Courses & Units

Waves and Kinetic Theory KYA211



The unit KYA211 Waves and Kinetic Theory is the core physics major course for second year, first semester. It is also suitable for students who wish to study more physics beyond first year but who do not intend to major in the subject. It is particularly useful for students interested in geophysics and atmospheric physics. It provides in-depth understanding of many forms of wave motion and an introduction to concepts in the kinetic theory of gasses. The mathematics of wave motion is taught, including an introduction to the theory and application of Fourier Series.
Waves topics include oscillatory systems, the wave equation for vibrating wires, acoustic waves, electrical waves in coaxial cables or transmission lines, and electromagnetic waves, and Fourier techniques for wave analysis. Kinetic theory topics include molecular models of gases, Maxwell-Boltzmann and related distributions, real gases and gas laws, and applications to transport phenomena (thermal conductivity, diffusion, viscosity), gas flow, and vacuum techniques.
Laboratory sessions consider experimental data manipulation and error analysis as well as practice with equipment to analyze waves, such as cathode ray oscilloscopes.


Unit name Waves and Kinetic Theory
Unit code KYA211
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Natural Sciences
Discipline Physics
Coordinator Professor Anya Reading
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Intermediate


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 1 On-Campus Off-Campus International International Domestic Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 1 21/2/2022 22/3/2022 11/4/2022 29/5/2022

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2022 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2022 will be available from the 1st October 2021. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • familiarity with basic terminology and processes in waves and kinetic theory
  • understand how oscillations happen, and how they can propagate as waves, including mechanical, electrical, fluid, and radiation applications
  • understand how gases behave at the molecular level
Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2 Domestic Full Fee
010301 $1,002.00 $1,002.00 not applicable $2,701.00

1 Please refer to more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Please refer to more information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses.
3 Please refer to more information on eligibility for HECS-HELP.
4 Please refer to more information on eligibility for FEE-HELP.

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Admission into a Masters course OR (KYA101 AND KYA102 AND ((KMA152 AND KMA154) OR (JEE103 AND JEE104))


AssessmentTest or quiz (14%)|Test or quiz (14%)|Examination - invigilated (centrally) (44%)|Assignment (14%)|Report (14%)
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Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.

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