University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Phys 5041.001

Mathematical Methods for Physics

Topics Covered
modified 8-Jan-2018 at 5:04PM 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; integral equations; calculus of variations.

modified 16-Jan-2018 at 3:43PM 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-2018 at 1:02PM by Joseph Kapusta

The course grade will be determined on the basis of homework 30%, class participation 10%, best mid-term out of two 20%, and final exam 40%.

Homework: Homework will be assigned on Wednesday and due the following Wednesday. 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 2, three students will be selected in advance and asked to present their solution on the board to one homework problem due that week. Each student will make one presentation during the semester; the presentation lasts 15 minutes. All students must sign a class attendance sheet on those days, and that counts as class participation for the grade.

Mid-terms: Mid-term exams will be given on Friday February 23 and Friday April 6. They will be held in Tate 110. The lowest score will be dropped. Missing an exam due to illness will count as a drop.

Final Exam: Tuesday May 8, 8:30 to 11:30 am. It will be held in Tate 110.

Office Hours
modified 9-Jan-2018 at 11:33AM by Joseph Kapusta

My office is 375-16 Tate Hall. Due to the broad spectrum of undergrad and grad 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.