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Physics 464/511
Fall 2016
General Course Information


Instructor: Joel Shapiro
Office: Serin 325
Phone: 848-445-8972

Text: There is no specific assigned text for the course, but you should have some book which covers at least most of the topics. I recommend one of

  • Arfken (et al), Mathematical Methods for Physicists, any of many editions
  • Michael T. Vaughn, Introduction to Mathematical Physics ISBN 978-3-527-40627-2, Wiley-VCH
  • Mary L. Boas Mathematical Methods in the Physics Sciences

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Homework: There will normally be a homework assignment each week. Late homeworks will not be accepted without special permission, generally requested in advance. Homeworks will be graded and will be a significant contribution to your final grade (30-40%).
There will be some homeworks due for students of 511 but not for 464. Not yet, though.

Exams: There will be one midterm exam and a final exam. They will be in-class closed-book exams. You will be permitted some reference material, not yet decided

Class Times: Currently scheduled for Wednesday at noon and Friday at 1:40, meeting in Hill 009.
Lectures start promptly, so please come on time.

There are many books which give alternate presentations or treat subjects in more depth. A list of some of them are here.

Syllabus: See the syllabus link, though it is not finalized and there will be changes. This link is, however, a more accurate description of what will be covered than either of the catalog course descriptions, which are

Physical applications of linear algebra, the exterior calculus, differential forms, complexes and cohomology. Applications will include Hamiltonian dynamics, normal mode analysis, Markov processes, thermodynamics, Schroedinger's equation, special relativity, electrostatics, magnetostatics, Maxwell's equations, and wave equations.

Prerequisites: 640:403 Complex Variables and 640:423 Partial Differential Equations, or equivalent.
Functions of a complex variable, contour integration, calculus of residues, conformal mapping with applications to electrostatics, magnetostatics and fluid dynamics in two dimensions. Solution of boundary-value problems of physics by integral equation methods, construction of Green's functions. Fourier and Laplace transform theory with applications to harmonic motion, electrostatics, heat conduction, circuits and transients.

  Joel Shapiro (
  Last modified: Fri Jan 11 14:03:31 2008