Intermediate Theoretical Methods

University of Maryland, Spring 2006
Instructor: Ted Jacobson
Room 4115 (Physics Bldg.), 301-405-6020,, 
Office hours: After class, or by appointment.
Class meetings: MF 1:00-1:50pm, W 1:00-2:50pm (PHY 1402)

Textbook: A Guided Tour of Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences, 2nd Edition
by Roel Snieder,  Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (September 23, 2004)
ISBN: 0521834929

Course content:  Introduction to use of mathematics in doing physics, approximation techniques, tricks of the trade.
Topics: dimensional analysis, series expansions, integration, vector calculus, linear algebra, Fourier series, complex analysis.
Physics applications will come from  mechanics, Maxwell's equations, fluid mechanics, vibrations and waves, quantum mechanics,...

Course web site :   Homework assignments, class notes, supplements, and solutions will all be posted at the course web site, .

E-mail:    I encourage students to make use of e-mail for quick correspondence with me regarding lecture material, homework problems, or whatever. I will also use e-mail to communicate with the class at large. I can often be reached at night or on weekends by email. Students are responsible for making sure I have their correct email address and checking their email daily. Important messages will sometimes be sent to the class by email.

Homework:   Usually assigned weekly. Late homework accepted only under dire circumstances.  If you know it will be impossible to turn in an assignment on time you must discuss this with me in advance of the due date. Medical  reasons accepted  only with a doctor's note. You are encouraged to discuss the homework with others, but what you finally hand in should be your own formulation of the solutions. Please make sure you include your name and the homework and course numbers and staple the pages together. Homework sets must show reasoning leading to the final answers in a clear and readable fashion to obtain credit.

Exams:  Three exams, probably take-home.
Grading: The course grade will be based on the homework and  exams. The lowest two homework scores will be dropped. The relative weights will  be adjusted at the end of the semester to maximize the total for each student,   with the homework in the range 25 +/- 5%, and each of the three exams in the   range 25 +/- 10%. The letter  grades corresponding to numerical scores will be determined after reviewing the class performance as a whole.

Tips for doing well :

Academic honesty:  The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized  Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students.  As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course.  It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of  Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit  The University has adopted an Honor Pledge, which is a statement undergraduate and graduate students are asked to write by hand and sign on examinations, papers, or other academic assignments not specifically exempted by the instructor. The Pledge reads: "I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment/examination." In this course it is assumed that all students have entered the University agreeing to the honor principle which would apply in general to all campus activities, so usually no specific statement is required. As for this course in particular, note that although you are encouraged to discuss homework with others, the work you turn in should be your own formulation and should reflect your own understanding. This is perhaps a fine line to judge in some cases. Please ask Dr. Jacobson if you have any questions.