Oscillations & Waves

Course Credits

PH 424: Paradigms in Physics: Oscillations and Waves meets 7 hours per week (MWF for 1 hour, TR for 2 hours) for five weeks for a total of 3 credits.

Prerequisites, Co-requisites and Enforced Prerequisites

Prereq: PH 411
Previous Paradigms in the sequence are assumed.  Prior mathematical introduction to differential equations is strongly recommended.

Office Hours

Matt Graham
Wngr 375

(541) 737-4386

graham@physics.oregonstate.edu link
Math Methods Interlude:
Corinne Manogue
Wngr 495 (541) 737-1695 corinne@oregonstate.edu link
TA: George Mattson Wngr 143    mattsong@oregonstate.edu link
LAs: Alex Eisenhauer, Ryan Tollefsen       link

Learning Resources

A complete list of required texts and other resources for the entire year of Paradigms courses can be found on the Paradigms website.

1. Class slides and supplemental instructor notes. Uploaded just after each class.

2. H. Georgi, 2nd Edition Free Online Text; Physics of Waves. This is a very comprehensive text, our class covers aspects of Chapters, 1-2, 5-9.
3. C. Manogue [Math Methods]: Linear Algebra, Online Paradigms Text

4. Recommended: Taylor, Classical Mechanics, University Science Books, 2005. ISBN 978-1891389221. [required for later paradigms]

Course Content

PH424 is a course about oscillations & waves. Oscillations & waves underpin almost all physical phenomena; it is not a discipline to itself, but rather a physical reality that future scientists need to develop a high-level of fluency.  Dynamics of mechanical, optical and electrical oscillations; time and frequency representations for driven damped oscillators, resonance; one-dimensional waves in classical mechanics and electromagnetism. Laboratories, data presentation, and scientific writing skills are emphazied.  All course content relates directly to practical in-class lab workshops.

Learning Outcomes

Course participants shall be able to:

1) demonstrate physical and mathematical fluency with damped and driven harmonic oscillatory systems.

2) explain and apply the concepts of resonance and phase to a variety of physical systems.

3) demonstrate proficiency with Fourier Series of simple waveforms, and apply them to solve driven harmonic oscillator systems.

4) become technically proficient with AC driven circuits, radios and coaxial cables (including concepts of impedance, phase and resonance).

5) solve the 1D wave equation with arbitrary initial conditions and apply it to explain the physics of wave mechanics in space, energy and time.

6) be able to communicate and apply the 1D wave equation at boundaries to understand reflection and transmission coefficients of waveforms (with wave attenuation).

7) learn to describe complex physical systems through differential equations by the application of physical principles like energy conservation or force balance. (ex. AC circuits, a coaxial cable, damped oscillators)

8) develop practical skills for data presentation, professional scientific writing, peer-review and general laboratory skills.

Evaluation of Student Performance

  • 35% Problem Sets and other assignments.
  • 25% Laboratory Manuscript & Coaxial Cable Abstract+Worksheet
  • 5% Labs Worksheets
  • 35% Final Exam
  • Practice problems provide simple examples for you to check whether or not you understand the material as you go along.  They will not be graded.  Sometimes solutions will be posted. 
  • Required problems will be graded.  Solutions will be posted online.  Assignments turned in after solutions are posted can earn at most 50% of the total points.  Very late assignments will earn less.  It is a good idea to turn in what you have done by the due date, and, if necessary, the rest later. Please consult the instructor for special circumstances.

Statement of Expectations for Student Conduct

Students will be expected to abide by all university rules regarding student conduct and academic honesty, in particular, see: link to University Rules.

Additional Ground Rules

Science is inherently a social and collaborative effort, each scientist building on the work of others. Nevertheless, each student must ultimately be responsible for his or her own education. Therefore, you will be expected to abide by a number of Ground Rules:

  1. We strongly encourage students to work with each other, more advanced students, the TA, and the professor, on assignments. However, each student is expected to turn in assignments that have been independently written up. In other words, the final synthesis must be entirely your own. This applies also to, and especially to, computer generated worksheets. If you work with someone on a computer project, do not get locked into writing the solution together. You will end up turning in the sameassignment.
  2. Problem set solutions from previous years are very strictly off limits. You are on your honor not to use them, and not to share your homework solutions with other students. Allow faculty to use their time interacting with you, rather than continually thinking up new assignments. Besides, if you don't do the work yourself, it will show up very clearly on exams later. Likewise, the solutions are for your use only. You may make one copy and keep it in your personal files.
  3. Sources must be appropriately documented. If you find a problem set worked out somewhere (other than problem set solutions from previous years), you may certainly use that resource, just make sure you reference it properly. If someone else helps you solve a problem, reference that too. In a research paper, the appropriate reference would be:    Jane Doe, (private communication).
  4. Plagiarism – representing someone else’s work as your own – is unethical, but collaboration and exchange of ideas is healthy. You can avoid having collaborative efforts take on the look of plagiarism by acknowledging sources and by writing up your work independently.
  5. If you find that you have worked on a problem without making any forward progress, it would be a good idea to stop and seek help.

Statement Regarding Students with Disabilities

Accommodations for students with disabilities are determined and approved by Disability Access Services (DAS). If you, as a student, believe you are eligible for accommodations but have not obtained approval please contact DAS immediately at 541-737-4098 or at http://ds.oregonstate.edu. DAS notifies students and faculty members of approved academic accommodations and coordinates implementation of those accommodations. While not required, students and faculty members are encouraged to discuss details of the implementation of individual accommodations.

Student Evaluation of Courses 

The online Student Evaluation of Teaching system opens to students the Monday of dead week and closes the Monday following the end of finals. Students will receive notification, instructions and the link through their ONID. They may also log into the system via Online Services. Course evaluation results are extremely important and used to help improve courses and the learning experience of future students. Responses are anonymous (unless a student chooses to “sign” their comments agreeing to relinquish anonymity) and unavailable to instructors until after grades have been posted. The results of scaled questions and signed comments go to both the instructor and their unit head/supervisor.  Anonymous (unsigned) comments go to the instructor only.