Instructor: Dr. Tom Michalik

Textbook: Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems, 5th ed., Thornton & Marion, Brooks/Cole, 2004.

Course Goals: The course goals are to rigorously study and learn junior-senior level classical mechanics, to gain experience and proficiency in junior-senior level problem solving, and to gain experience in the application of important mathematical techniques.

Attendance: Class attendance is expected. Attendance will be taken each day. An absence does not relieve you from the responsibility for work required when you are absent. Absences, no matter what the cause, will be resolved individually case-by-case. Talk to me!

Homework: Homework is usually assigned each class meeting. Homework assignments are pledged. Homework assignments are due at the beginning of the class period immediately following the period in which the assignment was made. I do not accept late work or give partial credit for late work. (I make an exception, of course, for illness. Please notify me when you are ill.)

Tests: There will be two take-home tests during the semester and a final three hour exam. All tests and exams are open book, open notes, and open homework. You will have the entire weekend to complete the take-home tests. There are no set dates for the take-home tests. The class will decide which weekends are best. The first test is usually given at the end of the sixth week and the second test is usually given at the end of the eleventh week.

Grading: The course grade is computed from three contributions. Homework contributes 30%. The final exam contributes 35%. The best score from the two take-home tests contributes the remaining 35%. (Yes, I drop the lower grade of the two take-home tests.)

Course Content: The following topics will be covered in order: Newton’s 2nd Law as a Differential Equation, Variable Forces, Trajectories With Air Resistance, Damped Oscillations, Driven Oscillations, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Dynamics, and Central Forces. Computer exercises using Mathematica will be assigned.