Occurrence | Teaching cycle |
---|---|
A | Autumn Term 2018-19 to Summer Term 2018-19 |
The Applied Module in Stage 2 aims to introduce some of the main ideas and theories of modern applied mathematics and mathematical physics, along with some of the main mathematical methods that are used to study and solve problems in these theories. Rather than present the methods in isolation, the aim is to encounter them in the context of applications, so that theory and technique progress in tandem. The overall aim is to lay the foundations for the further study of applied mathematics and mathematical physics in Stages 3 and 4.
As part of these broad aims, this module has the following components:
Newtonian Gravity and Special Relativity (Autumn Term) develops Newton’s theory of motion in vectorial form, leading up to the description of orbits in Newtonian gravity, before introducing Einstein’s theory of special relativity, and a first appearance of tensorial quantities. Newtonian mechanics is further developed in the Classical Dynamics and Quantum Dynamics components, while special relativity will appear in modules on Electromagnetism, General Relativity and Quantum Field Theory in stages 3 and 4.
Classical Dynamics (Spring) presents a sophisticated form of Newton’s laws known as analytical mechanics, which also forms an important component of modern theories of both classical and quantum physics.
Quantum Dynamics (Spring/Summer) begins the development of quantum mechanics, and various relevant techniques of differential equations which have numerous other applications in pure and applied mathematics.
Studying these components alongside each other during the course of the year will allow students to see the many connections across different areas of Applied Mathematics; understanding these connections and being able to use ideas and techniques across many contexts is an essential part of the modern mathematician’s toolkit.
Subject content
Newtonian Gravitation
Revision: Vectors, scalar and vector products and triple products, time-derivatives
Frames of reference, Galilean relativity, Newton's laws. Energy, momentum, angular momentum. Circular motion and angular velocity.
Many particles, two particles, Newton's law of gravity. Central forces and resulting planar motion in polar coordinates. The geometry of orbits: ellipses and Kepler's laws; parabolae, hyperbolae and scattering. Energy, effective potential, stability of orbits.
Special Relativity
Einstein's postulates, derivation of Lorentz transformations from Galilean limit. Relativity of simultaneity, time dilation, proper time, length contraction, addition of velocities. (If time permits: twin paradox, garage problem, causality.) Four-vectors and Minkowski spacetime, the Lorentz group.
Relativistic momentum and force; rest mass, kinetic and total energy. Conservation of energy-momentum, examples.
Classical Dynamics
Lagrangian mechanics. Constraints, generalized coordinates, Lagrange's equations, connection to Newton’s laws. Constants of the motion: ignorable coordinates and Jacobi's function. Qualitative analysis of systems with a single degree of freedom using Jacobi's function. Examples, including conservative central forces and the Lagrangian analysis of the spinning top.
Hamiltonian mechanics. Generalized momenta and the Hamiltonian. Derivation of Hamilton's equations from Lagrange's equations. Conservation results. Poisson brackets. Equations of motion and conservation laws in Poisson bracket form.
Phase-plane techniques. Trajectories and equilibria for conservative and damped systems.
Variational principles. Reformulation of Lagrangian mechanics (and Hamiltonian, if time permits) in variational form. Examples of other variational problems (e.g., brachistochrone, geodesics on a plane and sphere).
Quantum Dynamics
Introduction to quantum mechanics. Schroedinger's equation (motivated by brief discussion of Planck-Einstein and de Broglie relations). Time-independent Schroedinger equation. The one-dimensional box. Probability interpretation of the wavefunction and the orthogonality of distinct energy eigenfunctions.
Eigenvalue problems of Sturm-Liouville type Reality of eigenvalues, orthogonality of eigenfunctions for distinct eigenvalues, eigenfunction expansions. Applications, including the heat equation and the quantum mechanics of square wells and boxes in one and three dimensions.
Series solution methods (e.g., motivated by the one-dimensional harmonic oscillator) Power series solutions of first and second order equations. Legendre's equation, Hermite's equation etc. Regular singular points: the method of Frobenius. Application to the quantum harmonic oscillator.
Spherical harmonics and the hydrogen atom
Academic and graduate skills
Mathematics graduates are problem solvers with an ability to work from first principles and to employ diverse and appropriate techniques. This module helps develop these essential skills; students will learn material and techniques with a wide range of applications in modern descriptions of physical phenomena.
The understanding of motion provided by Newton and Einstein has provided key insights into the physical universe, allowed technological progress through engineering, and has driven developments in mathematics including calculus and differential geometry.
Quantum mechanics has revolutionized the modern world through electronic, optical and nuclear technology, and new quantum technologies are emerging in communication and computation. This module provides a first introduction to this theory, but importantly, also develops the study of differential equations that has applications in many other branches of pure and applied mathematics. Analytical mechanics provides a basis for many modern theories of physics and has also led to developments in geometry as well as the field of chaotic dynamics.
Task | Length | % of module mark |
---|---|---|
University - closed examination Applied Mathematics: Classical and Quantum Dynamics |
3 hours | 2 |
University - closed examination Applied Mathematics: Newtonian Gravity and Special Relativity |
1.5 hours | 1 |
None
Students only resit components which they have failed.
Task | Length | % of module mark |
---|---|---|
University - closed examination Applied Mathematics: Classical and Quantum Dynamics |
3 hours | 2 |
University - closed examination Applied Mathematics: Newtonian Gravity and Special Relativity |
1.5 hours | 1 |
Current Department policy on feedback is available in the undergraduate student handbook. Coursework and examinations will be marked and returned in accordance with this policy.
M Lunn, A first course in Mechanics, (Oxford University Press (U1 LUN)
TWB Kibble and FH Berkshire, Classical Mechanics, Imperial College Press (U1 KIB)
R Fitzpatrick, Newtonian Dynamics, Lulu (U1.3 FIT)
R Douglas Gregory, Classical Mechanics Cambridge University Press (U1 GRE)
P Smith and RC Smith, Mechanics John Wiley and Sons (U1 SMI )
H Goldstein, Classical Mechanics, Addison-Wesley, (U1 GOL). [Later editions in conjunction with C Poole and J Safko]
LN Hand and JD Finch, Analytical Mechanics, Cambridge University Press (U1.017 HAN).
NMJ Woodhouse, Introduction to Analytical Dynamics, Oxford University Press, (U1.3WOO)
R Shankar, Principles of Quantum Mechanics, Springer (U 0.123 SHA)
PCW Davies and DS Betts, Quantum Mechanics, Chapman and Hall (U 0.12 DAV)
G F Simmons, Differential Equations, with Applications and Historical Notes, Tata McGraw-Hill (paperback) (S 7.38 SIM)