PHYS 611
Theoretical Mechanics

Winter Quarter 2013

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 13:00 at 318 Willamette.

This the final half quarter of a one and a half quarter graduate level course. It is for students who have taken a course in mechanics beyond what is generally offered in a "general physics" course. Students should also have a good background in mathematics, including linear algebra and complex analysis.






There will be problems assigned each week in class, due on Wednesdays. Occasionally a problem will involve computer work. I recommend Mathematica, which is available at UO computer labs and the science library. If you already know some other computer language like C++, Fortran, Matlab, or Maple, you can use what you know.
  1. Wednesday 16 January: these four problems. Solutions from Y. Sang page 1, page 2, page 3.
  2. Wednesday 23 January: Goldstein chapter 7 problems 17, 19, 20, and 22.
  3. Wednesday 30 January: Goldstein chapter 9 problems 4, 9, 23, and 39. (For problem 39, you can use your result from problem 9.)
  4. Wednesday 6 February: this problem .

Class notes available in pdf:

  1. The principle of stationary action. (3 Oct. version)
  2. Symmetries and conserved quantities. (8 Oct. version)
  3. Lagrangian with electric and magnetic fields. (10 Oct. version)
  4. Numerical methods in mechanics. (22 Oct. version)
  5. Free rotation of a rigid body. (5 Nov. version)



The homework assignments will count for 50% of the course grade. The one exam will count for 50% of the course grade.

Exams are to be taken without notes or books. That is because I want to encourage you to remember the most important formulas for mechanics. If you will need an obscure complicated formula for an exam question, I will give it on the exam.

Note: I encourage students to work together on the homework. I don't want you to just copy from someone else's work because you won't learn anything that way, but if you work out the solution jointly with someone else or with a group, that's fine. Real science usually involves teamwork, so it's a good idea for you to learn how to work on science with others. This policy is an exception to the normal university rule about doing your own work. Of course, on exams, your paper has to be entirely your own work.

Davison E. Soper, Institute of Theoretical Science, University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403 USA