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OUASSA Physics and Geophysics projects

What are Physics and Geophysics?

Physics tries to answer the bottom-line questions; the ‘what?’, ‘why?’ and ‘when?’

For instance, why is the sky blue whereas sunsets are red? What happens when a star explodes? What is radiation? What causes an aurora? Physics also involves the application of this knowledge to other fields, such as communications, engineering and medical science.

Often students take a degree in Physics because they have a particular career in mind, but for many their first priority is simply to understand.

Geophysics is the Physics of the Earth and the science of using quantitative physical methods to understand Earth’s processes and structures.

Who should consider this project?

Students who are undertaking Level 3 Physics. Students who are interested in the applications of Physics beyond NCEA. Students who are interested in studying Geology or Earth Science.

Summer camp: January (Physics)

In the Physics group you will be investigating oscillations and waves. Oscillations and waves pervade physics from quantum mechanics to applied physics and engineering.

This project introduces the theoretical background, some problem solving techniques, and lab experiments dealing with oscillations and waves.

Winter camp: July (Geophysics)

This applied project will look at liquefaction potential in low-lying lands in southern Dunedin and in areas adjacent to Otago Harbour.

Liquefaction is a process that has caused much property and infrastructure damage in the recent earthquakes in Canterbury. The flat-lying parts of Dunedin near sea level, like many coastal areas around New Zealand, are at high risk of liquefaction during an earthquake because of the unconsolidated geological substrates found there and the shallow nature of the water table.

We will use a range of techniques to assess how liquefaction might affect these parts of Dunedin during an earthquake. About half the time will be employed in field work and half in the laboratory to assess the data collected.

More information about Physics and Geophysics at Otago

Download the Physics (PDF, 150 KB) infosheet for more information about:

  • Suggested background
  • Careers in Physics
  • Degree programme
  • Teaching style
  • Postgraduate study

For further information visit the Physics and Geology Departmental websites.