Mechanics and Relativity

The details
Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
22 May 2024


Requisites for this module


MA222, MA225

Key module for

BSC G100 Mathematics,
BSC G102 Mathematics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC G103 Mathematics (Including Placement Year),
BSC G104 Mathematics (Including Foundation Year),
MMATG198 Mathematics,
BSC G1F3 Mathematics with Physics,
BSC G1F4 Mathematics with Physics (Including Placement Year),
BSC G1F5 Mathematics with Physics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC GCF3 Mathematics with Physics (Including Year Abroad),
MSCIG199 Mathematics and Data Science

Module description

This module introduces Newtonian Dynamics and develops the application of simple mathematical ideas to study it.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To enhance the skills and knowledge of specialist mathematicians in the second year, in the context of fundamental physical ideas, which have been central both to the development of mathematics over the last three hundred years, to the analysis of aspects of modern technology, and to the understanding of the Universe.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Develop an understanding of the dynamical insights of Galileo.

  2. Develop a good working knowledge of Newton’s law of motion.

  3. Understand the equation of simple harmonic motion and write down its solution.

  4. Analyse the motion of a simple pendulum for small and large displacements.

  5. Understand the conservation of energy and momentum.

  6. Understand central forces.

  7. Understand special relativity.

Module information

Indicative Syllabus

  • Newton's Laws of Motion.

  • Newton's Law of Gravitation. Hooke's law. Friction.

  • Newton's Second Law as a differential equation.

  • Constant acceleration problems in one, two and three dimensions. Projectiles.

  • Simple harmonic motion. Damped simple harmonic motion.

  • Definitions of work and energy and their relation to Newton's Laws of Motion.

  • Conservative forces; potential energy.

  • Conservation of Energy.

  • Circular orbits for a single particle in a central field of force.

  • Centrifugal force.

An important part of this module is for students to learn how to use Matlab to assist their investigations, to develop skills in writing laboratory reports and in working with a partner.

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching in the School will be delivered using a range of face to face lectures, classes, and lab sessions as appropriate for each module. Modules may also include online only sessions where it is advantageous, for example for pedagogical reasons, to do so.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Coursework 1     
Coursework   Coursework 2     
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 90 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 90 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
20% 80%


Coursework Exam
20% 80%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Tao Gao, email:
Dr Tao Gao & Dr Amanatidis



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 33 hours, 33 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.