PH435, Capstones in Physics: Classical Mechanics

Fall 2017

Dr. Davide Lazzati email

Syllabus (Includes information on textbooks, office hours, contact, grading policy)

Problem Solving Tips (rubric will not be used for grading but provides a wealth of relevant information)

Class Schedule




Wednesday, Sept 20

Class Intro:
Rules and Regulations
What I expect and what you should be expecting from me
Important Homework Rules
Newtonian Mechanics:
Read Chapter 1 of Taylor taxtbook
HW1 (Available on Canvas; due Friday Sept 29, at noon)

Friday, Sept 22

Velocity Dependent Forces:
Derivation of a sensible equation for the drag force
Viscous vs. Momentum Drag

Taylor 2.1, 2.2

Monday, Sept 25

Velocity Dependent Forces:
Terminal velocity
Equations of motion for viscous and momentum drag

Taylor 2.3, 2.4

Wednesday, Sept 27

Velocity Dependent Forces:
Projectile motion with drag

Taylor 2.3, 2.4
A python routine to compute the motion of a projectile with drag Download here

Friday, Sept 29

Rocket Motion:
Derivation of equation of motion

Taylor Section 3.2
HW1 due by end of class
HW2 (Available on Canvas; due Friday Oct 6, at noon)

Monday, Oct 2

Rocket motion
Optimization of lift-off mass
Systems or particles:
Center of Mass
Momentum and Angular Momentum

Taylor Chapter 3 (lecture notes)

Wednesday, Oct 4

Systems or particles:
Center of mass
Linear Momentum
Motion fo the center of mass

Taylor Chapter 3 (lecture notes)

Friday, Oct 6

Systems of Particles:
Angular Momentum, Torque, and Energy
Calculus of Variations:
Intro to brachistochrone and functionals

Taylor Chapter 6 (lecture notes)
HW2 due by end of class
HW3 (Available on Canvas; due Friday October 13, at noon)

Monday, Oct 9

Calculus of Variations:
Euler's Equation
Shortest path between two points

Taylor Chapter 6 (lecture notes)

Wednesday, Oct 11

Calculus of Variations:
The brachistochrone in all its glory

Taylor Chapter 6 (lecture notes)

Friday, Oct 13

Calculus of Variations:
The second form of Euler's equation
The brachistochrone (again!)

Taylor Chapter 6
HW3 due by end of class
HW4 (Available on Canvas; due Friday October 20, at noon)

Monday, Oct 16

Calculus of Variations:
Integral and linear constraints
Dido's problem

Taylor Chapter 6
Variational problems solving scheme (here)

Wednesday, Oct 18

Lagrangian Mechanics:
Hamilton's principle
Free particle
Simple pendulum

Taylor Chapter 7

Friday, Oct 20

Lagrangian mechanics:
Double pendulum

Taylor Chapter 7 (7.1, 7.2)
HW4 due by end of class
HW5 (Available on Canvas; due Friday October 27, at noon)

Monday, Oct 23


Wednesday, Oct 25

Lagrangian mechanics:
Generalized coordinates
Constraints and degrees of freedom

Taylor Chapter 7

Friday, Oct 27

Lagrangian mechanics:
Force of constraints
Lagrange multipliers
Time dependent constraints

Taylor Chapter 7
HW5 due by end of class
HW6 (Available on Canvas; due Friday November 4, at noon)

Monday, Oct 30

Lagrangian & Hamiltonian Mechanics
Cyclic generalized variables.
Generalized momenta and forces.
The Hamiltonian
Taylor Chapter 7

Wednesday, Nov 1

Hamiltonian mechanics
The Hamiltonian
Taylor Chapter 7 and 13

Wednesday, Dec 6

Final Exam
at 6pm (to Be Confirmed)

Last modified: Wed, Nov 1, 2017