Physics 0156-301-01 - Mathematical Methods in Physics I - Fall 1999

W 6:00-8:30 p.m., BLD 211, Dr. H.F. Ahner

Syllabus

Text: Mathematical methods in the Physical Sciences, 2nd Edition, Mary L. Boas, Wiley.

Goals for student learning:

• To develop basic competence in some of the many areas of mathematics needed in advanced courses in the natural sciences and engineering.

Topics of the course:

• Infinite Series, Power Series
• Complex Numbers
• Linear Equations: Vectors, Matrices, and Determinants
• Partial Differentiation
• Multiple Integrals and Applications
• Vector Analysis
• Fourier Series
• Partial Differential Equations
• Integral Transforms of Laplace and Fourier
• Special Topics of Class Interest

• Appreciation of a practical use of each topic in addition to a conceptual understanding of it.

Suggested Learning Behaviors:

• Be an active class participant: Read the material in the text before we talk about it in class so that you are aware of any challenging areas. Ask an appropriate probing question as a difficult subject is covered. In this way you will focus the lecture time where it will help you the most.
• Be an active practitioner: Do the odd numbered problems (or as close to a representative sampling of them as you can - the situation is simple - the more you do, the more you will learn and the better you will do in this class). If your answer does not agree with the answer in the back of the textbook, arrive at class three minutes early. Put the problem up on the board, as far as you can go (i.e., list what is given, what is requested, do as much as you can, sketch roughly, if appropriate, etc. At the start of the class we will talk about how to take the next step and your efforts will insure that I will be talking directly to your concerns instead of rehashing the stuff you already know. Of course, if you prefer, get help with that problem somehow: use my office hours, talk to a friend, or develop your stick-to-itiveness and solve it by trial and error yourself. )
• Don't make the same mistake twice: If you do not get an exam problem correct, find out how to do it in case that type of problem shows up again later in the semester. Most material in this course is cumulative and each concept and procedure builds on earlier work.
• Work alone, then share your solutions with a classmate: You will find you will solidify and clarify your own understanding of the concepts when you explain them to someone else. If you form a learning/study team with a classmate, you will benefit not only from the teaching experience but also from your colleague's efforts and explanations on problems you did not tackle. Agree to a joint study plan, divide up the problems between you, and arrange a regular time to pool your solo efforts. Working both separately and together is usually a more efficient use of your study time than the same amount of time always working alone or always working together.

Expect numerous "surprise" quizzes and exams.

Tentative Schedule (Initially the pace will be governed by the depth of background knowledge possessed by the class and the amount of review that will be necessary).
The goal in setting an appropriate pace will be to maximize your mastery of the material.
Your active, working participation in realizing this goal is essential.
W 9/1 Introduction, Overview, Chapter 1 - Infinite Series
W 9/8
W 9/15
W 9/22
W 9/29
W 10/6
W 10/13
W 10/20
W 10/27
W 11/3
W 11/10
W 11/17
W 11/24
W 12/1
W 12/8
W 12/15 - FINAL EXAM

Your average will be assigned a final letter grade according to the following scheme:

• A-= 90,91; A=92-95; A+= 96,or higher
• B- =80,81; B=82-87;B+=88,89
• C-=70,71; C=72-77; C+=78,79
• D-=60,61; D=62-67; D+=68,69
• F = 59 and lower.

Office: Blodgett 8C, in Physics Department Suite
Office Hours:

• W 2:00- 5:00 pm
• TR 10:50-12:00 noon
• TR 1:40-2:00 pm