| Spring 2017
||Mon., Wedn., and Friday. 11:00 - 11:50 AM ,
||P314: the required Problem Session:
|| Friday: 12:00 - 12:50 PM ,
|| PandA 184
|Joseph Lagrange (1736-1813)||
||Isaac Newton (1642-1727)||
||Sofia Kovalevskaya (1850-1891)
Introduction to the Class
This is the second half of a 2-semester general
introduction to phenomena associated with the
name classical mechanics,
which, this semester, will include coupled
oscillatory motions, rotational motion of rigid bodies, scattering theory,
as well as an introduction to phenomena that only have azimuthal symmetry,
and the more modern studies of nonlinear mechanics and chaotic motion.
We will use a text different from the one used in P. 303. While both are good, and both will be valuable to you
in future years, this one seems quite good to me, with a mix
of the very classical parts of our subject combined with introductions to the
modern research still continuing on nonlinear problems and chaotic motions:
Over the course of the semester we plan to cover at least chapters 9 - 13 and
parts of Chs. 14 and 16, as well as two or three
interesting topics that I may pull from other places, and, maybe some of Ch. 15.
|| Classical Mechanics,
John R. Taylor; published by University Science Books.
This publisher has an interesting website, http://www.uscibooks.com,
when you get there you must still do a title or author search for our particular text. Once there, they
offer discounted prices.
The class introduction contains a rather detailed
description of the text, of the way the class will proceed, the details of the homework assignments,
the Bonus Homework, the examinations, and the grading system.
The course Syllabus tries to be a week-by-week
description of what I currently believe the schedule of the course will be, including the
timing of all the exams. In particular, you should use this Syllabus
as a reading guide for your text,
being very sure to read the material in the text
BEFORE the lecture, and then again afterwards,
always noting any questions you have, so that you can ask
for answers to them.
Especially as we are changing instructors and texts "mid-stream," the
is still under
construction. You are encouraged to help with details of it!)
therefore, you should consult it regularly, for updates and/or changes.
It will definitely be added to from
time to time.
My Office: Physics & Astronomy Bldg., 800 Yale Boulevard, Room 168
Telephone: 277-8799 ;
- Office Hours:
The class has Sukeert as a Teaching
Assistant, who will help with the afternoon Problem
Sessions as well.
- my formal office hours are after class:
from 12 to 1 on Monday and 1 to 2 on Friday, and also Wedn. afternoon from 2 to 3 pm.
- in my office, at ANY time that you
come by and I am there without other people;
- I am happy to talk with you about physics, math, or how they
relate to the world, your text, and/or your assigned homework!
He will also be available for discussions and/or
questions, holding office hours
in the department lobby, from 2-3 pm
on Wednesday afternoons.
You may also send him email
here, suggesting a time
and place for you to meet with him.
The problem session, P. 314, is very important, and you must
attend it as well. Iit is 1 credit hour and is graded CR/NC; I truly don't care if you are registered, BUT I care that you come, so why not register!
It will be very important for help with the problems, and especially
with mathematical difficulties that you may have.
I will use some of that time to provide help for you with new mathematical applications,
which you may not recall well from your mathematics classes.
Also note that the examinations are given at this time periodc, on those days when we have exams.
Below are comments concerning requirements for the course. Please see the
course information webpage for much more information:
Links to the homework solutions are provided on the homework assignment pages. They
should be available after the class in which you have turned them in.
There will be homework assignments due on Mondays and Fridays, to be turned in at the beginning
of the class. Almost all of these assignments will include
problems which require a computer to complete, using some form of programming. I will be using Maple for this purpose, and would help anyone who wants to follow that particular line.
There will also
be some Bonus Homework Problems over the course of the semester: they are
both more difficult and more interesting. Their grade goes on top of the average
for all regular homework assignments, so that you could end up with a homework
average higher than 100%. You could also use them to avoid doing some of the regular homework assignments that you find too "boring."
be 3 "midterm" examinations, all of which
will be given during the time for the problem session of the appropriate week,
as noted in the Syllabus.
Lastly, there will be a final examination, at the standard, announced time, which
will not be comprehensive, but will cover only the material since
the previous exam.
Assigned Homework will be very important in your process of learning
the material being discussed. Therefore, it will
count 25% of your
final course grade. The assignments are put up as they are created,
on the series of webpages listed below. Be sure to tell me if I have
forgotten to post any one of them on time:
homework sets I, preparing for the first exam;
homework sets II, preparing for the second exam;
homework sets III, preparing for the third Exam.
homework sets IV, preparing for the Fourth Exam.
Some of the homework problems will require the use of computer software capable of
creating numerical solutions to differential equations, creating good plots, and of performing algebraic computations
for ordinary and matrix algebra, such as MATLAB, Maple, or Mathematica.
Links will be inserted below of three sorts:
- Handouts for extra material not in the text, but covered in class.
- Notes on the exact behavior of a simple pendulum, and
the Jacobi elliptic functions necessary to describe that behavior.
- Notes on gravitational fields of continuous
- Two different webpages from Phys. 262, for some references for Special Relativity:
- A link for Lorentz transformations of various
physical quantities, and
- another link describing how to create and use
- some notes concerning objects moving with constant acceleration
- Some notes relative to matrices, simple tensors, and transformation properties: are found at this link.
- Some more detailed notes involving special relativity, the metric matrix, H, and contravariant and covariant tensors, and the use of matrices to assist with calculating sums of tensor components, i.e., products of tensors, are found
at this link, along with several other things that you may not want. See especially Section 6 of these notes.
- These notes put forward a reasonably-detailed derivation of the Korteweg-de Vries equation for solitonic waves on water moving forward in a shallow, narrow, smooth channel.
The next link provides a pdf-copy of a Maple file that has plots of some of the solitons that are solutions of the KdV equation.
- A very few links to work dealing with problems with homogeneous, isotropic cosmology:
- Links to various "demonstrations" shown in class, on the computer:
They are Maple files that demonstrate particular, useful things one might want it to do:
Some of them are presented as pdfl-files (or html-files), which can simply be viewed,
and also as actual maple files [.mws], which one must download, rather than view,
and then use in a Maple program. Others are simply the downloadable Maple programs.
- Maple file shown in class showing behavior of
various systems of coupled springs, and a pdf-version.
- Maple file shown in class with calculations for
normal modes of several equal carts, and a pdf-version.
- Maple file on some of the behavior of elliptic
functions, and a pdf-version.
- A Maple file that presents the general form for the rotation that shifts the space axes to the body axes, for a rotating distributed mass, which I have called D(θ, φ, ψ):
- Maple, Version 11, file showing calculations for the
driven, damped pendulum as discussed in Chapter 12 of Taylor, with many of his figures worked out.
The Maple file will only work on Version 11 or later; however, a pdf-version, to view the
results, details, and plots, at
this link,, or an html-version here: at
- A Maple file showing some solutions of the KdV equation. The previous one is a Maple file that must be downloaded, which then allows one to see the "movies." Without that feature the code can be seen in the following pdf-file.
- Links to other websites of use for the course.
Below you will find various weblinks to interesting things happening
in physics and astronomy.
Links to Exciting Physics News
Updated as I find time.
Click here to return to
the top of this page.
Last updated/modified: 21 March, 2017
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