University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Phys 5041.001

Mathematical Methods for Physics

Topics Covered
modified 23-Jan-2019 at 11:22AM by Joseph Kapusta

Topics to be covered include but are not limited to: ordinary differential equations; infinite series and sums; complex analysis; Fourier analysis; Laplace transforms; vectors, matrices, and tensors; special functions; Green's functions; partial differential equations; group theory.

modified 23-Jan-2019 at 11:22AM by Joseph Kapusta

There are many good textbooks on mathematical methods of physics. I have chosen the following one because it is inexpensive and it has nearly 1000 solved problems.

M. R. Spiegel, Advanced Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists (Schaum's Outlines).

Most of my lectures will not follow this text very closely but are instead based on a variety of sources. Here are a few I recommend:

R. V. Churchhill, Complex Variables and Applications (McGraw-Hill).

J. Mathews and R. L. Walker, Mathematical Methods of Physics (Benjamin/Cummings).

G. B. Arfken and H. J. Weber, Mathematical Methods for Physicists (Academic Press).

S. Hassani, Foundations of Mathematical Physics (Allyn and Bacon).

K. F. Riley, M. P. Hobson and S. J. Bence, Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering (Cambridge).

H. Jeffreys and B. Jeffreys, Methods of Mathematical Physics (Cambridge).

G. Goertzel and N. Tralli, Some Mathematical Methods of Physics (Dover).

M. Abramowitz and I. A. Stegun, Handbook of Mathematical Functions (Dover).

modified 24-Apr-2019 at 9:53PM by Joseph Kapusta

The course grade will be determined on the basis of homework 30%, class participation 10%, two mid-terms worth 15% each, and final exam 30%. Homework will be due one week after it is assigned. A deduction of 10% will be assessed for every business day that the homework is late. The rational is to keep all students up to date in the course and to be fair to the grader. Students are expected to attend every lecture.

Homework: There will be approximately twelve homework assignments. Students are allowed to discuss the homework problems with each other. The rules are:

1. Each student must write up his or her own solutions.

2. List other students you discussed the problems with.

3. If you used any resources other than the required text, such as books, articles, web sites, past homework solutions, and so on, you must list them on your homework.

Class Participation: Every Friday, beginning with week two, I will assign an in-class problem at the beginning of the second period. Students will work in groups of three to solve the problem. After 30 minutes one of the groups will be asked to go to the board to show their solution. Notes from each group must be signed and collected, but will not be graded. That counts as class participation.

Mid-terms: Mid-term exams will be given on Wednesday February 27 and Wednesday April 10. They will be held in Tate B65.

Final Exam: Thursday May 9, 12:30 to 15:30, Tate B65.

Grades will be assigned as follows (these are guaranteed, the cutoffs may turn out to be lower):

A: 90 to 100%
B: 80 to 90%
C: 70 to 80%
D: 50 to 70%
F: 0 to 50%

Office Hours
modified 2-Jan-2019 at 1:37PM by Joseph Kapusta

My office is 375-16 Tate Hall. Due to the broad spectrum of students taking the course I doubt that there is a convenient time for regularly scheduled office hours. Instead students may either make an appointment or stop by and if I am not otherwise engaged I will be happy to help.