Physics 834: Mathematical Methods
Autumn, 2011

General Information about 834 Mathematical Methods

Course title:
Mathematical Methods
Required Text:
The official text is Mathematical Methods for Physicists, Sixth Edition: A Comprehensive Guide by George Arfken and Hans Weber. There is an e-book version available from the library here. (It is not clear yet whether there is unlimited simultaneous viewing of this e-book, but at least several people can use it at the same time.)
Recommended Text:
A secondary, more pedagogical text that we will use as a guide to many of the topics and the order in which we cover them is Mathematics for Physicists by Susan Lea. Errata for this book can be found here. There are many other useful math methods reference at both the undergraduate and graduate level; some are listed on the 834 homepage.
There are no definite prerequisites, other than having taken a standard set of undergraduate courses in physics (e.g., an electromagnetism course at the level of Griffiths). You are expected to have encountered various mathematical tools in your undergraduate studies, such as the basics of linear algebra, vector calculus, complex numbers (but not complex analysis), and differential equations. You will have an opportunity to review these topics (or catch up on what you might have missed) as we build on them in 834. Please talk to Prof. Furnstahl if you're concerned about your preparation.
Although the course catalog title is Electromagnetic Field Theory I, the actual course title is "Mathematical Methods". The focus will be on the methods needed for the rest of the 83x sequence in Electromagnetic Field Theory, but many of these topics will appear in other physics contexts. We will also discuss numerical methods and how to calculate in Mathematica as we proceed. Topics to be covered include aspects of vector analysis (mostly review), complex variables, differential equations (and Sturm-Liouville theory in particular), Fourier series and transforms, and generalized, special, and Green's functions. These correspond to Chapters 1-4, 6-8, and Appendix C of Lea's text, and to scattered sections in Arfken and Weber. Given the time constraints (10 weeks), we will be selective in our coverage.
Prof. Richard (Dick) Furnstahl
office: M2048 PRB
phone: 292-4830 (office) or 847-4026 (home)
Weishi (Shirley) Li
office: 3035 PRB
phone: 247-8267 (office)

Dr. Vladimir Prigodin
office: 2176 PRB
phone: 292-6385 (office)
Class meets MW from 8:30-10:18am in Scott Lab E125. Make-up classes and optional supplementary classes will be scheduled as we go. The midterm is planned for Wednesday October 19 in class. The final exam day and time is fixed by the University to be 7:30am-9:18am on Monday December 5 (so the early start is not my fault :)
Office Hours:
By appointment (send email or ask in class) and . . .
[to be announced] (Furnstahl)
Assigned problems [40%]
Midterm exam [30%]
Final exam [30%]
Other Items:
Web Pages:
This info:
Course home page:

Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.
[OSU Physics] [Math and Physical Sciences] [Ohio State University]
Physics 834 Course Information.
Last modified: .