PHYSICS 201:  MATHEMATICAL METHODS FOR SCIENTISTS

 

Dr. Dan Boye
Spring 2008
Office: Dana 134
Phone: 894-2394

Classroom: Dana 153
Lecture: TTh 8:30 - 9:45 am
Text: Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences,
  3rd edition, Mary L. Boas

Appointments: I am generally available from 9:00-5:00 M-F.  Communication with me by email is very reliable.  If my office light is on and I'm not there, check in the Dana basement (Room B36) or in the Physics Office.

Course Webpage: webphysics.davidson.edu/faculty/dmb/py201/PY201S08.htm . All announcements, reading and homework assignments and solutions will be posted here.

Course Objectives: This course is designed to introduce a broad range of mathematical techniques that are used to solve scientific problems. We will not attempt to achieve the depth of individual math courses on each subject and we will not be as detailed in our proofs. Our purpose is to give you some experience with a variety of important mathematical techniques so that they will be not unknown when you see them again. Building problem solving skills take lots of practice. To this end, you will be assigned a substantial amount of homework. We will emphasize how the techniques can be used to solve various problems in the sciences. I will assume that you have had two semesters of calculus, but I will survey the mathematical and scientific background of each class member to set an appropriate level and pace for the course. We will focus on the following topics:

Infinite & Power series

Chapter 1

Complex analysis

Chapter 2

Linear algebra

Chapter 3

Vector calculus

Chapter 6

Fourier analysis

Chapter 7

Differential equations

Chapter 8

As you know, programs like MathCad and Mathematica can simplify traditional mathematical operations like series expansion, integration, and matrix analysis. These applications can use numerical methods to solve problems that do not have an analytical solution. The programs (and spreadsheet applications like Excel) include graphical tools that can be used to calculate and plot functions of interest so that we can visualize the behavior of our solutions. We will demonstrate and use some of these features in this course and, at times, you may use these programs to solve or check homework problems whenever you think they might help. Be sure to clearly document your usage of these programs. Please be aware that you cannot use these programs on reviews.

Course Requirements:

Attendance: It is one of the primary responsibilities of the student to attend each and every class. Each student is responsible for the material discussed in class and the announcements made in class. Absence from class does not relieve one from this responsibility. Attendance at class follows the College's 25% rule. Please mark the roll on the side board each day you are in class.

Seminars broaden your scientific perspective and show you how physics is being used in the world beyond Davidson. Attendance at all physics seminars is strongly encouraged.

Homework: Problems for the chapters may be found on the Assignments website.  Always check the website for the current assignment as slight changes in the required work may be made during the semester. 

Discussion among class members regarding homework problem strategies and solutions is strongly encouraged; however, copying another student's work from this class or any previous class or solution set is an honor code violation. The word Pledged along with your signature and the date written on your homework signifies your compliance with this requirement. Homework will be collected for grading at times announced in class. Homework will not be accepted late or unpledged. Unsupported answers will not receive full credit. Simplicity, neatness and clarity of thought are important. If you need help, please see me.

Reviews: The three closed-book, take-home reviews will be comprised of problems similar to but not the same as those worked in the lecture and assigned for homework. Reviews will be due on Feb. 7, March 20, and May 1.

Final Exam: The final exam will be a self-scheduled, open-book, comprehensive exam. Questions concerning material covered between the last review and the last day of class will be on the final exam.

Grades:    Homework 30%    Reviews 45%    Exam 25%