Fall 2010                         Instructor: Brad deYoung





Brad deYoung



The goal of this course is to integrate computational techniques that are used in physics with the development of students' knowledge of classical mechanics. The course will interweave computational techniques with mechanics by having students work with computers on mechanics problems during, and after, class. There will be a mix of regular lectures plus computer useage in a workshop environment. The primary programming language will be Mathematica. We will use Macs during class and the the lab but the numerical analysis can be performed on any platform. The software, Mathematica, is available for purchase in the Computer Purchasing Centre.

The clases will be in C-2045 and the labs in C-2039. The lab is available for your use anytime there is no class there. The schedule for the lab is located here .

The exam will be from 9:00 to 11:00 AM on Saturday 8 December in C-2031/2038.

The outline for the course is located here.

Fall 2012 Lectures

  • Introductory Lecture
  • Introductory Mathematica
  • Past Physics Part 1
  • Past Physics Part 2
  • Projectile Motion
  • Conservative Forces - Notebook
  • Conservative Forces - Notes
  • Drag Forces
  • Numerical Notes
  • Mathematica Numerical Calculus
  • Runge-Kutta Notes
  • ODE Notebook
  • Complex Numbers
  • Damped Oscillator
  • Oscillator Notebook
  • Forced Oscillators
  • Coupled Oscillators
  • Transients
  • Curve Fitting
  • Data Analysis

    Assignments and Projects

  • Assignment 1 - Solutions
  • Assignment 2 - Solutions
  • Assignment 3 - Solutions
  • Assignment 4 - Solutions
  • Assignment 5 - Solutions
  • Assignment 6 - Male data - Female data - Solutions

    Hint: For Assignment 6 question 3 the perturbation expansion of the pendulum you can find the form of lambda by taking the first two terms in the Taylor series expansion for sin(theta) and rearranging the pendulum equation.

    To submit assignments you will need to get the file onto your lab account and then drop it into the dropbox, just as you do for the lab files. To get it onto the lab computer you can transfer it with a USB key or mail it to yourself and then download it there. Whichever works for you.


    Solution to Mid-Term

    Sample Final

    Here is a sample final exam from a few years ago. I will post solutions on Thursday. Note that one of the questions appeared on the most recent assignment. Solutions


    Software for the course is required and is available from the Computer Purchasing Center. They are located in the temporary building next to the Science Building. The software will cost $50 and the licence will be good for one year. The software will run on Windows, Mac and Linux machines.

    There is another option and that is to buy a student copy directly from Mathematica. You can buy it online. You do have to send them proof that you are a student. For the moment the price is $125 but you can get a student discount by using the promotional code PD1637. This licence will good for as long as you are student so it could be a better arrangement than the copy from CPC for one year.

    Mathematica and Computer reference material

    Mathematica Video Tutorials

      These are some simple video tutorials that might be helpful in reviewing Mathematica or perhaps in learning about something that we have not yet covered.

    1. Tutorial 1 An introduction on how to manipulate algebraic functions by factoring, expanding, solving and simplifying.
    2. Tutorial 2 This tutorial will demonstrate how to solve and simplify systems of equations by eliminating variables, solving, and finding the roots.
    3. Tutorial 3 This tutorial explains how to define functions in Mathematica and how to enter built in functions. It also covers basic plotting, labelling your plot, plot options, and also it will show how to find a minimum on a graph.
    4. Tutorial 4 This tutorial will show how to combine plots in Mathematica by using different colours to distinguish between them. It will also show some more advanced graphing.
    5. Tutorial 5 This tutorial will show how to enter data into a list plot and how to characterize the plot by using different options available for list plots. It will also show how to fit data to a model. Finally it will show how to apply error bars to your data points in a list plot.
    6. Tutorial 6 This tutorial will demonstrate how to rearrange equations using Mathematica. It will also show some statistical measurements. This tutorial is also an introduction to entering matrices into Mathematica and using basic operations to manipulate the matrices.
    7. Tutorial 7 This tutorial will show how to find the determinant, transpose, and inverse of a matrix. It will also show how to find the eigenvectors and eigenvalues of a given matrix.
    8. Tutorial 8 This tutorial will show how to differentiate, integrate and how to find limits of functions using Mathematica.
    9. Tutorial 9 This tutorial will show how to solve ordinary differential equations. It will also introduce how to create a power series and how to manipulate series using basic operations.

  • Last updated 6 December 2012