Ph106a: Topics in Classical Physics - Mechanics
Michael Cross, Caltech
Academic Year 2012-2013, Fall Term
An intermediate course in the application of basic principles of classical physics to a wide variety of subjects. Roughly half of the year will be devoted to mechanics, and half to electromagnetism. Topics include Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of mechanics, small oscillations and normal modes, boundary-value problems, multipole expansions, and various applications of electromagnetic theory.
- 12/19/12: The solutions to the final are now posted, and the graded finals are in the Ph106 out box in West Bridge.
- 12/11/12: Assignment 7 is now graded: you may pick yours up from the Ph106 Out Box in the West Bridge mailboxes.
- 12/7/12 The final is now available for download. If you downloaded it before 10am Friday 7th, please download the revised version with a small correction to problem 3. I will post the solutions to Assignment 7 at 5pm this evening. We will try to have the graded assignments in the Ph106 out box on Tuesday morning so you can review them before the final is due.
- 12/4/12 Final plans: Here is a draft of the cover sheet for the final so you can see the format the exam will take. Please contact me if you have any questions. I plan to post the exam itself by 9am Friday, December 7 unless some problem arises.
- 11/29/12 Assignment 6: Correction -- the constraint in part (c) of problem 5 is only correct for θ = constant. I've also posted notes for Lecture 15 including the Newtonian approach to Euler's disk that I discussed in class.
- 11/26/11: Assignment 7: So that all the assignments can be graded and returned, and the solutions posted, before the final exam, the "one free extension" cannot be used on Assignment 7.
- 11/20/12: Assignment 6 is ready for you to download.
- 11/12/12: There is no assignment due November 23 (Thanksgiving week). I will make Assignment 6 (due November 30) available before Thanksgiving so you can get a start on it over the long weekend if you like.
- 11/10/12: I've prepared histograms of the midterm exams (out of 25) and total scores (out of 100). In the latter I used the weighting: exam - 35%; assignments - 65%. This is the overall exam-assignment weighting for the term, although the midterm will carry less weight in the final score. There are 6 (out of 52) missing Assignment 3 papers, probably with free extensions that haven't been grade yet, so the overall score distribution will move up a little.
- 11/9/12: The midterm solutions are now posted on the website.
- 10/30/12: The graded Assignments 1-3 are available for pickup in the Ph106 out box in Bridge if you have not picked them up in class.
- 10/25/12:The midterm is now available for you to download.
- 10/24/12: Correction to Assignment 3: change problem 4 to having an upward moving hinge, and you may assume the soap remains on the plate over the time of your solution. I have changed the file on the website to reflect this change.
- Assignment 1 is ready for you to download here. Please see below for the information in the TAs and office hours for the class.
- The graded Assignment 1 problem sets are available for pickup in the Ph106 out box in Bridge. The solutions are posted on the schedule.
In Ph106a I will largely be following the first nine chapters of Hand and Finch, with some additions, subtractions,
and reorderings, with roughly one chapter per week. See the syllabus
for more details.
Time and Place
Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30am to noon, 107 Downs
Prof. Michael Cross,
128 Bridge, Mail Code 149-33, mcc at caltech.edu
Office hours: 1-2pm Thursdays in 128 Bridge.
Chan Youn Park, 422 Downs, splendid at caltech.edu
Liling Gu, Sloan 379, gll007 at caltech.edu
Office hours: Thursday 7-9 pm
Chan will grade odd numbered assignments, and Liling will grade even numbered assignments. Each will hold office hours on the day before the homework they will grade is due (i.e. Chan will hold office hours on October 11, 25 etc., and Liling on October 18, etc.).
I greatly appreciate student feedback, particularly during the course so that I can try to modify
the class to fit your needs. You can give feedback in person, by email, by campus mail, whatever you like.
You can also send feedback via the class representatives Adam Jermyn and Anthony Alvarez if you prefer.
Analytical Mechanics by Hand and Finch: much of the structure, pacing, notation, etc. is taken from this text.
Classical Mechanics by Goldstein, Poole, and Safko (3rd edition):
an alternative discussion that is less readable than Hand and Finch, but
sometimes more precise; more advanced overall.
Classical Mechanics by John Taylor: a nice book, with more review of the basics than Hand and Finch, but slightly less advanced
than the level of the class; it will need supplementing with other reading in a few places.
: (on reserve at Fairchild Library)
Use these texts for alternate explanations or for
additional problems or examples.
Mechanics Landau and Lifshitz: classic but terse
Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems by Thornton and Marion: not as advanced as class text, and does not cover all the material, but good supplement if you find the jump from earlier classes to Ph106 too large
I will make available a summary for each lecture that highlights the main points, and discusses in more detail (or gives references to other sources) aspects that are not well treated in Hand and Finch. However these are not meant to be a complete discussion. I will also post copies of any slides or other computer material used in the lecture. I will do my best to post the summary and slides before the relevant lecture, so that you may look at them, and print them out if you wish, to decide how much to add in your own notes.
The course grade is composed as 35% homework sets, 25% midterm, and 40% final.
Last updated 12/19/12