PHSX 311 -- Oscillations and Waves Autumn 2019

Instructor: Paul Janzen
Office: CHCB 121
Office hours: M 1:00 - 3:00, W 11:00 - 12:00, W 2:00 - 3:00, and by appointment
Phone: 243-2374
Text: Dr. Uchimoto's manuscript will be posted on Moodle
Lecture: Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00 - 11:50 PM in CHCB 231
Prerequisites: Fundamentals of Physics (with Calculus) I and IIor College Physics I and II
Pre/Corequisite: Multivariable Calculus (Calculus III)
Credits: 2


This course develops the physical intuition and mathematical skills necessary for analyzing a wide range of periodic phenomena. It includes detailed studies of oscillations and waves, in preparation for advanced study in physics.

Learning Outcomes:


Problem sets will be assigned roughly weekly.

There will be three midterm exams: Thursday September 19, Tuesday October 24, and Thursday November 21.

In addition, there will be a written comprehensive final exam (December 13, 10:10 AM).

Midterm exams: 45% (15% each)
Homework Assignments: 20%
Final Exam: 35%

This course can be taken for a traditional letter grade only.


Add/Drop can be performed online until September 16. Add/Drop can be performed with the instructor's and advisor's signatures until October 28.

All students must practise academic honesty. Academic misconduct is subject to an academic penalty by the course instructor and/or a disciplinary sanction by the University. All students need to be familiar with the Student Conduct Code. The Code is available for review online, though the URL changes frequently.

Students with disabilities may request reasonable modifications by contacting me. The University of Montana assures equal access to instruction for students with disabilities in collaboration with instructors and Disability Services for Students, which is located in Lommasson Center 154. The University does not permit fundamental alterations of academic standards or retroactive modifications.

Tentative Course Outline

Week Topic
1 (Aug 27, 29) Introduction, simple harmonic motion, addition of sines
2 (Sep 3, 5) Complex numbers, linear ODEs with constant coefficients
3 (Sep 10, 12) Pendulums, damped harmonic oscillators
4 (Sep 17, 19) More damping, and mid-term #1
5 (Sep 24, 26) Oscillatory circuits, forced oscillators
6 (Oct 1, 3) Non-homogeneous linear ODEs, more forced oscillators
7 (Oct 8, 10) Spring combinations, coupled oscillators
8 (Oct 15, 17) More coupled oscillators, partial differentiation
9 (Oct 22, 24) Mid-term #2, wave equation, transverse waves on taut string
10 (Oct 29, 31) Superposition principle, interference, standing waves
11 (Nov 5, 7) Energy and momentum transport in wave propagation
12 (Nov 12, 14) Phase and group velocities, electromagnetic waves
13 (Nov 19, 21) Fourier series, and mid-term #3
14 (Nov 26) More Fourier series
15 (Dec 3, 5) Fourier transforms; review

This document was generated using the LaTeX2HTML translator Version 2008 (1.71) and then hand editing.

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, Nikos Drakos, Computer Based Learning Unit, University of Leeds.
Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999, Ross Moore, Mathematics Department, Macquarie University, Sydney.

Paul Janzen 2019-08-24