29::205 Classical Mechanics Syllabus

  Fall Semester 2014



  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 11:00AM-noon.  Feel free to schedule appointments at other times.


Main textbooks:

Additional references:


The course is focused on the basic principles of classical mechanics and their applications. It follows closely LL and is organized as follows:
  1. Principle of least action and Euler-Lagrange equations
  2. Symmetries of the action and conserved quantities  (Noether theorem)
  3. Symmetry groups, covariance and tensors.
  4. Integrable systems (one dimensional potentials, Kepler problem, free rigid body)
  5. Particle collisions
  6. Motion of a rigid body
  7. Small oscillations
  8. Hamiltonian and Canonical formalism
In addition, if time permits, the course will provide a brief introduction to some of the following topics: dynamical systems, ordinary differential equations and their numerical solutions, perturbations of integrable models, chaos, importance of the least action principle in quantum mechanics, and constrained systems. Some of these more advanced topics are discussed in SGR's textbook. Fell free to suggest other
topics or ways to enhance class participation or student involvement.

A reading assignment and a problem set will be provided each week.
Student solutions of problem sets are due on Tuesdays.
No late work is accepted (after noon on Wednesday). The two lowest homework grades are dropped from the homework average used in the final grade. The students are expected to read some of the material before class and to go through the solved problems in LL. The class should take 9-12 hours/week of your time.


The final grade will be based on the  homework (30 percent),  two midterms (40 percent), and the final (30 percent).  The CLAS recommendation for advanced courses is A:22%,  B: 38%, C:36% but the small
size of the class allows a flexible use of the recommendation. It also recommends that: "Few or no grades of A+ should ever be awarded except for truly extraordinary work". Plus/minus grading will be used.
 The dates for the final exam will be provided by the registrar  later in the semester  (see final exam schedule).  Until this information is available assume that you need to be present for the entire exam week.
The tentative dates for the midterms are October 7 and November 18.


Attendance at lectures is highly recommended but not required. It is the student responsibility to
obtain material, assignments sheets, etc. provided during missed classes.
 You are strongly encouraged to ask questions during the lectures. There are no ``stupid questions''.


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Policies and Procedures

Administrative Home
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the administrative home of this course and governs matters such as the add/drop deadlines, the second-grade-only option, and other related issues. Different colleges may have different policies. Questions may be addressed to 120 Schaeffer Hall or see the CLAS Academic Handbook.


Electronic Communication
University policy specifies that students are responsible for all official correspondences sent to their standard University of Iowa e-mail address (@uiowa.edu). Students should check their account frequently. (Operations Manual, III.II.15. 2. k.11.)

Academic Fraud
Plagiarism and any other activities when students present work that is not their own are academic fraud and are considered by the College to be a very serious matter. Academic fraud is reported by the instructor to the departmental DEO who enforces the departmental consequences. The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Curriculum is also informed. The Associate Dean enforces collegiate consequences which may included suspension or expulsion. See the CLAS Academic Handbook.

Making a Suggestion or a Complaint
Students with a suggestion or complaint should first visit the instructor, then the course supervisor and the departmental Associate chair. Paul Kleiber. Complaints must be made within six months of the incident. See the CLAS Academic Handbook.  

Accommodations for Disabilities
A student seeking academic accommodations should register with Student Disability Services and meet privately with the course instructor to make particular arrangements. For more information, visit this site.

Understanding Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment subverts the mission of the University and threatens the well-being of students, faculty, and staff. All members of the UI community have a responsibility to uphold this mission and to contribute to a safe environment that enhances learning. Incidents of sexual harassment should be reported immediately. See the UI Comprehensive Guide on Sexual Harassment at www.uiowa.edu/~eod/policies/sexual-harassment-guide/index.html for assistance, definitions, and the full University policy.

Reacting Safely to Severe Weather
In severe weather, the class members should seek shelter in the innermost part of the building, if possible at the lowest level, staying clear of windows and free-standing expanses. The class will continue if possible when the event is over. (Operations Manual, IV. 16.14. Scroll down to sections e and i for severe weather information.)

*The CLAS policy statements have been summarized from the web pages of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.