Syllabus Spring 2018 Physics 31100 Math Methods

Physics 311

Mathematical Methods in Physics

Spring 2018


Instructor:       Joel Koplik, Steinman 1M-19, x8162,

Class hours:     MW 10:00 to 11:40 in Steinman 1M-22

Office hours:   Afternoons 1 – 5 PM


Text: Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering by Riley, Hobson and Bence, 3rd ed. (Cambridge, 2006)


Prerequisites: Mathematics 39100-39200 and Physics 20700-20800


The course will present a concise applications-oriented treatment of advanced topics in applied math relevant to undergraduate students in science and engineering.  After completing the course, students will be able to

  1. Understand the linear vector space context of differential equations
  2. Solve ordinary differential equations by series and eigenfunction methods
  3. Understand the types of partial differential equation along with the appropriate boundary conditions for each.
  4. Solve partial differential equations by separation of variables, Green’s function and transform methods.
  5. Understand complex variable theory and its use for evaluation of integrals and integral transforms.

            f.   Use probability and statistics concepts in theoretical and experimental work


The sequence of topic covered is

            1. Linear vector spaces

            2. Sturm-Liouville theory and eigenfunctions

            3. Special functions (Bessel, Legendre, etc.)

            4. Partial differential equation – classification and boundary conditions

            5. Separation of variables 

            6. Green’s functions

            7. Complex variables

            8. Integral transforms

            9. Probability and statistics


Grades in the course will be based on

             weekly problems sets -           1/3 of grade

             two in-class exams -               1/3 of grade

             final exam  -                           1/3 of grade