Lecture Notes

Science, Society and the Universe     (BSc (Hons) Phys WIT: DSCY 10020 UCD)


This module presents a brief history of modern science with an emphasis on our changing view of the universe, from the astronomy of the ancient Greeks to Galileo’s battle with the Church, from Newton’s universal law of gravity to Einstein’s relativity and the ‘big bang’ model of the cosmos.

 Slides (ppt)

Slides (pdf)

Book: Introduction to the Universe (©CO’R)

Chap 1 classical cosmology; Chap 2 the runaway galaxies; Chap 3 relativity and the expanding universe; Chap 4 the big bang; chaps 5-8

Assess-1: the cosmology of Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo

Assess-2: the expanding universe and the big bang model


Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air

Renewable Energy Module (YR 2, BSc Phys WIT)




Engineering Science (YR 1, WIT)




Basic Chemistry


Science, Universe and Society (YR 1)


Chapter headings

Lecture notes

Supplementary materials

Kepler, Galileo and the birth of modern astronomy (Gingerich)


Models of the universe

The big bang – is it true? (ppt)

In the beginning (Chown)

Course assignments


Science, Universe and Society (Yr 2)


Chapter headings

Lecture notes (Part I, II)

Introduction-to-particle-physics 2016

Supplementary materials

Part I: The atom

Brownian motion – wiki

Einstein and Brownian motion (I) Spin Science magazine (Issue 13, 2005)

Einstein and Brownian motion (II)  Spin Science magazine (Issue 13, 2005)

Einstein’s 1905 Brownian motion paper

Repeating Perrin’s experiment

Repeating Perrin’s experiment (advanced)

Perrin’s Nobel Speech

Perrin’s discovery- history and philosophy of science

Atoms (Jean Perrrin) chapter 4

Part II : Particles and the nucleus

JJ Thomson, the electron and the atom (wiki)

JJ Thomson and the e/m experiment

Millikan oil drop experiment

Rutherford, radioactivity and the atomic nucleus

Wehr-Richards Chap 4

The Rutherford atom (1911) 

The Bohr atom (1913) 

Ernest Rutherford – wiki

The Bohr Atom (Physics World p 34)

Discovery of the neutron (summary)

Cockroft-Walton-paper (RS)

The Cockroft-Walton experiment (Nature)

The Hahn-Strassman paper (1939)

The Meitner-Frisch paper (1939)

A brief history of fission and fusion

Nuclear fusion – wiki

Fission and fusion (ppt presentation)

Fusion power (powerpoint presentation)

Part III  The particle zoo and the Standard Model

Muons and pions – Cecil Powell

Discovery of the pion

Strange particles

Classification of particles (Wehr, Richards and Adair)

Neutral currents and the Z boson (hyperphysics)

The discovery of neutral currents (pdf)

Classic papers

W boson mass (Physics World 2003)

The discovery of the W and Z bosons (Rubbia) (Physics World 2003)

Higgs paper (ATLAS) ArXiv preprint

Higgs paper (CMS) ArXiv preprint

The god particle at last  COR presentation (ppt)

The quantum century (essay)

Part IV Climate science

Lecture notes

Chap 1 climate vs weather chap 2 climate change chap 3 Paleoclimate

chap 4 climate models chap 5 the carbon cycle Chap 6 Forcing and feedback

Chap 7 The smoking gun Chapter 8

Supplementary materials

See Climate Science links on front page of website

Modern climate change (pdf) COR presentation

Course assignments


Atomic, quantum and solid state physics (YR 3)


Lecture notes

Course assignments


Special relativity and nuclear physics (YR 3)

SR Syllabus

SR Chapter Zero: Simple Overview

SR Chapters 1-5 

Course assignments


Teaching links(physics)








Lecture notes (1st science: semester 1)




Last year’s exam:Introductory Physics (Autumn)

Lecture notes (1st science: semester 2)

lectures 1 and 2 : Heat and temperature

Lecture 3: Change of state

Lecture 4: Heat transfer

Lecture 5: Heat transmission

Lecture 6: Gas laws

Lecture 7: Electrostatics

Lecture 8: Electric potential

Lecture 9: Electric Current

Lecture 10: Magnetism

Lecture 11: Reflection

Lecture 12: Refraction

Lecture 13: Total Internal Reflection

Lecture 14: Lenses

Technical publications

Recent publications

9 responses to “Lecture Notes

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  8. Andrew

    Hi Cormac,
    I would love to watch your lectures. Any chance you might be able to make video lectures available, MIT Opencourseware style?
    Best regards,

  9. At this time I am going to do my breakfast, afterward
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