UC Santa CruzUC Santa Cruz Department of Physics
View of the Bay from Campus

Physics 116B (Spring 2011): Mathematical Methods in Physics II

Course information

Instructor: Stefano Profumo
Office: ISB, Room 325
Phone Number: 831-459-3039
Office Hours:new!!! Wednesday 2PM - 3:30PM, or by appointment
E-mail: profumo AT scipp.ucsc.edu

Teaching Assistant: Max Wainwright
Office: ISB, Room 320
Phone Number: 831-459-4762
Office Hours: new!!! Tuesday 6PM - 7:10PM, or by appointment
E-mail: cwainwri AT ucsc.edu

Homework Grader: Geno Viscuso
E-mail: gviscuso AT ucsc.edu

Click here to download the syllabus in PDF format

Class Hours

Lectures: Tu-Th, 4:00 PM - 5:45 PM, Soc Sci 2 075

Discussion Section (a.k.a. "Wednesday Quizzes"):
Regular Section: Wednesdays 3:30 PM - 4:40 PM, Phys Sciences 110
Special Section: Tuesdays 6:00 PM - 7:10 PM, Room ISB 231

Course description


Required Textbook

Other Textbooks

Course Outline

Topic Reading Period
Fourier Series and Transforms Boas, Chapter 7 Mar 29 - Apr 7
Ordinary Differential Equations Boas, Chapter 8 Apr 12 - Apr 28
Calculus of Variations Boas, Chapter 9 May 3 - May 10
Functions of a Complex Variable Boas, Chapter 14 May 12 - May 26
Course Review May 31 - Jun 2

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:

  • 20% Weekly Homework (9 problem sets)

  • 20% Wednesday Quizzes (during 7 Discussion Sections)

  • 20% Midterm Exam (Thursday April 28, 4:45 PM)

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

Weekly Homework

Weekly homework assignments will be handed out each Thursday and are due at the beginning of class on the Thursday 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. Grades for each homework set will consist of 2 points (mostly correct), 1 point (less than 50% correct) or 0 points (no homework returned in time). Homework solutions will be typically made available on the course website on the homework due date.

Wednesday Quizzes

This class will have only one midterm. Effectively, the second midterm will be spread out over discussion sections in the form of 7 "Wedensday Quizzes" (WQ), on the following Wednesdays: April 6, 13, 20, and May 4, 11, 18, 25. During the first 20 minutes of discussion section you will be asked to solve one or two problems on the material discussed during the previous week in class. You will then hand in your work to the TA, who will grade it on a 2-1-0 points scale. The rest of discussion section will be devoted to understanding the solution to the assigned problems, and, time permitting, to questions on homework or class material. The idea behind Wednesday Quizzes is to keep you "on pace" with the material discussed in class. If you regularly attend class and pay attention, you shouldn't have any problems tackling the questions that will be assigned on WQ. Notice that WQ will all be open book tests. Special arrangements will be made with the TA if you absolutely cannot make it to discussion section on a regular basis.

Midterm and Final

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 Thursday April 28th, on the material covered up to Tuesday April 26th, while the final (Tuesday June 7, 12:00PM) 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 up 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 grade will follow the percent guideline below:

  • 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 Thursday April 7 phys116B_HW01_soln.pdf
Wed Quiz #1 phys116B_WQ01.pdf Wednesday April 6 phys116B_WQ01_soln.pdf
HW Set #2 phys116B_HW02.pdf Thursday April 14 phys116B_HW02_soln.pdf
Wed Quiz #2 phys116B_WQ02.pdf Wednesday April 13 phys116B_WQ02_soln.pdf
HW Set #3 phys116B_HW03.pdf Thursday April 21 phys116B_HW03_soln.pdf
Wed Quiz #3 phys116B_WQ03.pdf Wednesday April 20 phys116B_WQ03_soln.pdf
HW Set #4 phys116B_HW04.pdf Thursday April 28 phys116B_HW04_soln.pdf
Practice Midterm practice_midterm.pdf Wednesday April 27 practice_midterm_solutions.pdf
Midterm midterm.pdf Thursday April 28 midterm_solutions.pdf
Wed Quiz #4 phys116B_WQ04.pdf Wednesday May 4 phys116B_WQ04_soln.pdf
HW Set #5 phys116B_HW05.pdf Thursday May 5 phys116B_HW05_soln.pdf
Wed Quiz #5 phys116B_WQ05.pdf Wednesday May 11 phys116B_WQ05_soln.pdf
HW Set #6 phys116B_HW06.pdf Thursday May 12 phys116B_HW06_soln.pdf
Wed Quiz #6 phys116B_WQ06.pdf Wednesday May 18 phys116B_WQ06_soln.pdf
HW Set #7 phys116B_HW07.pdf Thursday May 19 phys116B_HW07_soln.pdf
Wed Quiz #7 phys116B_WQ07.pdf Wednesday May 25 phys116B_WQ07_soln.pdf
HW Set #8 phys116B_HW08.pdf Thursday May 26 phys116B_HW08_soln.pdf
Practice Final practice_final.pdf Tue/Thu May 31-June 2 practice_final_soln.pdf
HW Set #9 phys116B_HW09.pdf Thursday June 2 phys116B_HW09_soln.pdf
Second Practice Final second_practice_final.pdf Tue/Wed June 1-2 second_practice_final_soln.pdf
Final final.pdf Tue June 7 final_solutions.pdf


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.