Physics 330 Analytical Mechanics Fall (3) 2010
Instructor: Mark Taylor Office: Gerstacker 118
Office Hours: MTRF 12:30-2:30, 4:00-6:00, Wed. 9:00-6:00, Sat. and Sun. 1:00-5:00.
Also, feel free to stop by at other times, call me, or send me email.
Meeting Times: MTRF 10:00-11:30, 2:30-4:00, Gerstacker 10
Textbook: "Classical Dynamics", 5th edition, by Thornton and Marion
Course Overview and Goals: This course will provide an intensive study of classical mechanics. This elegant subject provides the foundation to all fields of physics and thus a solid grasp of this material is essential. We begin with a review Newtonian mechanics as learned in Physics 213, however, we will be working at a much higher level of mathematical sophistication than was possible in 213. We will then study two important reformulations of Newtonian mechanics based on the calculus of variations. These are the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian approaches. These new methods yield the same results as the original Newtonian method, but for complicated systems they are often much easier to apply. Finally we will use these new methods to make a detailed study of central force motion (i.e., the two body problem) and rigid body rotational dynamics. The primary goal of this course is to learn some of the advanced techniques of analytic mechanics. A more general goal is to learn to do physics at a more formal level. Historically, this formal approach has been extremely productive in physics, leading to connections between disparate fields of study. Such formal methods provide a systematic approach to tackling complex problems. A final goal for this course will be to learn some important approximation and numerical techniques, since for most "real world" problems, exact analytic calculation will only take us so far.
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