PHYSICS 330: CLASSICAL MECHANICS, FALL 2003 Tim Gfroerer, Davidson College
Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 2:30 – 4:30 pm (and more generally, most other normal working hours when I'm not preparing for or teaching a class). Questions naturally arise in the process of learning and doing physics. In fact, the really good questions are what keep physics alive! I expect you to have lots of questions and I hope that you will come by my office talk to me about them.
Course
webpage:
http://www.phy.davidson.edu/thg/3302003.htm I will post announcements, simulations, assignments, and solutions here.
Objectives: Physics 330 is an extension of the classical mechanics that you learned in introductory physics. We will use more powerful mathematical tools to solve more complicated dynamics problems. The course starts with the familiar Newtonian formulation involving forces and then moves on to Lagrangian and Hamiltonian methods which rely on energy considerations. In particular, we will focus on the following topics:
Class Discussion
and Exercises: Attendance at and participation in class discussions are critical for
learning new physics. Reading the relevant
sections and working the preclass exercises before class will definitely facilitate this part of the learning
process. Preclass exercises allow me to gauge your grasp of new material
and enable me to use class time effectively. They are due 1 hour
before class starts.
Inclass exercises will be used
periodically to give us the opportunity to explore new concepts and
problemsolving techniques together. The College’s 25% rule on attendance will be
in effect. Homework: More sophisticated mathematics and a deeper understanding of the concept of energy will enable us to solve new kinds of problems. Building problem solving skills takes lots of practice. To this end, I will assign a substantial amount of homework. I encourage you to work together on the homework sets, but you must participate in the process of obtaining the solution to each problem. When working with a partner, keep in mind that reviews and the final will test your individual problemsolving ability. Do not consult solution sets or another student’s work from any previous class. Always show your arguments, realizing that clarity and neatness count. Homework will be collected for grading at the beginning of class on the dates designated and late homework will not be accepted.
Seminar
Attendance: Seminars broaden your scientific perspective and show you how
physics is being used in the world beyond Davidson. Attendance at all physics
seminars is required. Ask questions! Reviews and Final Exam: We will have 3 closedbook
takehome reviews on the weeks of 9/22, 10/27, and 11/24. I will provide last year's reviews with solutions
to facilitate your preparation for the review. Do not consult reviews from
any other offering of Physics 330. The comprehensive final exam will be
takehome and openbook, to be completed during the selfscheduled exam period. Computers: As you know, programs like Mathematica
and MathCAD can simplify traditional mathematical operations like
differentiation, integration, series expansion, and vector analysis.
Indeed, 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. You
will be expected to use a computer to perform some of these operations in this course
and you should use these programs to
solve or check homework problems whenever you think they might help. Please
be aware that you cannot use computers on
reviews. Grading:
