Physics Optional Syllabus 2020
Physics Syllabus 2020
Check out the latest UPSC mains Physics Syllabus 2020. Physics subject is one of the optional papers in the UPSC IAS Mains Exam. Earlier we’ve provided UPSC Mains Syllabus, Now we are providing UPSC Mains Optional Subject Syllabus of Physics Paper.
There is only “ONE” optional subject to choose from the list of optional subjects which are given below. It comprises of two papers each of 250 marks. So, the optional paper has a total 500 marks. In UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam Physics is one of the Optional Subjects and consists of 2 papers. Each paper is of 250 marks with a total of 500 marks. Find below the UPSC Physics syllabus Optional Subject.
UPSC Mains Physics Paper 1 Syllabus

Mechanics of Particles:
Laws of motion; conservation of energy and momentum, applications to rotating frames, centripetal and Coriolis accelerations; Motion under a central force; Conservation of angular momentum, Kepler’s laws; Fields and potentials; Gravitational field and potential due to spherical bodies, Gauss and Poisson equations, gravitational selfenergy; Twobody problem; Reduced mass; Rutherford scattering; Centre of mass and laboratory reference frames.
Mechanics of Rigid Bodies:
System of particles; Centre of mass, angular momentum, equations of motion; Conservation theorems for energy, momentum and angular momentum; Elastic and inelastic collisions; Rigid body; Degrees of freedom, Euler’s theorem, angular velocity, angular momentum, moments of inertia, theorems of parallel and perpendicular axes, equation of motion for rotation; Molecular rotations (as rigid bodies); Di and triatomic molecules; Precessional motion; top, gyroscope. 
Mechanics of Continuous Media:
Elasticity, Hooke’s law and elastic constants of isotropic solids and their interrelation; Streamline (Laminar) flow, viscosity, Poiseuille’s equation, Bernoulli’s equation, Stokes’ law and applications. 
Special Relativity:
MichelsonMorley experiment and its implications; Lorentz transformationslength contraction, time dilation, addition of relativistic velocities, aberration and Doppler effect, massenergy relation, simple applications to a decay process; Four dimensional momentum vector; Covariance of equations of physics.

Waves and Optics:
Waves:
Simple harmonic motion, damped oscillation, forced oscillation and resonance; Beats; Stationary waves in a string; Pulses and wave packets; Phase and group velocities; Reflection and Refraction from Huygens’ principle.
Geometrical Optics:
Laws of reflection and refraction from Fermat’s principle; Matrix method in paraxial opticsthin lens formula, nodal planes, system of two thin lenses, chromatic and spherical aberrations Interference:
Interference of lightYoung’s experiment, Newton’s rings, interference by thin films, Michelson interferometer; Multiple beam interference and FabryPerot interferometer.
Diffraction:
Fraunhofer diffractionsingle slit, double slit, diffraction grating, resolving power; Diffraction by a circular aperture and the Airy pattern; Fresnel diffraction: halfperiod zones and zone plates, circular aperture. 
Polarization and Modern Optics:
Production and detection of linearly and circularly polarized light; Double refraction, quarter wave plate; Optical activity; Principles of fibre optics, attenuation; Pulse dispersion in step index and parabolic index fibres; Material dispersion, single mode fibres; LasersEinstein A and B coefficients; Ruby and HeNe lasers; Characteristics of laser lightspatial and temporal coherence; Focusing of laser beams; Threelevel scheme for laser operation; Holography and simple applications.
Electricity and Magnetism:
Electrostatics and Magnetostatics:
Laplace and Poisson equations in electrostatics and their applications; Energy of a system of charges, multipole expansion of scalar potential; Method of images and its applications; Potential and field due to a dipole, force and torque on a dipole in an external field; Dielectrics, polarization; Solutions to boundaryvalue problemsconducting and dielectric spheres in a uniform electric field; Magnetic shell, uniformly magnetized sphere; Ferromagnetic materials, hysteresis, energy loss.
Current Electricity:
Kirchhoff’s laws and their applications; BiotSavart law, Ampere’s law, Faraday’s law, Lenz’ law; Selfand mutualinductances; Mean and r m s values in AC circuits; DC and AC circuits with R, L and C components; Series and parallel resonances; Quality factor; Principle of transformer. 
Electromagnetic Waves and Blackbody Radiation:
Displacement current and Maxwell’s equations; Wave equations in vacuum, Poynting theorem; Vector and scalar potentials; Electromagnetic field tensor, covariance of Maxwell’s equations; Wave equations in isotropic dielectrics, reflection and refraction at the boundary of two dielectrics; Fresnel’s relations; Total internal reflection; Normal and anomalous dispersion; Rayleigh scattering; Blackbody radiation and Planck’s radiation law, Stefan Boltzmann law, Wien’s displacement law and RayleighJeans’ law.
Thermal and Statistical Physics:
Thermodynamics:
Laws of thermodynamics, reversible and irreversible processes, entropy; Isothermal, adiabatic, isobaric, isochoric processes and entropy changes; Otto and Diesel engines, Gibbs’ phase rule and chemical potential; van der Waals equation of state of a real gas, critical constants; MaxwellBoltzman distribution of molecular velocities, transport phenomena, equipartition and virial theorems; DulongPetit, Einstein, and Debye’s theories of specific heat of solids; Maxwell relations and applications; Clausius Clapeyron equation; Adiabatic demagnetisation, JouleKelvin effect and liquefaction of gases.
Statistical Physics:
Macro and micro states, statistical distributions, MaxwellBoltzmann, BoseEinstein and FermiDirac distributions, applications to specific heat of gases and blackbody radiation; Concept of negative temperatures.
UPSC Mains Physics Paper 2 Syllabus
Quantum Mechanics:
Waveparticle dualitiy; Schroedinger equation and expectation values; Uncertainty principle; Solutions of the onedimensional Schroedinger equation for a free particle (Gaussian wavepacket), particle in a box, particle in a finite well, linear harmonic oscillator; Reflection and transmission by a step potential and by a rectangular barrier; Particle in a three dimensional box, density of states, free electron theory of metals; Angular momentum; Hydrogen atom; Spin half particles, properties of Pauli spin matrices.
Atomic and Molecular Physics:
SternGerlach experiment, electron spin, fine structure of hydrogen atom; LS coupling, JJ coupling; Spectroscopic notation of atomic states; Zeeman effect; Frank Condon principle and applications; Elementary theory of rotational, vibratonal and electronic spectra of diatomic molecules; Raman effect and molecular structure; Laser Raman spectroscopy; Importance of neutral hydrogen atom, molecular hydrogen and molecular hydrogen ion in astronomy; Fluorescence and Phosphorescence; Elementary theory and applications of NMR and EPR; Elementary ideas about Lamb shift and its significance. 
Nuclear and Particle Physics:
Basic nuclear propertiessize, binding energy, angular momentum, parity, magnetic moment; Semiempirical mass formula and applications, mass parabolas; Ground state of deuteron, magnetic moment and noncentral forces; Meson theory of nuclear forces; Salient features of nuclear forces; Shell model of the nucleus  successes and limitations; Violation of parity in beta decay; Gamma decay and internal conversion; Elementary ideas about Mossbauer spectroscopy; Qvalue of nuclear reactions; Nuclear fission and fusion, energy production in stars; Nuclear reactors. Classification of elementary particles and their interactions; Conservation laws; Quark structure of hadrons; Field quanta of electroweak and strong interactions; Elementary ideas about unification of forces; Physics of neutrinos. 
Solid State Physics, Devices and Electronics:
Crystalline and amorphous structure of matter; Different crystal systems, space groups; Methods of determination of crystal structure; Xray diffraction, scanning and transmission electron microscopies; Band theory of solids  conductors, insulators and semiconductors; Thermal properties of solids, specific heat, Debye theory; Magnetism: dia, para and ferromagnetism; Elements of superconductivity, Meissner effect, Josephson junctions and applications; Elementary ideas about high temperature superconductivity. Intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors; pn p and npn transistors; Amplifiers and oscillators; Opamps; FET, JFET and MOSFET; Digital electronicsBoolean identities, De Morgan’s laws, logic gates and truth tables; Simple logic circuits; Thermistors, solar cells; Fundamentals of microprocessors and digital computers.