# PHYS 3345 Overview

## Spring 1999

`Last edit: 24 Dec 1998`

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

**Office: 4B Fondren Science**

### Introduction

Welcome to PHYS 3345. This course requires you
to work, consistently and efficiently. You will not learn the material
without substantial intellectual effort on ** your ** part. I can
teach (almost) anyone willing to make an honest effort. I cannot teach
tourists. So, when you read the texts, read with a pencil and paper
nearby. Read the course material **before** lecture. Think about
the physics a little bit **each **day, not just when I am
lecturing. I often hear students say, "I understand what you say in
lecture but I just don't get the problems." Translated, this means
that the student does **not** understand what was covered in
lecture. If you cannot do the problems, you do not understand the
material.
Intellectually, PHYS 3345 has two major goals. The first goal is
to finish our task of learning a substantial subset of classical
mechanics. We will learn about the behavior of coupled oscillators,
the properties of continuous systems, special relativity and a
substantial amount of wave phenomena.

The second goal of PHYS 3345 is for you to learn some practical
mathematical techniques useful for understanding physics related
phenomena, including those that you are likely to see in other courses
and in a technical career after graduation. Math topics we will cover
include matrix manipulation and elementary linear algebra, methods for
solving differential equations and an introduction to Fourier
analysis. We may cover other topics, depending on my mood.

### Tests, Exams and Grades

Homework will be issued weekly and is graded. I encourage you to work
together on the problems. Ideas are often clarified and misconceptions
eliminated when you discuss the material with similarly confused
people and are forced to defend your reasoning. Indeed, in the "real"
world, people discuss technical matters quite a bit. However, the
final write-up of the homework must be your own work. Submitted
homework assignments that are suspiciously similar will annoy me and
plagiarism will be dealt with harshly. There will be 3 regular tests
as well as a comprehensive final exam. See the PHYS 3345 home
page for more details. Finally, I will issue short, unannounced
quizzes to test your diligence in reading the course material on a
**random **basis. You have been warned.
Your final letter grade will be based on a weighted sum of your performance on
homework, tests, quizzes and the final exam according to the
following proportions:

- Homework 30%
- Quizzes 10%
- Tests 30%
- Final 30%

This relative weighting is my attempt to gauge your mastery of the
material using a variety of "probes" that have different features.
**Demonstrated ** effort counts in determining your final
grade. Demonstrated effort means, for example, that homework solutions
are legibly and coherently written. Scribbled or sloppily written
homework indicates a distinct lack of effort and **no **partial
credit should be expected by the student. My test and exam problem
regrading policy is straightforward. If you suspect that your solution
to a particular problem is correct and mine is incorrect, then this
implies the grading quality of your **entire **test or exam is
suspect. I will therefore regrade the **entire **test or exam to
verify that I have not made additional errors. Hence, your final score
may increase **or **decrease!

In summary, the motto for this course is, "If you can't show it, you
don't know it."

Back to PHYS 3345 Home Page