UC Santa CruzUC Santa Cruz Department of Physics
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Physics 116B (Spring 2010): Mathematical Methods in Physics II

Course information

Instructor: Stefano Profumo
Office: ISB, Room 325
Phone Number: 831-459-3039
Office Hours:new!!! Thursday 2:45-3:45 PM, or by appointment
E-mail: profumo AT scipp.ucsc.edu

Teaching Assistant: Laura Daniel
Office: NS-II 308
Phone Number: 831-459-4588
Office Hours: new!!! Wednesdays 1:00PM-2:00PM, ISB 126
E-mail: ldaniel AT ucsc.edu

Homework Grader: Melissa Downey
E-mail: silverstarsaboveme AT gmail.com

Click here to download the syllabus in PDF format

Class Hours

Lectures: MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:10 PM, Phys. Sc. 110
Discussion Section: new!!! Thursdays 5:30PM-7:00PM, E2 192

Course description


Required Textbook

Other Textbooks

Course Outline

Topic Reading Period
Fourier Series and Transforms Boas, Chapter 7 Mar 31 - Apr 7
Ordinary Differential Equations Boas, Chapter 8 Apr 9 - Apr 30
Calculus of Variations Boas, Chapter 9 May 5 - May 12
Functions of a Complex Variable Boas, Chapter 14 May 14 - May 28
Course Review Jun 2 - Jun 4

Course Grading and Requirements

Student evaluations will be based on their performance in the following four tasks. The tasks and their relative weights in determining the students' overall course grades are given below:

  • 30% Weekly Homework (9 problem sets)

  • 10% Collaborative Learning Problems in Discussion Sections

  • 20% Midterm Exam (Friday, April 30, 11:00 AM)

  • 40% Final Exam (Monday, June 7, 12:00-3:00 PM)

Grade Chart

Weekly homework assignments will be handed out each Friday and are due at the beginning of class on the Friday of the following week. The homework problem sets are (effectively) not optional, and will consist of a few problems from Boas' textbook. You are encouraged to discuss the class material and homework problems with your classmates and to work in groups, but all submitted problems should represent your own work and understanding. Late homeworks can be submitted to the grader, but will not contribute any points to the final grade. The Grader will grade each homework, and is responsible for the given grade. Homework solutions will be made available on the course website each due date.

A few problems will be assigned at each discussion section to groups of 3-4 students (collaborative learning), coordinated by the teaching assistant. Grading will be given to those present to the discussion section. Under special circumstances, students can get the collaborative learning discussion section assignments in advance and turn them in to the Teaching Assistant if they cannot attend the section.

The midterm exam and the final exam will be held in the same classroom as the lectures. The midterm will be a 1 hour written exam in class (regular lecture time) on Friday April 30th, on the material covered up to Wednesday April 28th, while the final, on June 7 at 12:00 PM, will be three hours long and cover the complete course material. Both the midterm and the final will be open-book (you can bring with you any book or notes), but only non-graphical, non-programmable calculators will be allowed (it will be to the discretion of the Instructor to decide whether a calculator is or not allowed). Laptop computers and cellular phones of any kind will not be allowed. A practice midterm and final will be handed out a week before the exams. You must take the final exam to pass the course.

The minimal score not to fail the class is 60%.

The final evaluations will be as follows:

  • 60% to 70%: C range

  • 70% to 85%: B range

  • 85% to 100%: A range
Grade Chart

Homework exercises

The solutions are password protected, please email the instructor if you don't know the username and password.

Homework Set number (PDF) Due Date Solutions
HW Set #1 phys116B_HW01.pdf Friday April 9
Collaborative Learning Problem Set #1 phys116B_CL01.pdf Thursday April 8
Solutions to HW#1
HW Set #2 phys116B_HW02.pdf Friday April 16
Collaborative Learning Problem Set #2 phys116B_CL02.pdf Thursday April 15
Solutions to HW#2
HW Set #3 phys116B_HW03.pdf Friday April 23
Collaborative Learning Problem Set #3 phys116B_CL03.pdf Thursday April 22
Solutions to HW#3
HW Set #4 phys116B_HW04.pdf Friday April 30
Solutions to HW#4
Collaborative Learning Problem Set #4 (Practice Midterm) phys116B_CL04.pdf Thursday April 29
Solutions to Practice Midterm
Another way to solve nasty Prob.#2
Midterm Exam Friday April 20
Midterm Solutions
Alternate Solution to Midterm Problem #2
HW Set #5 phys116B_HW05.pdf Friday May 7
Collaborative Learning Problem Set #5 phys116B_CL05.pdf Thursday May 6
Solutions to HW#5
HW Set #6 phys116B_HW06.pdf Friday May 14
Collaborative Learning Problem Set #6 phys116B_CL06.pdf Thursday May 13
Solutions to HW#6
HW Set #7 phys116B_HW07.pdf Friday May 21
Collaborative Learning Problem Set #7 phys116B_CL07.pdf Thursday May 20
Solutions to HW#7
HW Set #8 phys116B_HW08.pdf Friday May 28
Collaborative Learning Problem Set #8 phys116B_CL08.pdf Thursday May 27
Solutions to HW#8
HW Set #9 phys116B_HW09.pdf Friday June 4
Solutions to HW#9
PRACTICE FINAL -- C.L. Problem Set #9 phys116B_CL09.pdf Thursday June 3
Solutions to the Practice Final
Final Exam final.pdf Monday June 7
Solutions to the Final Exam


Galileo's Corner

La filosofia e' scritta in questo grandissimo libro che continuamente ci sta aperto innanzi a gli occhi (io dico l'universo), ma non si puo' intendere se prima non s'impara a intender la lingua, e conoscer i caratteri, ne' quali e' scritto. Egli e' scritto in lingua matematica, e i caratteri son triangoli, cerchi, ed altre figure geometriche, senza i quali mezzi e' impossibile a intenderne umanamente parola; senza questi e' un aggirarsi vanamente per un oscuro laberinto. (Galileo Galilei, Il Saggiatore, 1623)

Philosophy (Knowledge) is written in that great book which ever lies before our eyes (I call it the Universe), but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, and the letters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without which means it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word; without knowledge of those, it's a useless wandering in a dark labyrinth.

Last reviewed 01/29/2009 by Stefano Profumo.