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School of Science and Technology

COURSEWORK ASSESSMENT SPECIFICATION

MODULE CODE
:
MODULE TITLE
:
MODULE LEADER :

PHYS22123
Fundamental Forces
Dr Christopher Castleton

TITLE
:
Problem based assignment.
LEARNING OUTCOMES
ASSESSED
:
K2, K3, K6, S1, S2, S3, S4
CONTRIBUTION TO
ELEMENT
:
64%
DATE SET
DATE OF
SUBMISSION
SUBMISSION
METHOD
FEEDBACK DATE
FEEDBACK
METHOD

Monday 20th October 2014 (NTU Week 13)

Monday 10th November 2014 (NTU Week 16)

:
:

Student Info Desk


Monday 1st December 2014 (NTU Week 19)

Individual paper-based + group feedback during lecture.

NOTE

The usual University penalties apply for late submission


and plagiarism. Please consult your student handbook
for further details.

NTU Copyright 2014

PHYS22123: Fundamental Forces

I. Assessment Requirements
Each student should, individually, work through the problems set out below, providing
their answers and working in written form. This may be done by hand or typed, and
should be handed in, in paper form, at the coursework receipting desk.

II. Assessment Scenario/Problem


Note on the aims of this assignment
This assignment is intended to allow you to develop your mathematical and
physical problem solving skills, as applied to the area of classical gravity and
planetary motion, and to gain practice in scientific reasoning and deduction in a
context in which background knowledge and experience will not enable you to
guess the answers from the start. It should also encourage you to look again at the
processes by which our understanding of classical gravity and planetary motion
were obtained, and to ponder more deeply about the relationship between the
fundamental forces operating within our universe and the behaviour and structure
of objects within it.

Lost%In%(Vector)%Space%%
You$ have$ been$ travelling$ around$ the$ galaxy$ with$ a$ human$ shaped$ alien$ with$ flame8red$
feathers$instead$of$hair,$known$simply$as$The$Professor.$The$Professor$travels$in$what$looks$
from$ the$ outside$ like$ a$ wardrobe,$ with$ the$ symbol$ $ engraved$ on$ the$ door.$ However,$
anyone$stepping$in$through$that$door$finds$the$interior$of$a$very$large$space$ship,$called$the$
GRAD,$short$for$General$Relativity$Avoidance$Device.$$
The$last$few$days$have$been$spent$trying$to$find$the$source$of$a$storm$of$new$small$asteroids$
mostly$ around$ 108100$ m$ in$ diameter,$ which$ keep$ materialising$ just$ outside$ the$ Kuiper$ belt.$
They$ appear$ from$ no8where,$ and$ promptly$ implode,$ spreading$ debris$ far$ and$ wide.$ Having$
failed$to$find$the$source,$The$Professor$has$set$course$for$Nottingham$to$refuel.$There$is$a$
planetary$ co8rotational$ space8time$ rift$ running$ through$ Nottingham,$ he$ explains.$ We$ just$
need$ to$ land$ somewhere$ for$ a$ few$ minutes.$ I$ know$ an$ empty$ warehouse$ we$ can$ use$ in$
Lenton.$So$he$adjusts$the$switches$and$dials$a$little,$and$with$the$now$familiar$wurring$and$
clicking$you$land$with$a$slight$bump.$$
A$glance$at$the$screen$showing$the$outside$reveals$a$surprise,$however.$Instead$of$the$inside$
of$ a$ warehouse,$ you$ see$ the$ inside$ of$ another$ spaceship.$ Krondian$ Planetary$ construction$
vessel,$ Andromeda$ Class,$ Mark$ IV$ says$ The$ Professor.$ But$ what$ is$ it$ doing$ here?$ At$ that$
moment,$a$deep$roar$comes$from$outside$the$GRAD.$Then$the$floor$shakes,$and$everything$
around$you$shimmers$for$a$few$seconds,$colours$shifting$and$perspective$twisting.$For$a$short$
while,$every$molecule$in$your$body$feels$like$it$is$trying$to$explode.$When$things$settle$again,$
The$ Professor$ studies$ the$ display$ screens$ for$ a$ few$ seconds$ before$ saying$ Not$ good.$ NOT$
GOOD$ and$ takes$ a$ step$ towards$ the$ door,$ only$ to$ hit$ his$ head$ on$ the$ ceiling.$ Feeling$
strangely$light,$like$astronauts$on$an$asteroid,$you$follow$as$best$you$can,$mostly$floating,$out$
into$ the$ control$ room$ of$ the$ large$ spaceship,$ where$ a$ 4$ meter$ long$ bright$ blue$ slug$ has$
tethered$ itself$ by$ the$ tail$ to$ a$ control$ console$ middle$ of$ the$ floor,$ six$ of$ its$ eight$ eye8stalks$
pointed$intently$at$a$computer$screen,$the$other$two$pointed$at$you$and$The$Professor.$$
Welcome$aboard,$says$the$slug.$I$think..$Something$is$badly$wrong.$My$ships$computer$
just$set$up$an$emergency$force$field$to$prevent$the$ship$$and$us,$from$exploding.$The$artificial$
Lost In (Vector) Space

PHYS22123: Fundamental Forces

gravity$ plates$ have$ gone$ haywire,$ and$ I$ can$ barely$ keep$ things$ under$ control.$ Allow$ me$
says$The$Professor,$his$hands$moving$rapidly$over$the$controls.$The$out$comes$his$Ultrasonic$
spanner$for$some$finishing$touches.$There,$that$should$hold$things$for$a$while,$until$we$have$
figured$out$what$it$going$on.$Im$The$Professor,$by$the$way.$Professor$who?$(The$slug$asks$
the$normal$question.)$Just$The$Professor.$Well,$thank$you$for$your$help.$Im$Flartyglublut,$
senior$construction$engineer$for$Trans8Krondian$Construction$Ltd.$Noticing$your$puzzled$look$
it$adds$I$custom8build$planets$for$rich$clients.$I$just$built$one.$I$think.$The$clients$are$living$
on$Earth$at$the$moment,$and$I$found$a$rift$to$provide$the$material$for$the$planet.$Of$course,$I$
placed$the$planet$well$outside$you$solar$system.$Dont$want$the$humans$to$spot$it.$$
So$who$are$the$clients?$you$ask.$The$pigeons,$of$course.$Primary$species$on$this$planet,$but$
they$got$fed$up$with$the$humans$thinking$they$were$in$charge$and$then$messing$everything$
up.$So$they$wanted$an$exact$duplicate$of$Earth$complete$with$a$duplicate$of$the$moon,$but$
minus$the$primates.$So$thats$why$Im$here,$except$something$seems$to$have$gone$wrong.$
The$Professor$cuts$in:$I$was$refuelling$from$the$rift$at$the$same$moment.$It$seems$to$have$got$
overloaded$and$become$unstable.$Flartyglublut$turns$a$paler$shade$of$blue,$and$looks$at$her$
display$screens.$Oops.$That$may$explain$why$explain$things$a$bit.$$
Flartyglublut$turns$back$to$the$controls$for$a$moment,$before$saying$I$think$we$actually$got$
sucked$through$the$rift,$and$I$cant$identify$where$we$are$now.$None$of$the$nearby$stars$are$in$
the$charts.$Actually,$not$even$the$galaxies.$And$they$all$look$.$wrong.$Far$too$big,$and$much$
too$close$together.$Theres$a$whole$supercluster$in$the$space$normally$occupied$by$just$our$
own$ galaxy.$ The$ Professor$ has$ also$ been$ examining$ the$ screens.$ We$ seem$ to$ be$ in$ orbit$
around$ that$ bright$ blue$ star$ over$ there,$ close$ to$ the$ orbit$ of$ this$ blue/green$ and$ white$
planet.$You$gaze$at$the$screen$yourself:$Thats$the$Earth!$Not$quite,$thats$my$new$Earth8
II,$complete$with$Moon8II8$corrects$Flartyglublut.$and$according$to$these$reading,$Moon8II$is$
in$a$beautiful$low$eccentricity$orbit.$But$neither$has$come$out$right.$Correct$mass,$yes,$and$the$
continents$and$craters$are$in$the$right$places,$but$the$radii$are$too$small.$Theres$something$
odd$ about$ the$ star$ too$ interjects$ The$ Professor$ Its$ producing$ too$ much$ energy$ for$ its$
apparent$ size.$ And$ look$ at$ the$ orbits$ of$ these$ other$ planets$ $ they$ are$ all$ crazy,$ even$ the$
circular$ones.$Look$how$fast$everything$is$moving!$$
Finally,$ you$ start$ to$ piece$ things$ together.$ So$ gravity$ itself$ has$ changed!$ you$ exclaim.$
Exactly!$agrees$the$Professor$Which$means$we$arent$even$in$our$own$universe!$We$need$
to$find$our$way$back$as$soon$as$possible.$Our$bodies$wont$cope$with$the$additional$pressures$
and$strains$for$long.$We$need$to$find$a$rift$with$the$opposite$chirality$in$order$to$get$home.$
Suddenly$ a$ siren$ goes$ off.$ Asteroid$ cloud$ approaching$ comes$ a$ metallic$ sounding$ voice$
Impact$in$3,$2,$1$seconds.$At$once$there$is$a$deafening$drumming$noise$from$the$hull,$the$
ship$ shakes,$ and$ bits$ of$ equipment,$ girders,$ and$ other$ things$ you$ cant$ identify$ start$ flying$
about.$The$bombardment$doesnt$last$long,$but$when$it$ends$you$have$a$shock.$The$Professor$
is$lying$lifeless$on$the$ground.$You$check$for$a$pulse,$but$there$is$none.$He,$hes$dead!$you$
say.$Bad$timing$says$Flartyglublut$but$his$species$are$part$phoenix.$Look,$the$feathers$are$
starting$to$burn.$They$will$gradually$burn$down,$like$small$fuses.$Once$they$have$burnt$out,$his$
whole$body$will$burst$into$flames,$and$he$will$come$back$to$life$with$a$whole$new$body.$Takes$
quite$ a$ while$ though,$ they$ say,$ and$ Ive$ just$ been$ checking:$ that$ asteroid$ cloud$ wasnt$ the$
only$one.$This$star$system$is$filled$with$them,$so$we$really$cant$wait$around.$We$need$to$fly$
off$and$find$a$new$rift,$but$first$we$need$to$figure$out$how$gravity$works$in$this$new$universe,$
so$I$can$re8calibrate$the$drive$system$of$my$ship.$Its$probably$safe$to$assume$that$the$gravity$
force$ law$ in$ this$ universe$ will$ still$ be$ proportional$ to$ the$ product$ of$ the$ masses,$ but$ the$
variation$ with$ distance$ is$ clearly$ different.$ Probably$ a$ different$ value$ for$ the$ universal$
gravitational$constant$too.$$
Lost In (Vector) Space

PHYS22123: Fundamental Forces

She$ half$ slithers,$ half$ floats$ over$ to$ another$ console.$ Tentacles$ emerge$ from$ her$ front$ and$
hover$over$the$controls$for$a$couple$of$minutes,$before$she$returns$and$hands$you$a$print$out.$
Here$ is$ some$ data$ on$ local$ planets$ $ just$ some$ of$ the$ ones$ with$ near8circular$ orbits.$ The$
others$I$cant$figure$out$yet.$There$may$be$a$bit$of$scatter$in$the$data,$but$its$the$best$I$can$do$
for$ now.$ Start$ by$ re8deriving$ Keplers$ third$ law,$ then$ derive$ the$ distance$ dependence$ of$
gravity$in$this$universe.$Ive$added$in$the$data$for$Moon8II,$but$of$course,$that$wont$help$you$
with$Kepler.$Could$be$useful$later$on$though.$While$you$do$that,$I$will$do$some$deeper$scans,$
and$try$to$find$ourselves$a$suitable$rift.$And$off$she$slithers.$$
Question%1%(9%marks)%
Note:$ Here,$ and$ in$ all$ questions,$ assume$ all$ physics$ is$ the$ same$ as$ in$ our$ universe$
except$for$the$specific$features$noted.$
The$new$form$for$Keplers$3rd$law$can$still$be$written$in$the$form$ T = kr $where$T$is$
the$orbital$period,$r$is$the$orbital$radius,$k$is$a$constant$of$proportionality,$and$x$is$a$
rational$number.$Using$a$suitable$graph,$find$the$value$of$x,$which$should$be$a$rational$
number.$Please$show$your$working.$(Note,$in$our$universe,$x$=$6/4.)$
x

$
Planet%
1$
2$
Earth8II$
4$
5$
Moon8II*$

%
%
%
%
%
$

Orbital%Radius,"r%(m)%
7.63108$$
7.13109$$
1.071010$
5.491010$
2.131011$$
3.01108$$

Period,%T%(s)%
4.79102$
8.22103$
1.31104$
1.14105$
5.49105$
1.31105$

*$Values$for$Moon8II$are$given$for$orbit$around$Earth8II,$not$around$the$star.$
%
Question%2%(8%marks)%
According$ to$ Flartyglublut$ ,$ Newtons$ law$ of$ Universal$ Gravitation$ should$ still$ look$
like F = Gm1nm2 $in$this$universe,$except$that$ n 2 .$Use$your$answer$to$question$1$to$
r

derive$the$new$value$for$n.$$
Question%3%(9%marks)%
What$forms$do$you$expect$for$Keplers$second$law$in$this$universe?$Would$the$first$law$
be$ the$ same$ as$ in$ our$ universe,$ or$ different?$ Would$ Lagrange$ points$ and$ orbital$
precession$ work$ the$ same$ here,$ differently$ or$ not$ exist$ at$ all?$ Briefly$ explain$ your$
answers.$
Once$you$have$finished,$Flartyglublut$returns$Ive$found$another$rift$in$orbit$around$this$star.$
Its$ a$ long$ way$ out$ though:$ 4.311011$ m$ from$ the$ star.$ There$ is$ a$ large$ stream$ of$ small$
asteroids$ flying$ into$ it$ and$ disappearing,$ so$ we$ will$ have$ to$ steer$ carefully.$ We$ only$ have$
about$ 1.491019$ J$ left$ in$ the$ energy$ tanks$ $ I$ was$ due$ to$ refuel$ once$ I$ had$ finished$ the$
construction$job.$And$with$The$Professor$dead$for$now$we$cant$use$his$GRAD$$even$if$its$
vortex$core$functions$in$this$universe$at$all.$So$we$need$to$figure$out$if$my$ship$has$enough$
energy$to$get$us$that$far$out.$She$looks$at$your$data,$then$points$out$that$We$need$to$know$
Lost In (Vector) Space

PHYS22123: Fundamental Forces

the$ value$ of$ the$ Universal$ Gravitational$ constant,$ G,$ in$ this$ universe.$ I$ make$ it.$ she$
pauses,$tentacles$moving$over$the$console$again$$5.97910813$$in$SI$units.$$
Question%4%(4%marks)%
Use$the$additional$data$given$above$to$check$(derive$for$yourself!)$Flartyglubluts$value$
for$ the$ Universal$ Gravitational$ constant,$ G.$ (Clue:$ Assume$ that$ the$ constant$ k$ in$$

T = kr x $8$and$hence$in$ T 2 = k 2 r 2 x $takes$exactly$the$same$form$as$in$our$universe,$

apart$from$the$numerical$values$of$G$itself.$Use$the$data$given$above.$You$may$need$to$
look$up$some$other$data$elsewhere.)$

Flartyglublut$heads$off$to$re8calibrate$the$ships$drive$system,$leaving$you$to$calculate$whether$
or$not$the$energy$reserves$will$get$you$out$as$far$as$the$rift.$$
Question%5%(9%marks)%
Using$the$answers$to$the$previous$questions$(or$otherwise)$find$an$accurate$value$for$
the$ mass$ of$ the$ star,$ with$ an$ error$ bar$ estimate.$ Show$ your$ working.$ Is$ there$ an$
alternative$way$to$calculate$the$mass$of$the$star$from$the$graph$in$question$1?$Which$
method$is$more$accurate,$and$why?$
Question%6%(9%marks)%
Derive$the$formula$for$gravitational$potential$energy$E$in$terms$of$the$constant$G,$for$
two$masses$m1$and$m2$distance$r$apart$in$this$universe.$(Take$the$potential$energy$to$
be$zero$at$infinity.)$Use$this$formula,$and$other$data$from$above$to$calculate$the$total$
energy$needed,$presuming$that$any$energy$losses$are$minimal.$The$mass$of$the$ship$is$
4.25105$ kg$ and$ your$ current$ orbit$ is$ at$ 1.031010$ m$ from$ the$ star.$ If$ Flartyglublut$
empties$the$energy$reserves$completely,$will$there$be$energy$available$to$make$it?$If$
there$will$be,$with$what$velocity$will$you$reach$the$rift?$If$not,$can$you$suggest$ways$of$
making$up$the$difference?$
Finally,$everything$is$ready.$Suddenly,$there$is$a$roaring,$whooshing$sound$behind$you,$and$a$
familiar$voice$says$Ah,$thats$better.$How$did$you$get$on$while$I$was$gone?$It$only$takes$The$
Professor$a$few$moments$to$catch$up.$Youre$both$brilliant!$he$says$Couldnt$have$done$it$
better$myself.$So$what$are$we$waiting$for?$Alons8y!$And$while$were$going,$lets$see$what$we$
can$figure$out$about$this$new$universe..$
Question%7%(8%marks)%
Showing$your$working,$calculate$the$ratio$of$the$strength$of$the$force$of$gravity$in$the$
two$ universes$ at$ the$ distances$ 1$ m$ and$ 1,000,000$ km.$ At$ what$ distance$ is$ the$ ratio$
unity?$Hence$explain$as$many$of$the$early$observations$described$above$as$possible.$
Are$ there$ any$ observations$ that$ you$ cannot$ explain$ from$ this,$ which$ might$ indicate$
other$differences$in$physical$laws$between$the$two$universes?$
Question%8%(9%marks)%
In$ our$ (real)$ universe$ one$ can$ argue$ for$ the$ inverse$ square$ law$ geometrically,$ by$
considering$field$lines$passing$through$spherical$shells$around,$say,$a$planet.$Can$you$
construct$this$argument?$What$would$it$imply$about$this$new$universe?$

Lost In (Vector) Space

PHYS22123: Fundamental Forces

III. Assessment Criteria

!
See overleaf for GBA grid.

IV. Feedback Opportunities


Summative (After youve submitted the coursework)
You will receive specific (individual) feedback regarding your coursework submission
together with your awarded grade when it is returned to you. There will also be a feedback
session during one of the lectures, in which the answers will be presented and discussed.
Clearly, feedback provided with your coursework is only for developmental purposes so
that you can improve for the next assessment or subject-related module.

V. Moderation
The Moderation Process
All assessments are subject to a two-stage moderation process. Firstly, any details related
to the assessment (e.g., clarity of information and the assessment criteria) are considered
by an independent person (in this case the module shadow). Secondly, the grades
awarded are considered by the module shadow to check for consistency and fairness
across the cohort for the piece of work submitted.

VI. Aspects for Professional Development Portfolio


Which parts of this assessment are relevant to a professional portfolio will depend greatly
on the chosen profession, and what you want to show to a potential employer. However,
the derivations and numerical questions could be used to demonstrate analytical and
mathematical skills, while the physical reasoning questions demonstrate ability to think
laterally about physical problems, and interpret results in the light of prior knowledge of
physical laws.

Lost In (Vector) Space

III. Assessment Criteria

Lost In (Vector) Space

Mid!1st!

Low!1st!

UPPER+SECOND+
High!2.1!
Mid!2.1!

Low!2.1!

LOWER+SECOND+
THIRD+
rd
rd
rd
High!2.2!
Mid!2.2!
Low!2.2!
High!3 !
Mid!3 !
Low!3 !
Derivation+based+questions+(Q1,+Q2,+Q4,+Q6)+
Complete,!logically!organized!derivations,!
Complete,!well!organized!
Complete!derivation!with!at!most!
Key!steps!in!derivation!present!with!
presented!clearly,!with!all!steps!signposted!and!
derivations,!with!all!steps!clearly!
minor!omissions!or!unnecessary!
at!most!minor!algebraic!errors,!but!
explained,!and!all!assumptions!noted!and!carefully! presented!and!explained.!All!
additional!steps.!Organization!and!
some!links!between!them!missed,!
justified.!Where!applicable,!evidence!of!creativity! assumptions!noted!with!
explanation!may!need!
or!unnecessary!!additional!steps!
and!ingenuity!in!finding!the!most!efficient!route!to! justification.!
improvement.!Key!assumptions!
added.!Some!key!assumptions!may!
the!final!result.!!
noted,!but!other!assumptions!and!
not!have!been!noted.!
justifications!may!be!missing.!
Numerical+calculations+(Q5,+Q6,+Q7)+
Calculations!performed!accurately!and!
Calculations!performed!and!
At!most!minor!arithmetic!errors,!
Correct!approach/method!used,!
efficiently,!with!results!presented!clearly!and!
presented!accurately.!
and/or!final!results!may!be!poorly!
but!with!some!algebraic!errors!
completely.!
or!incompletely!presented.!
and/or!final!results!may!be!poorly!
or!incompletely!presented.!
Graph(s)+(Q1)+
Careful,!neat!graphs,!fully!labelled!and!titled,!with! Graphs!present,!fully!labelled,!with!
Graphs!with!at!most!minor!errors!in! Graphs!present,!but!with!incorrect!
appropriate!axis!ranges!and!correct!extraction!of! appropriate!axis!ranges!and!correct! labelling.!Poor!choice!of!axis!ranges! and/or!limited!labelling,!and/or!
gradients!and!intercepts.!
extraction!of!gradients!and!
and/or!problems!with!extraction!of! poor!choice!of!axis!ranges.!Possibly!
intercepts.!
gradients!and!intercepts.!!
errors!in!extraction!on!gradients!
and!intercepts.!
Physical+analysis+&+interpretation+based+questions+(Q3,+Q6,+Q7,+Q8)+
Detailed,!extensive!discussion!and!application!of!
Careful!discussion!and!application!
Most!of!the!physical!implications!of! Key!physical!implications!of!the!
the!physical!implications!of!the!results!of!
of!the!physical!implications!of!the!
the!results!of!calculations!&!
results!!of!calculations!&!
calculations!&!derivations.!Strong!evidence!of!
results!of!calculations!&!
derivations!are!discussed!and!
derivations!are!discussed!and!
thoughtful,!independent,!critical!analysis!leading!
derivations.!Evidence!of!!careful,!
applied!correctly.!Good!
applied!correctly,!with!basic!
to!a!deep!understanding!of!physical!laws!and!
independent!analysis!and!
understanding!of!physical!laws!
understanding!of!key!physical!laws!
their!effects.!!
understanding!of!physical!laws.!
demonstrated.!
demonstrated.!Misunderstandings!
of!some!secondary!features.!

FIRST+
Exceptl!1st! High!1st!

Work!of!
no!merit,!
or!absent.!

Work!of!no!
merit,!or!
absent!

Work!of!no!
merit,!or!
absent!

Incorrect!method!used,!and/or!
significant!algebraic!errors!present.!
Final!result!may!be!absent.!

Graphs!with!incorrect!datapoints,!
poor/incorrect!labelling!and/or!
poor!choice!of!axis!ranges.!Possibly!
errors!in!extraction!on!gradients!
and!intercepts.!
Most!of!the!physical!implications!of!
the!results!misunderstood!or!
incorrectly!applied.!At!most!limited!
demonstration!of!understanding!of!
physical!laws.!

ZERO+
Zero!
Work!of!no!
merit,!or!
absent!

Low!Fail!

Key!steps!omitted,!and/or!given!
with!significant!algebraic!errors.!
Assumptions!may!not!have!been!
noted.!

FAIL+
Margl!Fail!Fail!
MidJFail!

Note:! This! grid! is! intended! to! give! you! an! idea! of! the! type! and! level! of! work! expected! on! different! types! of! questions! in! this! problem! based! assignments! The! key!
focus(foci)!of!the!individual!questions!is!listed,!though!the!outlines!are!not!completely!specific!to!all!questions,!so!that!some!points!may!be!relevant!to!some!questions!but!
not!to!others.!See!section!II!of!assignment!script!(above)!for!details.!

PHYS22123: Fundamental Forces