Mathematica for Physics: 2nd Edition  

A new book for doing Physics with Mathematica


by Robert Zimmerman & Fredrick Olness
 
Book Cover  


New: updated files for Mathematica versions 8 & 9

Conversions provided by Kate Evans, Benjamin Clark, & Eric Godat

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Old File download area for 1st Edition


General Information:

Robert L. Zimmerman (U. of Oregon)
Fredrick I. Olness (Southern Methodist University)
with a foreword by Stephen Wolfram

LENGTH: 600+ pages
ISBN: 0-8053-8700-5

For ordering information, contact Addison Wesley Publishing

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MathSource Number: 0206-862 

E-Mail: olness@mail.physics.smu.edu
bob@zim.uoregon.edu

Mathematica for Physics chooses the canonical problems from the physics curriculum, and solves these problems using Mathematica. This book takes the reader beyond the "textbook" solutions by challenging the student to cross check the results using the wide variety of Mathematica's analytical, numerical, and graphical tools. Throughout the book, the complexity of both the physics and Mathematica is systematically extended to broaden the tools the reader has at his or her disposal, and to broaden the range of problems that can be solved. As such, this text is an appropriate supplement for any of the core advanced undergraduate and graduate physics courses. This electronic supplement contains the initialization files for all chapters, and selected solutions and examples.


Highlights include:

Chapters:

1.  Getting Started
2.  GENERAL PHYSICS
3.  Oscillating Systems
4.  NonLinear Oscillating Systems
5.  Discrete Dynamical Systems 
6.  Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
7.  Orbiting Bodies
8.  Electrostatics
9.  Quantum Mechanics
10. Relativity and Cosmology

General Audience:

This book is intended for the advanced undergraduate and graduate physics student taking core courses in the physics curriculum.

We expect this text to be a supplement to the standard course text. The student would use this book to get ideas on how to use Mathematica to solve the problems assigned by the instructor.

Since we cover the canonical problems from the core courses, the student can practice with our solutions, and then modify our solutions to solve the particular problems assigned. This should help the student move up the Mathematica learning curve quickly.

About: Mathematica for Physics:

Mathematica is a powerful mathematical software system for students, researchers, and anyone seeking an effective tool for mathematical analysis. Tools such as Mathematica have begun to revolutionize the way science is taught, and research performed. Now there is a book specifically for students and teachers of physics who wish to use Mathematica to visualize and display physics concepts and to generate numerical and graphical solutions to physics problems.

Mathematica for Physics chooses the canonical problems from the physics curriculum, and solves these problems using Mathematica. This book takes the reader beyond the "textbook" solutions by challenging the student to cross check the results using the wide variety of Mathematica's analytical, numerical, and graphical tools. Throughout the book, the complexity of both the physics and Mathematica is systematically extended to broaden the tools the reader has at his or her disposal, and to broaden the range of problems that can be solved.

As such, this text is an appropriate supplement for any of the core advanced undergraduate and graduate physics courses.

Best Features of Book:

With Mathematica, the entire approach to problem solving can be drastically changed. We give some brief examples.

DOUBLE PENDULUM:

This is a topic that is generally treated as an "advanced" topic. With Mathematica, the solution is relatively straightforward. Once the solutions is obtained, the textbooks try to describe (in words) the general properties of the system, and the normal modes. (In particular, the property that the energy is transferred back and forth between the two segments of the pendulum.) With the animation capability of Mathematica, we do not need to lead the student to these conclusions, but we can point them in the general direction, and let them discover these results on their own by varying the amplitudes of the separate normal modes.

E&M BOUNDARY VALUE PROBLEMS:

For the beginning student, it is easy to become overwhelmed by boundary value problems. With the power of Mathematica, it is easy to show how straightforward these solutions are--especially with the help of the different coordinate systems built into Mathematica. When the student finishes the problem with pen and paper, they have only a set of formulas that may mean very little to the student. With Mathematica, we encourage the student to plot the final solution so that they can verify visually if the boundary conditions are satisfied. This techniques encourages the student to think about the solution, and not simply grind out the math.

HYDROGEN ATOM:

In the standard solution of the hydrogen atom, the student is completely lost in the mathematics. Mathematica is able to recognize that the solution of the radial equation is a Laguerre polynomial, assemble the constants to form the principal quantum number, and plot the solutions. The student then has the energy and the curiosity to numerically investigate the behavior of the wavefunctions, and consider the disastrous consequences of choosing a non-integral value for the principal quantum number.

E-Mail: olness@mail.physics.smu.edu

 

 


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