At Leicester, if you’re doing physics, each year you will do Speciality Electives (formerly called option modules), these are non-core modules that cover material in specific parts of physics that you might be more interested in. Each year you will pick 4 (2 per semester), 2 of which have to match the flavour of your course. In first and second year there are no exams in these modules; they are purely course work modules. However, in third year these modules have exams (two in January and two in summer) as well as coursework.
In a previous blog I talked about the first special elective I took this year, Life in the Universe, and this blog I will be talking about the second special elective I have taken: Active Galaxies.
It is thought that most (if not all) galaxies have a super massive black hole at their centres (and no, super massive black hole is not just a phrase I made up it is a genuine scientific classification of black holes). Some galaxies are extremely luminous from this central region: active galaxies. In this module I learned the theories that try and explain what causes the central region to be so dominant in its luminosity, as well as a myriad of other things such as the Eddington limit, superluminal speed and what fuels a super massive black hole.
I just finished the lectures for this module and overall I enjoyed it. I am quite fascinated by black holes and hope I can do my third year project on them (more about this next year). In the mean time I’d better start revising because I have the Active galaxy exam in January…
“Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.”