# PHYS 3344 Overview

## Fall 2001

`Last edit: 3 Aug 2001`

**Prof. Thomas Coan (x8-2497)**
**coan@mail.physics.smu.edu**

**Office: 4B Fondren Science**

### Introduction

Welcome to PHYS 3344, traditionally considered
the first "real" physics course in a physics major's career. Our
first goal is for you to learn a substantial subset of classical
mechanics: the Newtonian mechanics of single and multiple discrete
particles, Newtonian gravity, central force motion, Hamilton's
principle, motion in a non-inertial reference frame, the dynamics of
rigid body motion, and oscillations of a point particle. My choice of
topics for PHYS 3344 is based on the assumption that you will take
PHYS 3345 afterwards. You will need to work diligently in PHYS 3344 if
you wish to learn the material.
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.

### Tests, Papers, Exams and Grades

Homework will be issued weekly and is graded. I encourage you to work
together on the problems. However, the final write-up must be your own
work. Submitted homework assignments that are suspiciously similar
will annoy me. There will be 3 regular tests as well as a
comprehensive final exam. See the
PHYS 3344 syllabus for details. I will issue short, unannounced
quizzes to test your diligence in reading the course material on a
**random **basis. You will be required to write 2 term papers.
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
are:

- Homework 35%
- Quizzes 5%
- Papers 10%
- Tests 30%
- Final 20%

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