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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Symmetries of Classical Mechanics (PHYS10088)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaUndergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course provides an introduction to rotational space and space-time symmetries in classical physics. Topics covered include: vectors, bases, matrices determinants and the index notation; the general theory of Cartesian tensors; rotation and reflection symmetries; various applications including elasticity theory - stress and strain tensors. The latter part of the course applies covariant and contravariant tensor analysis to special relativity. After an introduction to the physical basis of special relativity and Lorentz symmetry transformations there follows the covariant formulation of classical mechanics and electromagnetism including: force, momentum and velocity 4 vectors, the Maxwell tensor and particle collisions.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Mathematics for Physics 4 (PHYS08038) AND ( Mathematics for Physics 3 (PHYS08037) OR Dynamics (PHYS08040))
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Electromagnetism and Relativity (PHYS10093)
Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2014/15 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 12/01/2015
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 37, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 61 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course it is intended that a student will be able to:
1. be confident with the index notation and the Einstein summation convention
2. have a good working knowledge of matrices and determinants and be able to derive vector identities
3. understand the meaning and significance of rotational symmetry and its application to simple physical situations
4. be confident with the generalisation to non-orthogonal co-ordinate systems and the subsequent covariant and contravariant tensors
5. understand the foundations of special relativity and the consequences of a constant speed of light
6. have a working knowledge of relativistic particle mechanics
7. understand the implications for electromagnetism.
8. to be able to apply what has been learned in the course to solving new problems
Assessment Information
100% Examination
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus - Vectors, matrices, determinants, the delta and epsilon symbols
- Rotational symmetry: transformation of bases, reflections, passive and active transformations
- Definition and transformation properties under rotations of Cartesian tensors, quotient theorem, pseudotensors, isotropic tensors
- Taylor's theorem: the one- and three-dimensional cases
- Some examples of tensors:
*conductivity tensor
*moment of inertia tensor and diagonalisation of rank-2 tensors
*continuum mechanics, the strain and stress tensors, Hooke's Law for isotropic media, fluid mechanics, the Navier--Stokes equation
- Non-orthogonal co-ordinates, covariant and contravariant tensors
- Physical basis of Special Relativity, inertial systems, constancy of the speed of light, Einstein's postulates, Lorentz transformations, time dilation, Minkowski diagrams, Doppler effect
- Covariant formulation of classical mechanics and electomagnetism, force, momentum and velocity 4 vectors, particle dynamics and collisions, Maxwell tensor, Lorentz transformations of electric and magnetic fields.
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiserDr Roger Horsley
Tel: (0131 6)50 6481
Course secretaryMrs Bonnie Macmillan
Tel: (0131 6)50 5905
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