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PHYS 350: Classical Mechanics


Fall 2013


Instructor: Seth Major, smajor, x4919, Sci G052
Meeting: MWF 1:00-2:15 PM SCCT G041
Office Hours: Monday 2-5 and Thursday 2-5



  • Congratulations we are all done!


Course Info:

course syllabus (updated)

Weekly Guides (pdf):



  • Here is the Maple intro for Friday, September 6.
  • For more on Reynolds number and falling spheres see Coutler and Adler, an article in American Journal of Physics. Fluid flow and spheres plots and discussion of Reynolds number from NASA. Much more detail is contained in this open courseware pdf from MIT.
  • There is a very nice applet on galaxy rotation curves here, hosted by Case Western Reserve University's Department of Astronomy. You get to try fit to data using disk and halo mass models.
  • The "Hamilton Standard Beach Ball" Data: mass (empty) 115 g, radius 19 cm.
  • Henri Poincare in a 1903 essay Science and Method writes "If we knew exactly the laws of nature and the situation of the universe at the initial moment, we could predict exactly the situation of that same universe at a succeeding moment. but even if it were the case that the natural laws had no longer any secret for us, we could still only know the initial situation approximately. If that enabled us to predict the succeeding situation with the same approximation, that is all we require, and we should say that the phenomenon had been predicted, that it is governed by laws. But it is not always so; it may happen that small differences in the initial conditions produce very great ones in the final phenomena. A small error in the former will produce an enormous error in the latter. Prediction becomes impossible, and we have the fortuitous phenomenon."
  • Here is a link to a site with applets and activities showing the least action "in action" in simple mechanical problems.
  • A numerical demo for the damped, driven pendulum.
  • The website on fractals used by Sunrose and Spencer in their presentation. The simulations of the logistic map are under Java Software>1-Dimensional Dynamics.
  • The Jodrell Bank Observatory news release about a massive companion to a pulsar mentioned in the Week 7 guide. Note that more recent observations suggest that the compaion is not a solar mass black hole.
  • The worksheet for the double pendulum.
  • Here is the rope wrap data (in .xlsx format).
  • The perfect storm as described by NOAA.
  • I have compiled a short review outlining the topics we discussed. Here is the potpourri of old and new final problems.
  • Feynman's wobbling plate applet.
  • The University of Guelph has a lovely and very short Foucault pendulum. They also host a set of web pages on the phenomenon, including details


    Last modified 22 December 2013 link to Seth's Net Home link to Department of Physics link to archives link to gr-qc link to gr-qc/new archive seacrh form