Course description: This course will present an introduction to a variety of mathematical methods applied to problems in physics. I plan to cover selected sections from the first eleven chapters of the text (skipping chapter 5) plus chapter 14. Topics include ordinary differential equations (ODEs), infinite series, integrals and integral transforms, linear algebra, special functions, partial differential equations (PDEs), eigenvalue problems, perturbation theory, integral equations and probability.
Textbook: J. Mathews and R. Walker, Mathematical Methods of Physics, 2nd Ed., W.A. Benjamin, Menlo Park CA (1970). You will also need a good handbook of mathematical formulas. I strongly recommend M. Abramowitz and I. Stegun, Handbook of Mathematical Functions, Dover, New York (1965). A useful supplementary text is G. Arfken, Mathematical Methods for Physicists, 3rd Ed., Academic Press, San Diego (1985).
Homework: Solutions will be available in the Reserve Book Room, ask for binder 24444. Late homework will not be accepted but the lowest homework score will be dropped.
Computers: You are encouraged to use symbolic manipulators to assist you with your homework as long as your solution displays a coherent, logical train of thought. In other words, your solution should contain enough intermediate steps as to be easily checked by hand.
Exams: There will be two midterm exams plus a final exam. Each exam will be based on problems similar to those assigned as homework. The tests will be open book. One sheet of notes and a calculator will be allowed in the exam. All exams will be curved. Final exam will be cumulative.
Grades: Towards the final grade, homework counts 35%; each midterm counts 20%; and the final counts 25%.
Emergencies: If you hear a continuous alarm or are told to evacuate the building, walk quickly to the nearest stairway at the end of each hall. Do not use the elevator. Take your personal belongings with you. Be quiet and follow instructions. Move away from the building and do not return until informed by police or coordinators.