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University of York

Frontier Physics, Future Technologies

University of York via FutureLearn


Explore the mysteries of the universe through cutting-edge physics

Physics is the most fundamental of the sciences. By studying the properties of energy and matter, physicists aim to explain the many mysteries of the universe.

In this course, you’ll explore areas of current physics research and how they can shed light on the fundamental nature of the universe. You’ll also look at some real-world physics applications to build your skills.

Discover how physics explains and shapes the world around us

You’ll start this course by investigating the nature of plasmas and exploring their many applications in areas such as astrophysics, wound healing, fusion energy, and propulsion for spacecraft.

Then, you’ll learn about the process of designing advanced materials, for use in solar cells, lasers, and pharmaceuticals, giving you a peek into the ways that physics is transforming different industries.

We’ll conclude with a look at the building blocks of our universe, the particles that make up everything. From dark matter to quantum communications, we will explore how the smallest constituents of nature affect our everyday lives.

Explore the role of fundamental physics in solving major societal problems

Modern physics research can help develop solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing issues. You’ll look at the different solutions that physicists are discovering. From fusion as an energy source to medical diagnostics, you’ll discover the various future technologies being worked on now.

York is home to internationally recognised research groups in condensed matter physics, plasma physics, nuclear physics, and the physics of life.

You’ll be taught by world-renowned physicists as they guide you through their cutting-edge research and show you how physics can be used to shape the world around us.

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in current physics research and how it can be applied to technologies of the future.

It will be particularly useful to Year 12 and 13 students looking to expand their knowledge of physics.


  • Plasma Physics and Fusion
    • Welcome!
    • What is a plasma?
    • Fusion
    • Plasma and lasers!
    • Low temperature plasmas
    • Closing thoughts
  • Exploring the Nanoscale
    • Exploring the nanoscale
    • Seeing the nanoscale
    • Light and the nanoscale
    • Designing advanced materials
    • Closing thoughts
  • Particles and the Quantum World
    • Particles and the quantum world
    • The quantum world
    • Particle physics and the Standard Model
    • Quantum and particle physics in medicine
    • New discoveries in particle physics
    • Closing thoughts
    • Final reflections

Taught by

Katherine Leech


4.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 85 ratings

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