PHYS2020 – Thermodynamics & Condensed Matter Physics

Lecturer Dr Joel Corney
Course Link UQ Site
Faculty Science
Prerequisites (MATH1051) + (PHYS1001 or ENGG1050 or ENGG1500)
Contact Hours 2 Lecture hours, 1 Tutorial hour, 3 Practical or Laboratory hours
Semester(s) Taught Semester 1
Course Units 2
Submit reviewView reviews (1)


Total average


Learning Materials ( 90 )
Learning Activities ( 85 )
Blackboard Management ( 90 )
Course Content ( 100 )
Course Structure ( 90 )
Contact Availability ( 80 )
Course Difficulty ( No data )

Reviews (1)

PHYS2020 – Thermodynamics & Condensed Matter Physics 89.2

Are you a physics major or engineer? Do you enjoy useless trivia or irritating people at parties? Well, do we have a bargain for you! For only about a thousand bucks, paid off through HECS, you can take PHYS2020 and casually (but pointedly) inform others that:

"Microwaves don't heat food."
"Water can boil and freeze at the same time."
"Drinking bird toys are engines."
"You can heat things up without raising their temperature."
"Fundamental laws of thermodynamics make rubber bands contract."

If this doesn't immediately impress them, you'll be equipped with the math to back it up, scrawling Maxwell relations across a greasy napkin and insisting they stay right there while you try to remember the rest of the derivation! Ladies will swoon* at your vague recollections of Carnot cycles and men's eyes will mist over in envy (and definitely not confusion) as you struggle to explain entropy in everyday language.

We've all heard that confidence is king, or that girls dig six pack abs, or that the best way to make friends is to share common interests. But what are you to do when there are others more confident, more ripped, and more ordinary than you are? There's only one solution - regale them with tales of the enjoyable assignments and tutorials you experienced in PHYS2020, or impress them with your nerve and daring operating a heat engine with an ice bath and a thermal efficiency apparatus!

Your boss will promote you instantly upon hearing your muddled elaboration on why lakes freeze at the top first. Your ex-wife will come crawling back to you when she hears you're telling your new, 10/10 Russian girlfriend exactly why it takes an infinite number of steps to reach absolute zero. Your dead dog will leap out of his grave in joy when he smells ethanol being poured onto a felt tipped heat engine.**

PHYS2020 comes with two reasonably interesting laboratory experiments, a few lectures and a tutorial per week (lecturer quality may vary), a number of challenging, yet interesting and tangible assignments, and two definitely passable exams... all for the low, low price of a semester's work and a higher HECS debt! PHYS2020 will make you the envy of your imaginary friends and is 100% guaranteed to get you laid.***

Stocks are limited, so purchase now!

* Let's face it, as a physicist or engineer, you're likely a heterosexual male.
** Reincarnation not typical. Dead dog not included.
*** Not guaranteed. If your mathematical derivation takes longer than four hours, consult a doctor.

Semester taken

Semester 1 - 2014

Your program/major

BE / BSc

Is lecture attendance necessary?


Is the textbook necessary?

Yes, and it\'s also a great textbook (Schroeder)

  • Hands down the most interesting course I've taken at UQ. Probably with hands up, as well, but that sounds like a robbery.
  • Engaging lab work with plenty of scope to analyse aspects of your choice
  • Tangible content you can explain to others, varying the level of math you include depending on whether you want to communicate properly or just impress others
  • One lecturer is definitely better than the other. Which one? You'll find out!
  • If you take it concurrently with PHYS2055, you'd better love writing lab reports
  • Finding the 'path' to a solution occasionally involves intuitive leaps or approximations or assumptions that are tough to spot. Should place more emphasis on these in lectures
Posted on July 15, 2014 4:30 pm

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