Last edit: 3 Aug 2001
Prof. Thomas Coan (x8-2497)
Office: 4B Fondren Science
The second goal of PHYS 3344 is for you to learn some practical mathematical techniques useful for solving physics problems, including those you are likely to see in other courses and in a technical career after graduation. These will include elements of vector calculus, matrix manipulation and elementary linear algebra, techniques for solving differential equations and an introduction to Fourier analysis.
Understanding the physical universe requires that you be able to estimate the order of magnitude of all kinds of physical quantities, often in novel circumstances. See the page Fermi problems for a list of these "Fermi" problems. Since being able to efficiently solve these problems requires that you know some spectrum of physical constants, I will regularly quiz you on your knowledge of physical constants. (I will provide guidance on what constants you should know.)
To improve your writing ability, you will be required to write 2 technical papers explaining some topic related to classical mechanics. I will issue suggestions, although you are free to propose any that interest you. Only topics sanctioned by me will be acceptable. Each paper should be 5 or so typed pages in length and include figures that aid the exposition. The style should be similar to that found in any of your SMU physics textbooks. I will issue more details when the time comes.
Your final grade will be based on a weighted sum of your performance on
homework, tests, quizzes, the papers and the final exam. Individual
assignments do not receive a letter grade. The assignments weights
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