Physics 416

Physics 416
Advanced Mechanics

Course Description: This class treats various problems in mechanics above and beyond the
introductory and intermediate level. We’ll cover topics that you likely haven’t seen before, of it
you have, it was in a cursory fashion. We approach our new topics with an understanding that
you are capable problem solvers, independent thinkers, and have taken physics 316 and so are
(or quickly will be again) conversant in Octave or MATLAB. You are now equipped with a
more sophisticated array of mathematical tools and, thus, we can tackle the REALLY interesting
stuff. We’ll cover, in rough order, the central force problem, gravity and orbits, relativity,
motion in non-inertial reference frames, fluid mechanics, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian
mechanics, scattering, non-linear dynamics, and coupled oscillations.
Course Goals: This course represents the completion of your introduction to physics. We have
three main goals 1.) Develop advanced concepts in classical mechanics with mathematical and
analytical rigor to solve real work problems. 2.) Develop elements of computational techniques
that help us conquer big problems. 3.) Continue our quest to be better scholars by developing
our problem solving, project management, and communication skills.
On the use of mathematics: I need only quote the great man:
“To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the
beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature… If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it
is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.”
―Richard Feynman (The Character of Physical Law (1965) Ch. 2)

Syllabus_Physics_416_Mauro_S2017 (1)