Classical Mechanics

PHY 540 (Section D), Fall Semester, August
23 - December 1, 2006

In this class we will study classical mechanics, including some novel methods which I have found to be interesting and useful in other areas of theoretical physics.

According to the course catalog, in PHY540 we
should cover: the
Lagrangian formulation, rigid body dynamics, and topics
selected from fluid dynamics, non-linear oscillations, normal
modes, and phase plane analysis. Well ... maybe ... but we will
certainly discuss Lagrangian and
Hamiltonian theory, as in Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 in the course text
(see below).

Discussions or make-ups:

Office and hours:

325 Knight Physics Bldg., by appointment (phone: 284 - 2324 ext 4; email: curtright@physics.miami.edu).

either on Wednesday, 13 December, 11:00 - 1:30 pm, in the physics library, or else as a take-home (to be determined).

Grading policy:

Your grade will be based with equal weight on each of

- the complete set of graded problems,
- the midterm exam,
- and the final exam.

Jorge V. José and Eugene J. Saletan

Other recommended material:

My notes, and the following supplemental textbooks.

Foundations of Mechanics, R Abraham and J E Marsden

Newton's Principia for the Common Reader, S. Chandrasekhar

Theoretical Mechanics of Particles and Continua, A L Fetter and J D Walecka

Useful internet software sites:

(1) Maple

(2) Mathematica (see especially the free information on the MathWorld and Functions pages)

(3) Scientific WorkPlace (free 30 day trial version!)