PHZ 3113 Introduction to Theoretical Physics — Fall 2013 Section 3924

Class Meetings    Monday, Wednesday, Friday period 6 (12:50–1:40 p.m.) in NPB 1220
Instructor    Prof. Bernard F. Whiting, NPB 2079 (392-8746,
Office Hours Mon, Wed, Fri 11:00 a.m.–noon; Tue, Thu 3:00–4:00 p.m.; or by appointment
Web Page
Required Text   Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences by Mary L. Boas (3rd ed., Wiley, 2005)

Summary: PHZ 3113 is a practical introduction to mathematical methods that are useful in various areas of physics. These methods are illustrated using examples from mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and statistical physics. However, the emphasis is on the mathematical techniques, not their physical applications.

Aim: On completion of this course, you should have a sound understanding of mathematical techniques that are commonly used in physics, and be able to apply this understanding to problems related to different sub-fields of the discipline. The skills that you acquire should prove helpful in other physics courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Prerequisites: You should have successfully completed the Honors Physics sequence PHY 2060–2061. You should also have passed MAC 2313 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 3. If you are in doubt as to whether you should take PHZ 3113, please consult the instructor as soon as possible.

Text: You will need access to the course text to supplement the lectures, to complete reading assignments and as a source of practice problems. However, you do not necessarily need to purchase your own individual copy.

Homework: Problem solving is integral to mastering any area of physics. For this reason, there will be 11 homework assignments during the semester. You will also be recommended to attempt other problems from the text. You should make a good-faith attempt to tackle the problems on your own, but do not spend an inordinate amount of time on any one problem. If you get stuck, feel free to discuss your conceptual or technical difficulties with other students or with the instructor. Constructive collaboration is encouraged, but you are required to write up your own final solution, and you must list the names of any and all collaborators and/or solution sources. Providing such a list will not reduce your grade in any way, whereas failure to acknowledge your sources or copying of some else's solutions are acts of academic misconduct.

Each of the 11 homework assignments will have the same maximum number of points available. The sum of your best 10 homework scores will make up 40% of your overall score on PHZ 3113. Homework will normally be due at the start of a class. Homework may be submitted for 50% credit until the start of the class after the due date. After that, credit will be available only in rare cases of excused absence (see Attendance Policy below).

Note that you may turn in for full credit any question parts that you have completed before the deadline, and later submit additional work for partial credit. However, only the first submitted version of each separate question part [e.g., question 2(c)] will be graded.

Since only ten of eleven homework scores contribute to your grade, you can skip one assignment without penalty. You are advised to keep this "free drop" in reserve, in case of some unforeseen eventuality (such as illness) late in the semester. No makeups will be offered for students who miss or are late on two or more assignments. Requirements for class attendance and make-up exams, submitted assignments, and other work in this course are consistent with university policies that can be found in the online catalog at: Attendance Policies.

Exams: There will be three exams held during evening periods E2 and E3 (8:20–10:10 p.m.); see "Schedule" below for the dates and locations. There will be no final exam.

Each exam will count 20% toward your final course grade. Graded exams will be returned in class or during office hours. Exam solutions will be distributed in class and posted online.

The understanding and skills necessary for success on the exams will be developed by steady work over the entire semester, not by last-minute cramming.

Grades: The maximum possible total score on the homework assignments will be scaled to 200. Each of the three exams will carry a maximum possible score of 100. Letter grades will be assigned on the basis of the overall course score out of 500. Guidance as to the likely scale used to convert course scores to letter grades will be provided after the first two exams and before the third exam. Grades will be assigned in accordance with the University's Grading Policies.

Attendance Policy: Attendance at lectures is strongly recommended. Material not contained in the textbook will be presented and, in some cases, tested in homework and/or exams. Even if you miss a lecture, you are responsible for staying informed of the material covered and any announcements made in class. Important announcements will also be posted on the Web, and may be accessed by following the Announcements link from the course Web page.

Any unexcused absence from an exam will result in a score of zero for that exam. An absence will be excused only if it meets the criteria laid out in the University's attendance policies and if the student provides written documentation from an appropriate professional. Whenever possible, the instructor should be informed of any absence before the day of the exam.

How to Succeed in PHZ 3113: You should attend class to learn about the basic concepts and how to apply them in solving problems. Arrive on time for class, since announcements will generally be made at the start of each lecture.

It will likely benefit you to read the textbook in advance to acquaint yourself with the material to be covered. This will allow you to focus during the class on the more subtle points.

You should work all the homework assignments, which form an essential part of the course. With all the opportunities to achieve a high score (see "Homework" above), you should look to the homework to establish a strong foundation for your overall course score (see "Grades" above).

Problem solving provides a good measure of your understanding of basic principles by testing your ability to combine different physical concepts as they apply to unfamiliar situations. If you find that you are struggling with the homework, or if you want to improve your performance on the exams, you should practice additional problems beyond the assigned homework. The best source of practice problems is the text. Your grade in this course will be based solely on your success at solving problems during homework assignments and exams, so there will be a direct payoff for your effort.

You will learn most if you try each problem on your own first. If you get stuck, talk the problem over with a friend, consult the instructor, or check the solution (if one is available). Whenever you need help to complete a problem it is essential, though, that you consolidate your new understanding by successfully doing another problem of the same type by yourself. Don't despair if you seem to make a lot of mistakes at the start. A successful physicist is basically somebody who has made all possible mistakes in the past and has learned how to avoid repeating most of them!

If you are encountering difficulties with PHZ 3113, don't wait; seek help immediately. The course content is largely cumulative, so if you fall behind it will be hard to catch up. You are encouraged to consult with the instructor in person or via e-mail. When using e-mail, please make any physics questions as specific as possible, and recognize that it may be some time before you get a reply (especially outside normal business hours). Discussion of complex matters is usually best conducted face to face, either immediately after class or during office hours. If your schedule prevents you from attending office hours, feel free to contact the instructor to set up an appointment at a more convenient time.

Accommodations: Students requesting classroom accommodations must first register with the Disabilities Resources Center, 0001 Reid Hall. The Disabilities Resources Center will provide documentation to the student, who must then deliver this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodations.

Academic Honesty: All University of Florida students are required to abide by the University's Academic Honesty Guidelines and by the Honor Code, which reads as follows:

We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment."

Cheating, plagiarism, or other violations of the Academic Honesty Guidelines will not be tolerated and will be pursued through the University's adjudication procedures. You are obligated to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel.

Online Evaluation: Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course based on 10 criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at Evaluations. Evaluations are typically open during the last two or three weeks of the semester, but students will be given specific times when they are open. Summary results of these assessments are available to students at Evaluation Results.

Emergencies: Here is the phone number (392-1575) and contact site for university counseling services and mental health services: Counseling. For the University Police Department, dial 392-1111 or 9-1-1 for emergencies.

Schedule: The schedule below lists (1) the topics planned for each week, cross-referenced to the text, (2) the planned due-date of each homework assignment, and (3) the tentative date of each evening exam. It is your responsibility to be aware of any changes announced in class. Important announcements will also be posted on the the Web.

Week 1 Aug 21,23 Series (Ch. 1)
Week 2 Aug 26 Series (Ch. 1)
Aug 28,30 Partial differentiation (Ch. 4)
Aug 30 HW 1 due
Week 3 Sep 2 No class (Labor Day)
Sep 4,6 Multiple integrals (Ch. 5)
Sep 6 HW 2 due
Week 4 Sep 9–13 Vector analysis (Ch. 6)
Sep 13 HW 3 due
Week 5 Sep 16–20 Dirac delta functions (Ch. 8.11), curvilinear coordinates (Ch. 10.8)
Sep 20 HW 4 due
Week 6 Sep 23 Catch-up/Review
  Exam 1 (8:20–10:10 p.m. in NPB 1002) tentative
Sep 25,27 Applications of vector fields
Week 7 Sep 30–Oct 4 Complex numbers (Ch. 2)
Oct 4 HW 5 due
Week 8 Oct 7–11 Functions of a complex variable (Ch. 14)
Oct 11 HW 6 due
Week 9 Oct 14–18 Functions of a complex variable (Ch. 14)
Oct 18 HW 7 due
Week 10 Oct 21–25 Linear algebra (Ch. 3)
Oct 25 HW 8 due
Week 11 Oct 28 Catch-up/Review
Oct 29 Exam 2 (8:20–10:10 p.m. in NPB 1002) tentative
Oct 30, Nov 1 Linear algebra (Ch. 3)
Week 12 Nov 4,6 Fourier analysis (Ch. 7)
Nov 6 HW 9 due
Nov 8 No class (Homecoming)
Week 13 Nov 11 No class (Veterans Day)
Nov 13,15 Fourier analysis (Ch. 7), ordinary differential equations (Ch. 8)
Nov 15 HW 10 due
Week 14 Nov 18 Ordinary differential equations (Chs. 8, 12)
Nov 20,22 Ordinary and Partial differential equations (Ch. 12, 13)
Nov 22 HW 11 due
Week 15 Nov 25 Partial differential equations (Ch. 13)
Nov 27–29 No class (Thanksgiving)
Week 16 Dec 2 Catch-up/Review
Dec 4 Catch-up/Review
  Exam 3 (8:20–10:10 p.m. in NPB 1002) tentative