Mechanics II (Rutgers Physics 382) Guide for Spring 2017

About the Course and the Instructor

Professor Yuri Gershtein will be in charge of the class, to be held during the Tue Fri 4 (Busch) period (1:40pm - 3:00pm) in ARC 105.
Contact information for me:
  • Office: Serin W316 on Busch,
  • Phone: (848) 445-8963,
  • Fax: (732)445-4343,
  • E-mail: gershtein AT

    I follow open door policy so you do not have to make an appointment to see me. Feel free to walk in my office or call or email etc if you need help. You can also make an appointment if you prefer. There will be no office hour given the open door policy, but let me know if you want one.
    Your homeworks are graded by Fangdi Wen, fw113 AT


    Our textbook will be Classical Mechanics, 5th Ed., by David John R. Taylor (University Science Books) ISBN 9781891389221.

    Course Philosophy and Feedback

    Hearing from you on a continual basis is extremely important. Your feedback (positive and negative) will allow us to tune the course better. Talk to me before/after class, in our offices, etc etc. You can also talk to our undergraduate director who can transmit your feedback to me anonymously if you so wish.

    Homework, Exams and Grades etc

    Homework assignments will be worth 30%, class exam 30% and the final 40%. Solutions to homework assignments and exams will be posted on the web. Since I will make every effort to post the solutions immediately, please make sure that you are not late in submitting the assignments. I plan to drop one (the worst) homework grade at the end. Subjective factors such as your effort, attendance, participation during discussions, and improvement during the term will also matter for your final grade. The exam schedule is:
    Class Exam (aka midterm):      March 24, during regular class period.
    Final Exam (CUMULATIVE!):      May 5, 8am (sic!) location Pharmacy 115

    World Wide Web

    The URL for our home page is
    Any important updates, weekly links to homeworks, exams and solutions, as well as your scores and grades will appear at this website.

    Administrative Assistance

    Professor Schnetzer (Office: Serin W328, Phone: 848-445-8975, e-mail: steves AT is the physics undergraduate director.

    Ms. Katherine Lam (Serin W201, (848) 445-8763, klam AT is the physics undergraduate program administrator. Please see her if you need administrative help (special permissions, etc).

    Students with Disabilities

    If you have a disability, you are urged to speak to me EARLY IN THE SEMESTER to make the necessary arrangements to support a successful learning experience. For further information, click here.


    Chapter titles, section numbers and page numbers refer to the textbook "Classical Mechanics" by John R. Taylor, Copyright 2005 by University Science Books.
    CHAPTER 10 Rotational Motion of Rigid Bodies 367
    10.1 Properties of the Center of Mass 367
    10.2 Rotation about a Fixed Axis 372
    10.3 Rotation about Any Axis; the Inertia Tensor 378
    10.4 Principal Axes of Inertia 387
    10.5 Finding the Principal Axes; Eigenvalue Equations 389
    10.6 Precession of a Top due to a Weak Torque 392
    10.7 Euler's Equations 394
    10.8 Euler's Equations with Zero Torque 397
    not covered 10.9 Euler Angles * 401
    10.10 Motion of a Spinning Top* 403
    Principal Definitions and Equations of Chapter 10 407
    Problems for Chapter 10 408
    CHAPTER 11 Coupled Oscillators and Normal Modes 417
    11.1 Two Masses and Three Springs 417
    11.2 Identical Springs and Equal Masses 421
    11.3 Two Weakly Coupled Oscillators 426
    11.4 Lagrangian Approach: The Double Pendulum 430
    11.5 The General Case 436
    11.6 Three Coupled Pendulums 441
    11.7 Normal Coordinates * 444
    Principal Definitions and Equations of Chapter 11 447
    Problems for Chapter 11 448
    not covered CHAPTER 12 Nonlinear Mechanics and Chaos 457
    CHAPTER 13 Hamiltonian Mechanics 521
    13.1 The Basic Variables 522
    13.2 Hamilton's Equations for One-Dimensional Systems 524
    13.3 Hamilton's Equations in Several Dimensions 528
    13.4 Ignorable Coordinates 535
    13.5 Lagrange's Equations vs. Hamilton's Equations 536
    13.6 Phase-Space Orbits 538
    not covered 13.7 Liouville's Theorem* 543
    Principal Definitions and Equations of Chapter 13 550
    Problems for Chapter 13 550
    CHAPTER 14 Collision Theory 557
    14.1 The Scattering Angle and Impact Parameter 558
    14.2 The Collision Cross Section 560
    14.3 Generalizations of the Cross Section 563
    14.4 The Differential Scattering Cross Section 568
    14.5 Calculating the Differential Cross Section 572
    14.6 Rutherford Scattering 574
    not covered 14.7 Cross Sections in Various Frames * 579
    not covered 14.8 Relation of the CM and Lab Scattering Angles * 582
    Principal Definitions and Equations of Chapter 14 586
    Problems for Chapter 14 587
    CHAPTER 15 Special Relativity 595
    15.1 Relativity 596
    15.2 Galilean Relativity 596
    15.3 The Postulates of Special Relativity 601
    15.4 The Relativity of Time; Time Dilation 603
    15.5 Length Contraction 608
    15.6 The Lorentz Transformation 610
    15.7 The Relativistic Velocity-Addition Formula 615
    15.8 Four-Dimensional Space-Time; Four-Vectors 617
    15.9 The Invariant Scalar Product 623
    15.10 The Light Cone 625
    15.11 The Quotient Rule and Doppler Effect 630
    15.12 Mass, Four-Velocity, and Four-Momentum 633
    15.13 Energy, the Fourth Component of Momentum 638
    15.14 Collisions 644
    15.15 Force in Relativity 649
    15.16 Massless Particles; the Photon 652
    not covered 15.17 Tensors* 656
    15.18 Electrodynamics and Relativity 660
    Principal Definitions and Equations of Chapter 15 664
    Problems for Chapter 15 666
    CHAPTER 16 Continuum Mechanics 681
    16.1 Transverse Motion of a Taut String 682
    16.2 The Wave Equation 685
    not covered 16.3 Boundary Conditions; Waves on a Finite String * 688
    16.4 The Three-Dimensional Wave Equation 694
    16.5 Volume and Surface Forces 697
    16.6 Stress and Strain: The Elastic Moduli 701
    16.7 The Stress Tensor 704
    16.8 The Strain Tensor for a Solid 709
    16.9 Relation between Stress and Strain: Hooke's Law 715
    16.10 The Equation of Motion for an Elastic Solid 718
    16.11 Longitudinal and Transverse Waves in a Solid 721
    not covered 16.12 Fluids: Description of the Motion * 723
    not covered 16.13 Waves in a Fluid* 727
    Principal Definitions and Equations of Chapter 16 730

    To Physics 381 Home Page
    This page is maintained by Yuri Gershtein.