Courses Catalogue

Classical Mechanics And Special Relativity

COURSE CODE: PHY2103
COURSE CREDIT UNIT: 3
ACADEMIC PROGRAMME: Physics BSc
COLLEGE/SCHOOL/FACULTY: School of Natural and Applied Sciences
STATUS: Core
PROGRAMME TYPE: Undergraduate

Course Description

COURSE DESCRIPTION

 

The course gives a review to the basic principles and introduction to advanced methods of mechanics, emphasizing the relationship between dynamical symmetries and conserved quantities, as well as classical mechanics as a background to quantum mechanics. This course is also designed to help the student acquire an understanding of the formalism and concepts of relativity as well as its application to physical problems.

Topics include: Lagrangian mechanics and the variational principle, central force motion, theory of small oscillations, Hamiltonian mechanics, canonical transformations, Hamilton-Jacobi Theory, rigid body motion, and continuous systems, Lorentz transformation among others.

 

COURSE JUSTIFICATION/RATIONALE

 

The aim of this course is to continue with and consolidate the Mechanics studied in level one. Its ideas link with other courses on oscillations and waves. It further introduces students to classical dynamics and Special Relativity.

 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

 

By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Use Newtonian mechanics with forces and torques to solve problems in Cartesian and curvilinear coordinates.
  • Solve mechanics problems using work-energy, and conservation of energy, momentum and angular momentum.
  • Solve and analyze rigid-body problems.
  • Solve mechanics problems in non-inertial frames.
  • Use Lagrangian mechanics to obtain the equations of motion for a variety of problems, including the use of generalized coordinates and cyclic coordinates.
  • Use perturbation and similar techniques to linearize equations of motion to analyze stability and study coupled systems using normal modes.
  • Analyse the Lorentz transformation equation.
  • Prepare students for advanced course in mechanics.

 

LEARNING OUTCOMES

 

A student completing the course is expected to demonstrate knowledge and understating of:

§  Newton’s laws of motion, potentials, conservation of energy, momentum and angular momentum.

§  the postulates of Special Relativity and their consequences in terms of Time dilation and length contraction.

§  Lorentz transformations, relativistic kinematics and the relation between mass and energy.

§  problems using the conservation of angular momentum and total energy

§  problems in rotating frames identify normal modes for oscillating systems

§  Find normal modes for systems with many degrees of freedom by applying symmetry arguments and boundary conditions.

§  Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of classical dynamics.