PHYS 300 - Analytical Mechanics I


Course Syllabus


Instructor: Assist. Prof. Bela Erdelyi

Faraday West 225

(815) 753-6484


Lectures: 2:00 - 3:15 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays

in Faraday West 200


Office hours: 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays or by



Textbook: G.R. Fowles and G.L. Cassiday, Analytical Mechanics, 7th edition, Brooks/Cole (2005), ISBN 0-534-49492-7


Grading: final grade will consist of

-         Homework: 30 %

-         Homework Set 1

-         Homework Set 2

-         Homework Set 3

-         Homework Set 4

-         Homework Set 5

-         Homework Set 6

-         Homework Set 7

-         Homework Set 8

-         Midterm exam: 30 %

-         Final exam: 40 %


Homework set after each chapter. Due date 1 week later. No late homework accepted. You are encouraged to consult among each other and TAs/outside sources on homework, but do not hand in anything that you simply copied or do not really understand. Be neat and show all steps.


Midterm after Chapter 4 (exact date TBD). Final will cover all material, with emphasis on second half.


No academic dishonesty tolerated!



Material to be covered


Chapter 1: Vectors


1.      Introduction and vectors

2.     Scalar, vector, and triple products. Change of coordinate system

3.     Derivative of a vector, velocity, and acceleration. Various useful coordinate systems


Chapter 2: Rectilinear Motion of a Particle


1.      Newton's laws of motion. Rectilinear motion under a constant force

2.     Kinetic and potential energy

3.     Velocity dependent forces


Chapter 3: Oscillations


1.      Harmonic motion

2.     Damped harmonic motion

3.     Forced harmonic motion


Chapter 4: General Motion of a Particle in 3D


1.      General principles. Potential energy and the Del (gradient) operator

2.     Separable forces

3.     Harmonic oscillator in 3D

4.     Motion of charged particles in electric and magnetic fields

5.     Constrained motion


Chapter 5: Noninertial Reference Frames


1.      Accelerated coordinate systems and inertial forces

2.     Rotating coordinate systems, and dynamics of particles in such systems

3.     The Foucault pendulum


Chapter 6: Gravitation and Central Forces


1.      Gravitational force between a uniform sphere and a particle

2.     Kepler's laws

3.     Potential energy in central fields

4.     Nearly circular orbits in central fields


Chapter 7: Dynamics of Systems of Particles


1.      Center of mass and linear momentum of a system

2.     Angular momentum and kinetic energy of a system

3.     Motion of 2 interacting bodies

4.     Collisions

5.     Rocket motion


Chapter 8: Planar Motion of Rigid Bodies


1.      Center of mass of a rigid body

2.     Rotation about a fixed axis

3.     The physical pendulum

4.     Angular momentum of a rigid body in laminar motion. Impulse and collisions involving rigid bodies


Special Theory of Relativity


1.      Postulates and consequences

2.     Relativistic kinematics and dynamics