# Physics 316

This term, we will tackle a variety of topics that we collectively call

intermediate mechanics. For much of the term, the topics will be familiar to you or you have

been introduced to the topics previously: forces and potentials, kinematics and dynamics,

momentum, rotational physics, oscillations and orbits. However, we will be expanding on these

topics, introducing further rigor, as well as developing a strong computational foundation for

treating these and other topics, and, finally, introducing a few (likely) new topics including the

variational principle and Langrangian mechanics. In short, we return to the study of classical

Newtonian mechanics that we began in PHY 141 (and a bit of PHY 142) to examine the classical

description of how things move and interact under the influence of forces. We do so now

equipped with a more sophisticated array of mathematical tools. In addition to additional

mathematical depth, we will also add conceptual depth and develop computational tools and

methods.

Course Goals: This course represents the completion of your introduction to physics. We have

three main goals 1.) Develop concepts in classical mechanics with mathematical and analytical

rigor to solve real work problems. 2.) Develop elements of computational techniques that help to

facilitate goal (1). 3.) Continue our quest to be better scholars by developing our problem

solving, project management and communication skills.

If you are pursuing a course of study in engineering, this class will serve as your vector

mechanics course and (along with Vector Statics – PHY 315) will prepare you for further study

in all areas of engineering. If you are pursuing a course of study in physics, this class serves as

the prerequisite for PHY 416 (Advanced Mechanics), in which you will learn about more

sophisticated treatments of classical mechanics such as the formalisms of LaGrange and

Hamilton.

On the use of mathematics: I need only quote the great man:

“To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the

beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature… If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it

is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.”

―Richard Feynman (The Character of Physical Law (1965) Ch. 2)

Syllabus_Physics_316_Mauro_S2017 (1)