Physics 410

Physics 410 Syllabus

(spring 2005)

Instructor: D. Brill   Office: 4202 Physics Bldg   Tel: X5 6027   email:
                      Office hours: Thursday 11-1

The texbook for this course (different from past years) is

Classical Mechanics by John R. Taylor

published by University Science books.

Here is the solution to the first exam, for the second exam and for the FINAL.

This is the derivation of Lagrange's equations without using calculus of variations.

The current Assigment is found below. For past assignments and their solutions see
From assignment 4 on the solutions are password protected (eminently reasonable request of book's author).
Some of the assigned problems or solutions in back (or the rest of the text you may be reading) may have misprints, check the errata
Please evaluate this course at

Assignment 12 due May 11. This is the last assignment! If you need more time, get it to me by May 13. Solutions will be posted that day.

  1. a. Text problem 15.5.
    b. A goes to the same star at the same speed, but returns at 0.8c. What time on B's clock does he return? How long do A's clocks say he was gone?
    c. A goes off at 0.8c, B waits for two years and then chases after A at 0.95c. When do they meet, according to Earth's clock, and according to A's clock? Draw a space-time diagram for the travel of A and B.
  2. Text problem 15.14 a and c. Draw a space-time diagram showing a rod moving to the right. When its left end passes the origin, it emits the light that will eventually be observed. Draw the worldline of the observer who is at rest far enough to the right on the x-axis so he receives that light before the rod runs into him. Find the point (event) on the worldline of the rod's right end that emits its light so it reaches the observer at the same time as that from the left end. Also draw the worldlines of some of the markings on the static graduated scale, which the observer uses to judge the seen length of the rod. It will be obvious that this length is more than l. To show that it is more than l0, construct the relevant hyperbola that transfers l0 to the x-axis.
  3. Text problem 15.27. Do it via the "standard boost" matrix (15.43), so it is just a problem of matrix multiplication and identifying components.
  4. Text, problem 15.74. Draw a 4-momentum space diagram of the process in S and in the CM frame, including the mass hyperbolas for ma and mb.
  5. Text problem 15.92. Draw a 4-momentum space diagram of the process for the rest frame of the pion, including the mass hyperbola for the muon. You can use this digram to tell you what equations to write to obtain the answer.

Week of     Chapter        
Jan 261, 2
Jan 313, 4
Feb 76, 7
Feb 147
Feb 217
Feb 288
March 79
Exam I this week
March 1410
March 21Spring Break
March 2810
April 411
April 1113
April 1812
April 2515
Exam II April 27
May 215
May 13Review
May 18Final Exam 8 am
in usual lecture room (0405)

Grading scheme (approximate): each hour exam and homework 20%, Final 40%