Intermediate Theoretical Methods

University of Maryland, Spring 2008

Instructor: Ted Jacobson

Room 4115 (Physics Bldg.), 301-405-6020, jacobson_at_umd.edu, http://www.glue.umd.edu/~jacobson

Office hours: After class, or by appointment.

Class meetings: WF 1:00-2:50pm, Room PHY 1402

Grader: Abraham Sahilemeskel, Room 3101, 301-405-6194, miramoth_at_umd.edu

Textbook: A Guided Tour of Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences, 2nd Edition

by Roel Snieder, Cambridge University Press; 2nd edition (September 23, 2004)

ISBN: 0521834929

Course content: Conversational mathematics for physics students.

Math topics: dimensional analysis, series expansions, approximation, 1-d calculus, vector calculus, partial differential equations, complex analysis, Fourier series, linear algebra.

Physics applications: 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, http://www.physics.umd.edu/grt/taj/374c/ .

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 Policies:

- Usually assigned weekly.
- Please make sure you include your name and the homework and course numbers, and staple the pages together.
- 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.
- Homework must be turned in to Dr. Jacobson (not to our grader).
- You are encouraged to discuss the homework with others, but what you finally hand in should be your own formulation of the solutions.
- Homework sets must show reasoning leading to the final answers in a clear and readable fashion to obtain credit.
- It is strictly forbidden to make any use of solutions from previous classes.
- See Academic
Honesty section below for consequences of violation.

Exams: Three exams, the third one given at the time of the final exam.

Grading: The course grade will be based on the homework and exams. The lowest two homework scores will be dropped. The exam grades will be uniformly "shifted upwards" if I deem necessary. 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. Spring 2007 worked out this way (apart from +/-): A: 88-105, B: 79-86, C: 62-75, D: 42-58. (The previous year the lowest C was 67.) For the details, see http://www.physics.umd.edu/grt/taj/374b/gradepost.htm. Especially interesting is the correlation between homework and total grades.

Tips for doing well :

- Freely ask questions in class.
- Read the textbook.
- Do all of the homework problems. This is mostly where you learn,
and there is a strong correlation between homework and exam grades.

- You are allowed and encouraged to discuss the homework with anyone you wish but, to optimize learning, make a serious attempt to solve the problems by yourself first.
- Don't wait until the night before the homework is due to begin working the problems!!
- Seek help immediately if you don't understand the material.

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 http://www.studenthonorcouncil.umd.edu/code.html.

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. Also, it is strictly forbidden to make any use of solutions from previous classes.