricula of the respective programmes. At least 144 credits must be obtained at 300-/400-level, or otherwise as indicated by curriculum. The minimum module credits needed to comply with degree requirements is set out at the end of each study programme. Subject to the programmes as indicated a maximum of 150 credits will be recognised at 100-level. A student may, in consultation with the relevant head of department and subject to the permission by the Dean, select or replace prescribed module credits not indicated in BSc three-year study programmes to the equivalent of a maximum of 36 module credits.

It is important that the total number of prescribed module credits is completed during the course of the study programme. The Dean may, on the recommendation of the relevant head of department, approve deviations in this regard. Subject to the programmes as indicated in the respective curricula, a student may not register for more than 75 module credits per semester at first-year level subject to permission by the Dean. A student may be permitted to register for up to 80 module credits in a the first semester during the first year provided that he or she obtained a final mark of no less than 70% for grade 12 Mathematics and achieved an APS of 34 or more in the NSC.

Students who are already in possession of a bachelor’s degree, will not receive credit for modules of which the content overlap with modules from the degree that was already conferred. Credits will not be considered for more than half the credits passed previously for an uncompleted degree. No credits at the final-year or 300- and 400-level will be granted.

The Dean may, on the recommendation of the programme manager, approve deviations with regard to the composition of the study programme.

Please note: Where elective modules are not specified, these may be chosen from any modules appearing in the list of modules.

It remains the student’s responsibility to acertain, prior to registration, whether they comply with the prerequisites of the modules they want to register for.

The prerequisites are listed in the Alphabetical list of modules.

Promotion to next study year

A student will be promoted to the following year of study if he or she passed 100 credits of the prescribed credits for a year of study, unless the Dean on the recommendation of the relevant head of department decides otherwise. A student who does not comply with the requirements for promotion to the following year of study, retains the credit for the modules already passed and may be admitted by the Dean, on recommendation of the relevant head of department, to modules of the following year of study to a maximum of 48 credits, provided that it will fit in with both the lecture and examination timetable.

General promotion requirements in the faculty
All students whose academic progress is not acceptable can be suspended from further studies.

  • A student who is excluded from further studies in terms of the stipulations of the abovementioned regulations, will be notified in writing by the Dean or Admissions Committee at the end of the relevant semester.
  • A student who has been excluded from further studies may apply in writing to the Admissions Committee of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences for re-admission.
  • Should the student be re-admitted by the Admissions Committee, strict conditions will be set which the student must comply with in order to proceed with his/her studies.
  • Should the student not be re-admitted to further studies by the Admissions Committee, he/she will be informed in writing.
  • Students who are not re-admitted by the Admissions Committee have the right to appeal to the Senior Appeals Committee.
  • Any decision taken by the Senior Appeals Committee is final.

Pass with distinction

A student obtains his or her degree with distinction if all prescribed modules at 300-level (or higher) are passed in one academic year with a weighted average of at least 75%, and obtain at least a subminimum of 65% in each of the relevant modules.

Minimum credits: 140

Minimum credits: 140

Fundamental =     12

Core             =     64

Electives       =    64

Additional information:

Students who do not qualify for AIM 102 must register for AIM 111 and AIM 121.

Students must select elective modules with a total number of at least 64 credits according to the following streams. (Deviations allowed with permission from the head of department):

  • Mathematics as second major: Due to the modules prescribed for the BSc (Physics) module, taking mathematics as a second major in 3rd year is possible for all options. Please select one of the options below.
  • Second major in applied mathematics or mathematical statistics: WTW 115, WTW 152, WTW 162, WTW 123, WST 111, WST 121 (64 credits)
  • Second major in chemistry or applied mathematics: CMY 117, CMY 127, WTW 162, WTW 123, WTW 115, WTW 152 (64 credits)
  • Second major in chemistry or mathematical statistics: CMY 117, CMY 127, WST 111, WST 121 (64 credits)
  • Second major in chemistry or geology: CMY 117, CMY 127, GLY 155, GLY 163 (64 credits)
  • Second major in chemistry or meteorology: CMY 117, CMY 127, WKD 155, WTW 123, WTW 162 (64 credits).
  • Second major in chemistry with interest in biophysics: CMY 117, CMY 127, MLB 111, GTS 161, BOT 161 (64 credits)
  • Second major in chemistry with interest in astronomy: CMY 117, CMY 127, WTW 162, WTW 123, SCI 154 (64 credits)
  • Second major in applied mathematics with an interest in astronomy: WTW 115, WTW 152, WTW 162, WTW 123, SCI 154, COS 132 (64 credits) note: semesters unbalanced – Year credits: S1:80, S2: 48
  • Computational physics: WTW 123, COS 132, COS 110, COS 122, COS 151 (64 credits note: semesters unbalanced – Year credits: S1:56, S2: 72)

Fundamental modules

Core modules

  • Module content:

    SI-units. Significant figures. Waves: intensity, superposition, interference, standing waves, resonance, beats, Doppler. Geometrical optics: Reflection, refraction, mirrors, thin lenses, instruments. Physical optics: Young-interference, coherence, diffraction, polarisation. Hydrostatics and dynamics: density, pressure, Archimedes’ principle, continuity, Bernoulli. Heat: temperature, specific heat, expansion, heat transfer. Vectors. Kinematics of a point: Relative, projectile, and circular motion. Dynamics: Newton’s laws, friction. Work: point masses, gasses (ideal gas law), gravitation, spring, power. Kinetic energy: Conservative forces, gravitation, spring. Conservation of energy. Conservation of momentum. Impulse and collisions. System of particles: Centre of mass, Newton’s laws. Rotation: torque, conservation of angular momentum, equilibrium, centre of gravity.

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  • Module content:

    Simple harmonic motion and pendulums. Coulomb’s law. Electric field: dipoles, Gauss’ law.Electric potential. Capacitance. Electric currents: resistance, resistivity, Ohm’s law, energy, power, emf, RC-circuits. Magnetic Field: Hall-effect, Bio-Savart. Faraday’s and Lenz’s laws. Oscillations: LR-circuits. Alternating current: RLC-circuits, power, transformers. Introductory concepts to modern physics. Nuclear physics: Radioactivity.

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  • Module content:

    *This module serves as preparation for students majoring in Mathematics (including all students who intend to enrol for WTW 218 and WTW 220). Students will not be credited for more than one of the following modules for their degree: WTW 114, WTW 158, WTW 134, WTW 165.
    Functions, limits and continuity. Differential calculus of single variable functions, rate of change, graph sketching, applications. The mean value theorem, the rule of L'Hospital. Definite and indefinite integrals, evaluating definite integrals using anti-derivatives, the substitution rule.

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  • Module content:

    *Students will not be credited for more than one of the following modules for their degree:
    WTW 124, WTW 146, WTW 148 and WTW 164. This module serves as preparation for students majoring in Mathematics (including all students who intend to enrol for WTW 218, WTW 211 and WTW 220).

    The vector space Rn, vector algebra with applications to lines and planes, matrix algebra, systems of linear equations, determinants. Complex numbers and factorisation of polynomials. Integration techniques and applications of integration. The formal definition of a limit. The fundamental theorem of Calculus and applications. Vector functions, polar curves and quadratic curves. 

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Elective modules

  • Module content:

    Basic plant structure and function; introductory plant taxonomy and plant systematics; principles of plant molecular biology and biotechnology; adaptation of plants to stress; medicinal compounds from plants; basic principles of plant ecology and their application in natural resource management.

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  • Module content:

    General introduction to inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry. Atomic structure and periodicity. Molecular structure and chemical bonding using the VSEOR model. Nomenclature of inorganic ions and compounds. Classification of reactions: precipitation, acid-base, redox reactions and gas-forming reactions. Mole concept and stoichiometric calculations concerning chemical formulas and chemical reactions. Principles of reactivity: energy and chemical reactions. Physical behaviour gases, liquids, solids and solutions and the role of intermolecular forces. Rate of reactions: Introduction to chemical kinetics.

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  • Module content:

    Theory: General physical-analytical chemistry: Chemical equilibrium, acids and bases, buffers, solubility equilibrium, entropy and free energy, electrochemistry. Organic chemistry: Structure (bonding), nomenclature, isomerism, introductory stereochemistry, introduction to chemical reactions and chemical properties of organic compounds and biological compounds, i.e. carbohydrates and aminoacids. Practical: Molecular structure (model building), synthesis and properties of simple organic compounds.

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  • Module content:

    The focus is on object-oriented (OO) programming. Concepts including inheritance and multiple inheritance, polymorphism, operator overloading, memory management (static and dynamic binding), interfaces, encapsulation, reuse, etc. will be covered in the module. The module teaches sound program design with the emphasis on modular code, leading to well structured, robust and documented programs. A modern OO programming language is used as the vehicle to develop these skills. The module will introduce the student to basic data structures, lists, stacks and queues.

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  • Module content:

    Fundamental concepts of modern operating systems in terms of their structure and the mechanisms they use are studied in this module. After completing this module, students will have gained, as outcomes, knowledge of real time, multimedia and multiple processor systems, as these will be defined and analysed. In addition, students will have gained knowledge on modern design issues of process management, deadlock and concurrency control, memory management, input/output management, file systems and operating system security. In order to experience a hands-on approach to the knowledge students would have gained from studying the abovementioned concepts, students will have produced a number of practical implementations of these concepts using the Windows and Linux operating systems.

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  • Module content:

    This module introduces imperative computer programming, which is a fundamental building block of computer science. The process of constructing a program for solving a given problem, of editing it, compiling (both manually and automatically), running and debugging it, is covered from the beginning. The aim is to master the elements of a programming language and be able to put them together in order to construct programs using types, control structures, arrays, functions and libraries. An introduction to object orientation will be given. After completing this module, the student should understand the fundamental elements of a program, the importance of good program design and user-friendly interfaces. Students should be able to conduct basic program analysis and write complete elementary programs.

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  • Module content:

    This module introduces concepts and terminology related to the computer science discipline. General topics covered include the history of computing, machine level representation of data, Boolean logic and gates, basic computer systems organisation, algorithms and complexity and automata theory. The module also introduces some of the subdisciplines of computer science, such as computer networks, database systems, compilers, information security and intelligent systems. The module also focues on modelling of algorithms.

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  • Module content:

    Solar system; structure of solid matter; minerals and rocks; introduction to symmetry and crystallography; important minerals and solid solutions; rock cycle; classification of rocks. External geological processes (gravity, water, wind, sea, ice) and their products (including geomorphology). Internal structure of the earth. The dynamic earth – volcanism, earthquakes, mountain building – the theory of plate tectonics. Geological processes (magmatism, metamorphism, sedimentology, structural geology) in a plate tectonic context. Geological maps and mineral and rock specimens.

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  • Module content:

    This module will give an overview of earth history, from the Archaean to the present. Important concepts such as the principles of stratigraphy and stratigraphic nomenclature, geological dating and international and South African time scales will be introduced. A brief introduction to the principles of palaeontology will be given, along with short descriptions of major fossil groups, fossil forms, ecology and geological meaning. In the South African context, the major stratigraphic units, intrusions and tectonic/metamorphic events will be detailed, along with related rock types, fossil contents, genesis and economic commodities. Practical work will focus on the interpretation of geological maps and profiles.

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  • Module content:

    Chromosomes and cell division. Principles of Mendelian inheritance: locus and alleles, dominance interactions, extensions and modifications of basic principles.. Probability studies. Sex determination and sex linked traits. Pedigree analysis. Genetic linkage and chromosome mapping. Chromosome variation.

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  • Module content:

     Introduction to the molecular structure and function of the cell. Basic chemistry of the cell. Structure and composition of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Ultrastructure and function of cellular organelles, membranes and the cytoskeleton. General principles of energy, enzymes and cell metabolism. Selected processes, e.g. glycolysis, respiration and/or photosynthesis. Introduction to molecular genetics: DNA structure and replication, transcription, translation. Cell growth and cell division.

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  • Module content:

    Students from all faculties are welcome to join us in our exploration of the universe from an earth-bound perspective. We reflect on the whole universe from the sub microscopic to the vast macroscopic and mankind’s modest position therein. To what degree is our happiness determined by stars? Echoes from ancient firmaments - the astronomy of old civilisations. The universe is born with a bang. Stars, milky ways and planets are formed. Life is breathed into the landscape on earth, but is there life elsewhere? The architecture of the universe – distance measurements, structure of our solar system and systems of stars. How does it look like on neighbouring planets? Comets and meteorites. Life cycles of stars. Spectacular exploding stars! Exotica like pulsars and black holes.

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  • Module content:

    *Students are not allowed to earn credits for WKD 155 and WKD 164

    Introduction to weather and climate. Climate of South Africa. Urban and rural climate. Meteorological instruments. Motion of the earth. Atmospheric mass and pressure. Energy and heat budget. Moisture in the atmosphere. Cloud development. Climate change. ENSO. Electromagnetic spectrum and remote sensing in meteorology. Synoptic weather systems of South Africa.

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  • Module content:

    Characterisation of a set of measurements: Graphical and numerical methods. Random sampling. Probability theory. Discrete and continuous random variables. Probability distributions. Generating functions and moments.

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  • Module content:

    Sampling distributions and the central limit theorem. Statistical inference: Point and interval estimation. Hypothesis testing with applications in one and two-sample cases. Introductory methods for: Linear regression and correlation, analysis of variance, categorical data analysis and non-parametric statistics.  Identification, use, evaluation and interpretation of statistical computer packages and statistical techniques.

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  • Module content:

    Propositional logic: truth tables, logical equivalence, implication, arguments. Mathematical induction and well-ordering principle. Introduction to set theory. Counting techniques: elementary probability, multiplication and addition rules, permutations and combinations, binomial theorem, inclusion-exclusion rule.

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  • Module content:

    Non-linear equations, numerical integration, initial value problems for differential equations, systems of linear equations. Algorithms for elementary numerical techniques are derived and implemented in computer programmes. Error estimates and convergence results are treated.

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  • Module content:

    The module serves as an introduction to computer programming as used in science. Modelling of dynamical processes using difference equations; curve fitting and linear programming are studied. Applications are drawn from real-life situations in, among others, finance, economics and ecology.

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  • Module content:

    *Students will not be credited for more than one of the following modules for their degree: WTW 162 and WTW 264.

    Introduction to the modelling of dynamical processes using elementary differential equations. Solution methods for first order differential equations and analysis of properties of solutions (graphs). Applications to real life situations.

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Minimum credits: 144

Minimum credits: 144

Core             =    96

Elective         =   48

Additional information:

Students must select elective modules with a total number of at least 48 credits according to the following streams (deviations allowed with permission from the head of department):

  • Mathematics as second major: Due to the modules prescribed for the BSc (Physics) module, taking mathematics as a second major in 3rd year is possible for all options.

  • Second major applied mathematics: WTW 285, WTW 286, WTW 221 (36 credits – an additional 12 credits will have to be taken in 2nd or 3rd year. PHY 353, PHY 363 or additional 3rd year mathematics module recommended).

  • Second major statistics: WST 211, WST 221 (48 credits)

  • Second major in chemistry: CMY 282, CMY 283, CMY 284, CMY 285 (48 credits).

  • Second major in geology: GLY 253, GLY 255, GLY 261, GLY 262 (48 credits).

  • Second major in meteorology: WKD 261, WKD 263, WKD 254 (permission from HOD Required), WTW 286 (48 credits). (Q: GMA 220 instead of WKD 254)

  • Interest in astronomy: PHY 210, WTW 221, WTW 286 (48 credits Unbalanced: Year credits S1: 60, S2: 84)

  • Interest in computational physics: COS 210, COS 212, COS 226, COS 284 (56 credits) 24 + 32 = 56 credits = excess of 8 credits in second semester.

Core modules

  • Module content:

    Vibrating systems and waves (14 lectures)
    Simple harmonic motion (SHM). Superposition (different frequencies, equal frequencies). Perpendicular vibrations (Lissajous figures). Damped SHM. Forced oscillations. Resonance. Q-value. Transverse wave motion. Plane wave solution using method of separation of variables. Reflection and transmission at a boundary. Normal and eigenmodes. Wave packets. Group velocity.
    Modern physics (30 lectures)
    Special relativity: Galilean and Lorentz transformations. Postulates. Momentum and energy. 4 vectors and tensors. General relativity. Quantum physics. Failure of classical physics. Bohr model. Particle-wave duality. Schrödinger equation. Piece-wise constant potentials. Tunneling. X-rays. Laser. Nuclear physics: Fission. Fusion. Radioactivity.
    Heat and thermodynamics (12 lectures)
    Heat. First Law. Kinetic theory of gases. Mean free path. Ideal, Clausius, Van der Waals and virial gases. Entropy. Second Law. Engines and refrigerators. Third Law. Thermodynamic potentials: Enthalpy Helmholtz and Gibbs free energies, Chemical potential. Legendre transformations (Maxwell relations). Phase equilibrium. Gibbs phase rule.
    Modelling and simulation (7 practical sessions)
    Introduction to programming in a high level system: Concept of an algorithm and the basic logic of a computer programme. Symbolic manipulations, graphics, numerical computations. Applications: Selected illustrative examples.
    Error Analysis (7 practical sessions)
    Experimental uncertainties. Propagation of uncertainties. Statistical analysis of random uncertainties. Normal distribution. Rejection of data. Least-squares fitting. Covariance and correlation.

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  • Module content:

    Classical mechanics (28 lectures)
    Fundamental concepts, energy and angular momentum, calculus of variations and Lagrangian mechanics, conservative central forces and two body problems, scattering, mechanics in rotating reference frames, many body systems.
    Physical Optics (14 lectures)
    Maxwell’s equations, wave equation and plane wave solution, coherence, interference,
    diffraction, polarisation.
    Physics of Materials (14 lectures)
    Classification of materials. Atomic bonding. Crystallography. Defects. Material strength.
    Phase diagram's, Ceramics. Polymers. Composites. Fracture. Electrical and
    magnetic properties. Semiconductors. Smart materials Nanotechnology.
    Experiments (14 sessions)

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  • Module content:

    This is an introduction to linear algebra on Rn. Matrices and linear equations, linear combinations and spans, linear independence, subspaces, basis and dimension, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, similarity and diagonalisation of matrices, linear transformations.

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  • Module content:

    Calculus of multivariable functions, directional derivatives. Extrema and Lagrange multipliers. Multiple integrals, polar, cylindrical and spherical coordinates.

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  • Module content:

    Properties of real numbers. Analysis of sequences and series of real numbers. Power series and theorems of convergence. The Bolzano-Weierstrass theorem. The intermediate value theorem and analysis of real-valued functions on an interval. The Riemann integral: Existence and properties of the interval.

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  • Module content:

    Vectors and geometry. Calculus of vector functions with applications to differential geometry, kinematics and dynamics. Vector analysis, including vector fields, line integrals of scalar and vector fields, conservative vector fields, surfaces and surface integrals, the Theorems of Green, Gauss and Stokes with applications.

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Elective modules

  • Module content:

    Theory: Classical chemical thermodynamics, gases, first and second law and applications, physical changes of pure materials and simple compounds. Phase rule: Chemical reactions, chemical kinetics, rates of reactions.

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  • Module content:

    Theory: Statistical evaluation of data, gravimetric analysis, aqueous solution chemistry, chemical equilibrium, precipitation-, neutralisation- and complex formation titrations, redox titrations, potentiometric methods, introduction to electrochemistry.

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  • Module content:

    Theory: Resonance, conjugation and aromaticity. Acidity and basicity. Introduction to 13C NMR spectroscopy. Electrophilic addition: alkenes. Nucleophilic substitution, elimination, addition: alkyl halides, alcohols, ethers, epoxides, carbonyl compounds: ketones, aldehydes, carboxylic acids and their derivatives.

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  • Module content:

    Theory: Atomic structure, structure of solids (ionic model). Coordination chemistry of transition metals: Oxidation states of transition metals, ligands, stereochemistry, crystal field theory, consequences of d-orbital splitting, chemistry of the main group elements, electrochemical properties of transition metals in aqueous solution, industrial applications of transition metals.Fundamentals of spectroscopy and introduction to IR spectroscopy.

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  • Module content:

    This module introduces students to a framework for investigating both computability and complexity of problems. Topics include, but are not limited to: finite-state machines, regular expressions and their application in a language such as awk, the Halting problem, context-free grammars, P vs NP problem, NP-complete class, reduction techniques, regular languages, DFAs and NFAs, Lattices, Church-Turing thesis.

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  • Module content:

    Data abstraction is a fundamental concept in the design and implementation of correct and efficient software. In prior modules, students are introduced to the basic data structures of lists, stacks and queues. This module continues with advanced data structures such as trees, hash tables, heaps and graphs, and goes into depth with the algorithms needed to manipulate them efficiently. Classical algorithms for sorting, searching, traversing, packing and game playing are included, with an emphasis on comparative implementations and efficiency. At the end of this module, students will be able to identify and recognise all the classical data structures; implement them in different ways; know how to measure the efficiency of implementations and algorithms; and have further developed their programming skills, especially with recursion and polymorphism.

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  • Module content:

    Computer science courses mostly deal with sequential programs. This module looks at the fundamentals of concurrency; what it means, how it can be exploited, and what facilities are available to determine program correctness. Concurrent systems are designed, analysed and implemented.

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  • Module content:

    This module provides the foundations on which other modules build by enabling a deeper understanding of how software interacts with hardware. It will teach the design and operation of modern digital computers by studying each of the components that make up a digital computer and the interaction between these components. Specific areas of interest, but not limited to, are: representation of data on the machine-level; organisation of the machine on the assembly level; the architecture and organisation of memory; inter- and intra-component interfacing and communication; data paths and control; and parallelism. Topic-level detail and learning outcomes for each of these areas are given by the first 6 units of ‘Architecture and Organisation’ knowledge area as specified by the ACM/IEEE Computer Science Curriculum 2013.
    The concepts presented in the theory lectures will be reinforced during the practical sessions by requiring design and implementation of the concepts in simulators and assembly language using an open source operating system.

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  • Module content:

    Physical processes that influence the earth’s surface and management. Specific processes and their interaction in themes such as weathering; soil erosion; slope, mass movement and fluvial processes. Practical laboratory exercises are based on the themes covered in the module theory component.

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  • Module content:

    *This module is for Architecture and Landscape Architecture students only.
    The theory component covers geomorphological aspects of the built environment including landscape identification; weathering or deterioration of natural stone and application to design and preservation of buildings and monuments; slope hydrology and stability conditions; soil erosion processes and construction impacts; drainage modification in urban areas; wetland identification, human impacts and rehabilitation; recreational impacts and management. In addition to the theory a field-based project is undertaken.

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  • Module content:

    An urbanising world. Urban structure and land use. Urban processes. The urban environment. Social structure and change in cities. Living in the city. Economy, society and politics in the city. Third-world cities and South African cities. Urban futures.

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  • Module content:

    The nature of geographical data and measurement.Application of statistics in the geographical domain. Probability, probability distributions and densities, expected values and variances, Central Limit theorem. Sampling techniques. Exploratory data analysis, descriptive statistics, statistical estimation, hypothesis testing, correlation analysis and regression analysis.

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  • Module content:

    Introduction to sedimentology; grain studies; composition and textures of sedimentary rocks; flow dynamics and behaviour of sediment particles in transport systems; description and genesis of sedimentary structures; diagenesis; depositional environments and their deposits, modern and ancient; chemical sedimentary rocks; economic sedimentology; field data acquisition from sedimentary rocks and writing of reports; sieve analysis; Markov analysis; analysis of palaeocurrent trends; interpretation of sedimentary profiles.

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  • Module content:

    Fundamental concepts in mineralogy, and practical applications of mineralogy, including: the basics of crystal structure; the crystallographic groups; the rules of atomic substitution; phase transitions and phase diagrams; the structure and uses of olivine, pyroxene, feldspar, amphibole, mica, aluminosilicates, garnet, cordierite, and more uncommon mineral groups such as oxides, sulphides and carbonates; the calculation of mineral formulae from chemical analyses using various methods. Practical sessions: the basics of optical mineralogy and the use of transmitted light microscopy for thin section examination of minerals and rocks; the practicals will develop mineral identification skills for the minerals covered in the lectures, and cover basic textural identification.

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  • Module content:

    Classification and nomenclature of igneous rocks. The nature of silicate melts; physical and chemical factors influencing crystallisation and textures of igneous rocks. Phase diagrams, fractional crystallisation and partial melting. Trace elements and isotopes, and their use in petrogenetic studies. Global distribution of magmatism and its origin. Mid-oceanic ridges, active continental margins, intraplate magmatism.

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  • Module content:

    Classification of metamorphic rocks. Anatexis, migmatite and granite; eclogite. Metamorphic textures. PT-time loops. Metamorphism in various plate tectonic environments.

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  • Module content:

    This module will provide a thorough introduction to the basic scientific principles involved in remote sensing, and some of the applications to studies of the Earth’s surface. This includes examining the basic physics of electromagnetic radiation and the complex interactions of radiation with the surface and atmosphere (i.e. spectral signatures). In addition, basic concepts of photogrammetry will be discussed. The theoretical background laid out in the first half of the module will provide the tools for examining various remote sensing applications using data obtained in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. The applications will include uses of satellite remote sensing data for mapping and monitoring vegetation, soils and minerals, snow and ice, water resources and quality, and urban landscapes. The laboratory section will include hands-on experience with various satellite image data sets.

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  • Module content:

    Introduction to the universe: distance and time scales. Solar System overview. Techniques of astronomy: telescopes and optics, basic radio receiver. Solar system: gas giants, terrestrial planets, small bodies. Stellar evolution and death. Interstellar medium: gas, dust, molecules and masers. Supernova and Pulsars: galaxies and the Milky Way, galactic evolution and classification. Quasars, apparent superluminal motion, black holes. Big Bang, and the age of the universe. Expansion of the universe. SKA, MeerKAT, SALT, HESS and history of astronomy in SA. Other current topics in astronomy.

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  • Module content:

    Meteorological data acquisition. Manipulation of multidimensional meteorological data sets. Spatial representation and interpretation of weather data. Introduction to statistical and numerical methods. Introduction to atmospheric cloud models. 

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  • Module content:

    Conservative forces and conservation laws. Basic thermodynamic laws for dry and humid air. The equation of state. Adiabatic processes and temperature lapse rates. The Clausuis-Claperon equation. Calculation of the wet adiabat. Radiative transfer. The physical basis of climate change.

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  • Module content:

    Vector algebra, curl of a vector, total and partial derivatives, second law of motion. Spherical coordinates Acceleration in rotating co-ordinates, fundamental forces, momentum equation. Three dimensional flow balance, conservation of mass, heat equation, thermodynamic energy equation. Introduction to finite difference methods. Numerical estimation of the geostrophic wind, vorticity and divergence. Advection of temperature. Development of a two-dimensional temperature advection model.

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  • Module content:

    Set theory. Probability measure functions. Random variables. Distribution functions. Probability mass functions. Density functions. Expected values. Moments. Moment generating functions. Special probability distributions: Bernoulli, binomial, hypergeometric, geometric, negative binomial, Poisson, Poisson process, discrete uniform, uniform, gamma,exponential, Weibull, Pareto, normal. Joint distributions: Multinomial, extended hypergeometric, joint continuous distributions. Marginal distributions. Independent random variables. Conditional distributions. Covariance, correlation. Conditional expected values. Transformation of random variables: Convolution formula. Order statistics. Stochastic convergence: Convergence in distribution. Central limit theorem. Practical applications. Practical statistical modelling and analysis using statistical computer packages and the interpretation of the output.

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  • Module content:

    Stochastic convergence: Asymptotic normal distributions, convergence in probability. Statistics and sampling distributions: Chi-squared distribution. Distribution of the sample mean and sample variance for random samples from a normal population. T-distribution. F-distribution. Beta distribution. Point estimation: Method of moments. Maximum likelihood estimation. Unbiased estimators. Uniform minimum variance unbiased estimators. Cramer-Rao inequality. Efficiency. Consistency. Asymptotic relative efficiency.
    Bayes estimators. Sufficient statistics. Completeness. The exponential class. Confidence intervals. Test of statistical hypotheses. Reliability and survival distributions. Practical applications. Practical statistical modelling and analysis using statistical computer packages and the interpretation of the output.

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  • Module content:

    Abstract vector spaces, change of basis, matrix representation of linear transformations, orthogonality, diagonalisability of symmetric matrices, some applications.

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  • Module content:

    Theory and solution methods for linear differential equations as well as for systems of linear differential equations. Theory and solution methods for first order non-linear differential equations. The Laplace transform with application to differential equations. Application of differential equations to modelling problems.

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  • Module content:

    Setting up and solving recurrence relations. Equivalence and partial order relations. Graphs: paths, cycles, trees, isomorphism. Graph algorithms: Kruskal, Prim, Fleury. Finite state automata.

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  • Module content:

    *Students will not be credited for more than one of the modules for their degree: WTW 264, WTW 286
    Theory and solution methods for ordinary differential equations and initial value problems: separable and linear first-order equations, linear equations of higher order, systems of linear equations. Application to mathematical models.  Numerical methods applied to nonlinear systems.Qualitative analysis of linear systems.

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Minimum credits: 144

Minimum credits: 144

Core             =    72

Elective         =   72

Additional information:

Students must select elective modules with a total number of at least 72 credits from the following streams (deviations allowed with permission from the head of department):

  • Mathematics as second major: WTW 310, WTW 320, WTW 381 and WTW 389 (72 credits).

  • Applied Mathematics as second major: WTW 310, WTW 382, WTW 383 and WTW 386 and WTW 387 (90 credits)*.

  • Mathematical statistics as second major: WST 311, WST 312, WST 321, STK 353 (79 credits) Unbalanced: 36 + 43

  • Chemistry as second major: CMY 382, CMY 383, CMY 384, CMY 385 (72 credits).

  • Geology as second major: GLY 365, GLY 366 and GLY 367 (72 credits)

  • Meteorology as second major: WKD 352, WKD 361, WKD 366 (72 credits) Unbalanced S1: 0, S2: 72

  • Astronomy, astrophysics and high energy physics: PHY 300, PHY 310, WTW 383 (72 credits)

  • Interest in computational physics: COS 314, COS 344, COS 333, COS 330 (72 credits).

* All 5 modules are required if a student wishes to continue with BScHons Applied Mathematics, otherwise a selection of modules with a total number of 72 credits may be made.

Core modules

  • Module content:

    Electronics (14 lectures)
    Thévenin and Norton equivalent circuits, superposition principle, RC, LC and LRC circuits. Semiconductor diode. Bipolar transistor. Operational amplifiers. Computer controlled instrumentation.
    Electromagnetism (21 lectures)
    Electrostatics: Coulomb’s law, divergence and curl of E, Gauss’ law, Laplace’s equation, image charge problems, multipole expansion.
    Magnetostatics: Lorenz force, Biot-Savart law, divergence and curl of magnetic field strength, Ampère’s law, magnetic vector potential, multipole expansion, boundary conditions.
    Electrodynamics: Electromotive force, electromagnetic induction, Maxwell’s equations, wave equation.
    Electric and magnetic fields in matter: Polarisation, electric displacement and Gauss’s law in dielectrics, linear dielectrics. Magnetisation (diamagnets, paramagnets, ferromagnets), auxiliary field H and Ampère’s law in magnetised materials, linear and nonlinear media.
    Quantum mechanics (28 lectures)
    The Schrödinger equation, the statistical interpretation of the wave function, momentum, the uncertainty principle, the time-independent Schrödinger equation, stationary states, the infinite square well potential, the harmonic oscillator, the free particle, the Delta-Function potential, the finite square well potential, Hilbert spaces, observables, eigen functions of a Hermitian operator, Dirac notation, the Schrödinger equation in spherical coordinates, the hydrogen atom, angular momentum spin.

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  • Module content:

    Statistical mechanics (28 lectures)
    Isolated systems in thermodynamical equilibrium. Systems in equilibrium with a heat bath: the canonical ensemble, Gibbs' entropic formula, classical statistical mechanics, energy equipartition theorem, thermodynamic potentials, paramagnetism.
    The classical limit of perfect gases: non-distinguishable character of quantum particles, the equation of state of the classical ideal gas. Quantum perfect gases: Black body radiation, the grand canonical ensemble, Fermi-Dirac distribution, the free electron gas in metals, the Bose-Einstein distribution, Bose-Einstein condensation.
    Solid state physics (28 lectures)
    Crystal structures, the reciprocal lattice, x-ray diffraction, lattice vibration, the Debye model, characteristics of solids, the free electron model, Pauli paramagnetism, electronic heat capacity, the relaxation time, electrical conduction, the classical Hall effect, thermal conduction in metals, failures of the free electron model, the independent electron model, band theory of solids.
    Computational Physics and modelling. Assessment will be done through a portfolio of project reports. The topics for the projects will be selected from various sub-disciplines of Physics.

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Elective modules

  • Module content:

    Theory: Molecular quantum mechanics. Introduction: Shortcomings of classical physics, dynamics of microscopic systems, quantum mechanical principles, translational, vibrational and rotational movement. Atomic structure and spectra: Atomic hydrogen, multiple electron systems, spectra of complex atoms, molecular structure, the hydrogen molecule ion, diatomic and polyatomic molecules, structure and properties of molecules. Molecules in motion: Viscosity, diffusion, mobility. Surface chemistry: Physisorption and chemisorption, adsorption isotherms, surface tension, heterogeneous catalytic rate reactions, capillarity.

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  • Module content:

    Theory: Separation methods: Extraction, multiple extraction, chromatographic systems. Spectroscopy: Construction of instruments, atomic absorption and atomic emission spectrometry, surface analysis techniques. Mass spectrometry. Instrumental electrochemistry.

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  • Module content:

    Theory: NMR spectroscopy: applications. Aromatic chemistry, Synthetic methodology in organic chemistry. Carbon-carbon bond formation: alkylation at nucleophilic carbon sites, aldol and related condensations, Wittig and related reactions, acylation of carbanions (Claisen condensation).

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  • Module content:

    Theory: Structure and bonding in inorganic chemistry. Molecular orbital approach, diatomic and polyatomic molecules, three-centre bonds, metal-metal bonds, transition metal complexes, magnetic properties, electronic spectra, reactivity and reaction mechanisms, reaction types, acid-base concepts, non-aqueous solvents, special topics.

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  • Module content:

    The main objective of this module is to introduce a selection of topics from artificial intelligence (AI), and to provide the student with the background to implement AI techniques for solving complex problems.
    This module will cover topics from classical AI, as well as more recent AI paradigms. These topics include: search methods, game playing, knowledge representation and reasoning, machine learning, neural networks, genetic algorithms, artificial life, planning methods, and intelligent agents. In the practical part of this module, students will get experience in implementing
    (1) game trees and evolving game-playing agents;
    (2) a neural network and applying it to solve a real-world problem; and
    (3) a genetic algorithm and applying it to solve a real-world problem.

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  • Module content:

    This module develops an appreciation of the fundamentals and design principles for information assurance and security. Students will develop a clear understanding of the basic information security services and mechanisms, enabling them to design and evaluate the integration of solutions into the user application environment. Emphasis will be placed on services such as authorisation and confidentiality. Students will  acquire knowledge and skills of Security Models such as the Bell-LaPadula, Harrison-Ruzzo Ullman and Chinese Wall Model. Students will develop a detailed understanding of the confidentiality service by focusing on cryptology and the practical implementation thereof. The student will be introduced to professional and philosophical ethics. At the end of the module students will be able to engage in a debate regarding the impact (local and global) of computers on individuals, organisations and society. The professionalism of IT staff will be discussed against national and international codes of practices such as those of the CSSA, ACM and IEEE.

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  • Module content:

    Programming languages are the backbone for software development. Each language has its own different syntax and semantics, but there are many common concepts that can be studied and then illustrated through the languages. The module concentrates on issues of object orientation, including delegation, iteration and polymorphism. It surveys how languages provide the basic building blocks for data and control, as well as exception handling and concurrency. At the end of the module, students will be able to appreciate the rich history behind programming languages, leading to independent principles that evolve over time. They will be skilled at using a variety of programming languages, including new paradigms such as functional, logical and scripting, and will know how to learn a new language with ease. From this experience, they will be able to apply evaluation criteria for choosing an appropriate programming language in a given scenario.

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  • Module content:

    The aim of this module is to acquire a sound knowledge of the basic theory of interactive computer graphics and basic computer graphics programming techniques. The theory will cover graphics systems and models, graphics programming, input and interaction, geometric objects and transformations, viewing in 3D, shading, rendering techniques, and introduce advanced concepts, such as object-oriented computer graphics and discrete techniques. The module includes a practical component that enables students to apply and test their knowledge in computer graphics. The OpenGL graphics library and the C programming language will be used for this purpose.

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  • Module content:

    Integrated theoretical and practical course dealing with the princples of rock deformation and analysis of deformed rocks. Stress, strain and rheology, joints, experimental rock deformation, fault systems and Anderson's theory of faulting. Folds and interference folding, tectonic fabrics, shear zone, prograssive deformation. Stereographic projection and structural analysis.

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  • Module content:

    Origin and classification of groundwater; classification of aquifers; groundwater movement; equations for groundwater flow into boreholes; the La Place equation and solutions for pump tests; execution and interpretation of pump tests; contaminant transport; low temperature aqueous geochemistry; groundwater exploration and management.

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  • Module content:

    This module details the genesis and exploitation of major ore deposits, with an emphasis on South African examples. The processes through which ore deposits are formed and modified will be discussed, highlighting the relevance of sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous processes in the genesis of world-class ore bodies. The module will also address the methods of mining commonly used, and the international commodity market, including a brief introduction to ore reserve estimation and the evaluation of potential ore deposits.

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  • Module content:

    Structure of the universe, navigation of the sky, spherical geometry, optical, radio and high energy physics and sources, instruments, practical observational skills, data recording, analysis, interpretation (signal and image processing, noise, calibration, error analysis). Project: A selected project in either optical or radio astronomy, resulting in a formal report and a presentation.

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  • Module content:

    Relativistic kinematics, fundamentals of elementary particle physics, the four forces of nature and the Standard Model, beyond the Standard Model, early universe cosmology (inflation, baryogenesis), the Cosmic Microwave Background, high-energy astronomy (cosmic rays, gamma rays and neutrinos), gravitational waves, dark matter (evidence, candidates, detection), dark energy and the Standard Cosmological Model.

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  • Module content:

    *Cannot be used as substitute for other Physics 300 modules to obtain admission to the BSc(Hons) in Physics.
    A student is required to complete a project under guidance of the lecturer. The nature of the project is determined jointly by the student, lecturer and the head of department.

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  • Module content:

    *Cannot be used as substitute for other Physics 300 modules to obtain admission to the BSc(Hons) in Physics
    A student is required to complete a project under guidance of the lecturer. The nature of the project is determined jointly by the student, lecturer and the head of department.

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  • Module content:

    Sampling: basic techniques in probability, non-probability, and resampling methods. Designing experiments: experimental and control groups, different data types and relationships. Big and small data: exploring popular trends used in practice. Consultation practice: ethical considerations, study design, data collection and presentation, report writing and presentation. Hands-on application of statistical software and packages to real-life datasets.

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  • Module content:

    Scale analyses and simplification of the basic equations. The geostrophic, thermal and gradient wind. The vorticity equation and divergence. Potential vorticity. Vertical motion and surface pressure tendency. Vorticity in barotropic fluids. Vorticity and divergence fields in a present and future climate

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  • Module content:

    Tendency and Omega equations. Model of a boroclinic system. Introduction to numerical models. Application in meteorological display and analysis software.Ascending and subsiding motion in a present and future climate.

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  • Module content:

    Integration of information to describe the current state of the atmosphere and to predict a future state of the atmosphere. Weather forecasting techniques. Applications of remote sensing in weather forecasting. Aerological diagrams and codes. Weather forecasting software and application to numerical weather prediction. Climate change and synoptic circulation.

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  • Module content:

    Multivariate statistical distributions: Moments of a distribution, moment generating functions, independence. Multivariate normal distribution: Conditional distributions, partial and multiple correlations. Distribution of quadratic forms in normal variables. Multivariate normal samples: Estimation of the mean vector and covariance matrix, estimation of correlation coefficients, distribution of the sample mean, sample covariance matrix. Principal component analysis.The linear model: Models of full rank, least squares estimators, test of hypotheses.The generalised linear model: Exponential family mean and variance, link functions, deviance and residual analysis, test statistics, log- linear and logit models. Practical applications: Practical statistical modelling and analysis using statistical computer packages and interpretation of the output.

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  • Module content:

    Definition of a stochastic process. Stationarity. Covariance stationary. Markov property. Random walk. Brownian motion. Markov chains. Chapman-Kolmogorov equations. Recurrent and transient states. First passage time. Occupation times. Markov jump processes. Poisson process. Birth and death processes. Structures of processes. Structure of the time-homogeneous Markov jump process. Applications in insurance. Practical statistical modelling, analysis and simulation using statistical computer packages and the interpretation of the output.

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  • Module content:

    Note: Only one of the modules WST 321 or STK 320 may be included in any study programme. 

    Stationary and non-stationary univariate time-series. Properties of autoregressive moving average (ARMA) and autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) processes. Identification, estimation and diagnostic testing of a time-series model. Forecasting. Multivariate time-series. Practical statistical modelling and analysis using statistical computer packages.

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  • Module content:

    Topology of finite dimensional spaces: Open and closed sets, compactness, connectedness and completeness. Theorems of Bolzano-Weierstrass and Heine-Borel. Properties of continuous functions and applications. Integration theory for functions of one real variable. Sequences of functions.

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  • Module content:

    Series of functions, power series and Taylor series. Complex functions, Cauchy- Riemann equations, Cauchy's theorem and integral formulas. Laurent series, residue theorem and calculation of real integrals using residues.

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  • Module content:

    Group theory: Definition, examples, elementary properties, subgroups, permutation groups, isomorphism, order, cyclic groups, homomorphisms, factor groups. Ring theory: Definition, examples, elementary properties, ideals, homomorphisms, factor rings, polynomial rings, factorisation of polynomials. Field extensions, applications to straight-edge and compass constructions.

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  • Module content:

    Matrix exponential function: homogeneous and non-homogeneous linear systems of differential equations. Qualitative analysis of systems: phase portraits, stability, linearisation, energy method and Liapunov's method. Introduction to chaotic systems. Application to real life problems.

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  • Module content:

    Direct methods for the numerical solution of systems of linear equations, pivoting strategies. Iterative methods for solving systems of linear equations and eigenvalue problems. Iterative methods for solving systems of nonlinear equations. Introduction to optimization. Algorithms for the considered numerical methods are derived and implemented in computer programmes. Complexity of computation is investigated. Error estimates and convergence results are proved.

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  • Module content:

    Conservation laws and modelling. Fourier analysis. Heat equation, wave equation and Laplace's equation. Solution methods including Fourier series. Energy and other qualitative methods.

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  • Module content:

    Kinematics of a continuum: Configurations, spatial and material description of motion. Conservation laws. Analysis of stress, strain and rate of deformation. Linear constitutive equations. Applications: Vibration of beams, equilibrium problems in elasticity and special cases of fluid motion.

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  • Module content:

    Axiomatic development of neutral, Euclidean and hyperbolic geometry. Using models of geometries to show that the parallel postulate is independent of the other postulates of Euclid.

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The information published here is subject to change and may be amended after the publication of this information. The General Regulations (G Regulations) apply to all faculties of the University of Pretoria. It is expected of each student to familiarise himself or herself well with these regulations as well as with the information contained in the General Rules section. Ignorance concerning these regulations and rules will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression.

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