Problems that Shaped Classical Physics


The course covers important problems in classical physics with great historical significance in the development of physics and of our acceptance of it as an accurate description of nature. It will be based on the physics laws encountered in the introductory physics courses (Phys1B03, Phys1BA3, and Phys1BB3), but the problems covered will go beyond the ones covered in these courses. Topics include; Kepler orbits, Dark Matter, Anharmonic oscillators, Scattering, the discovery of atoms, coupled oscillators – normal modes, phonons, the wave equation, special relativity and spacetime symmetries.

The course outline can be found here.

The lecture notes will be posted after class and can be found under lectures.

The course will be pass/fail.
Your pass/fail grade will be based on attendance (50%) and one short writeup of approximately two pages (50%). You can find a list of topics for the write-up following this link.

Office Hours (ABB-321)
Monday 2:30 PM
Wednesday 2:30 PM

If you have any questions about the course, please send me emails to my McMaster address. Things are generally busy, so I won’t be able to respond immediately to all inquiries, but I will respond by my e-mail hours listed below.

e-mail Hours
Monday 10:00 PM
Thursday 10:00 PM

Mini Schedule – Spring 2015

Date          Topic                            Chapter 
Mon, 5  Jan   Harmonic Oscillator   - The simplest of all systems     1
Mon, 19 Jan   Keplerian orbit  -  The first exact solution            2
Mon, 2  Feb   Scattering  - Looking into the subatomic world          3
Mon, 23 Feb   Coupled Harmonic Oscillators  - Many body physics       4
Mon, 9 Mar   Waves  - The origins of the quantum revolution          5
Mon, 23 Mar   Lorentz Symmetry  - Einstein's Spacetime                6