PHY820 Classical Mechanics

Course web-site: (This screen)


 Wu-Ki Tung ; (517)432-3624 ; Rm 213 PA Bldg

Final Grades:


Subject/Final exam and course percentage-scores/letter-grades are listed separately, as indicated.
The course grade takes into account home work, midterm and final.


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General E-mails

 Sunday, October 21 2001 11:37 pm


1. The Syllabus and assignments have been updated.

2. I will be out of town at a conference next Friday, 10/26. There will be no
class that day. I hope you will use that extra day to do some catch up.
Chapter 8 of Jose&Saletan contains description of both the conventional and
the rotation-matrix approach to rigid body motion. They introduce these two
approaches in the reverse order I am lecturing in class. I hope the
combination of the book and the lecture is helpful for you to get the subject
under control. It is trivial.

3. Those who have not stopped by my office to pick up the midterm, and to have
brief chat, please try to do so this week. Unfortunately, it is going to be
busy week for me. Please try Mon/Wed afternoons before 3pm or Tuesday

Wu-Ki Tung

 Wednesday, October 3 2001 10:16 pm

Hi everyone:

We discussed the Midterm date/time again in class today. I stand corrected by
the class that our previous agreement WAS Friday 12th (4-6pm), instead of my
earlier recollections of 19th. In that case, there is no real problem with
the date. Although there are other preferences, these are not the same. So,
unless I learn of any serious conflicts, 12th at 4-6 will be our date/time. I
believe Rm 317 will be available at those hours; but I will double check on

The problems in the exam will cover subjects up to oscillations; they will
fall within the realm of conventional textbooks on these subjects, and they
will not involve adventureous topics such as differential geometry.

Wu-Ki Tung

 Tuesday, October 2 2001 07:10 pm

Dear Phy820 Students:

During the last class, we discussed possible dates for our Midterm. Among
those present, we chose Oct. 19, 4 pm-6 pm, I believe. This choice was
made under the assumption that some of our Astrophysics students will be away
the week of (10/8 - 10/12). I just looked at the calendar, and realized two

* Maybe the above assumption was off by one week (that this week is the away
week for the Astrophysics people); and that everyone is available (10/8 -

* It turns out I am not available Friday 10/19 in the afternoon; so we will
have to find a different date.

Therefore, I am asking all of you, including those who were in class and those
who was away, whether Friday 10/12 is an acceptable date for our exam? If
not, what date would be appropriate?

I will discuss this with you again in class. But, if you will not be there,
please give your feedback by e-mail.

Thanks, and sorry for the misunderstanding.

 Friday, September 28 2001 01:43 pm Subject: homework, midterm ...


Homework: For those who will try to do the optional problems, I would
recommend using the notation I introduced in class (and explicitly given in
the notes I distributed), rather than that of the textbook. Problem 3.5 is
useful, in particular, in that it asks you to work out the general
relationships we discussed in terms of components in a coordinate basis. This
will make things more concrete for you; and also give you a feel about the
non-trivial aspects of the subject.

Midterm: I neglected in class to discuss choosing a convenient time for our
midterm. It will concern mostly practical (conventional) problems. Since some
Astronomy students will be away next week, and you also have other exams, I am
leaning toward 10/19 or 10/22. Also, we will need more than one hour to do
any reasonable problems. So, there are some logistics problems to consider as
well. Is everyone available in the hour following our class? If not, is
there any objection of holding the exam 5-7 or 7-9? We can discuss this in
class on Monday. If you are not coming to class, e-mail me your comments and


 Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 00:34:44 EDT To:

Dear Phy820 students:

Here are a few announcements.

* I have just updated the syllabus on the class web page, with new homework
assignments and projected lecture and reading topics.

* The somewhat unplanned lectures on differential geometry and the associated
homework assignment can be regarded as "optional", if you find them too
difficult. In that case, regard them as cultural outreach.

* The next "regular" topic is scattering. Sec. 4.1.1 is very standard, and
the textbook explains it rather clearly. There is no point for me to recite it
in class for you. You should go over it yourself, making sure you have the
subject under your belt. Sections 4.1.(2,3,4) are somewhat advanced. I would
recommend most of you to read through 4.1.2 and 4.1.4, and learn the physics
behind them, since they are interesting and are niced presented. I will make
some comments aboutthese, but will not have time to go over the details in the
lectures. Section 4.1.3 is much more complicated, but it is the first example
of "chaotic behavior" in classical mechanics. If you are strong, go for it.

* The topics in Sec. 4.2 concern various aspects of Oscillations. The regular
simple harmonic, damped, and forced oscillations are again standard. You must
know them, and there is no point for me to go over them in class. I will,
however, spend a reasonable amount of time discussing coupled oscillators,
normal modes associated with them, and relation to symmetries associated with
such systems. The underlying physics lies at the heart of many physical
systems, from classical wave-motion and E&M fields, to solid-state physics and
elementary particles and fields.

* We should think about a Midterm Exam, perhaps sometime in the week of 10/8.
We will discuss this in class.

See you on Wednesday.

Wu-Ki Tung