PHY 411: Classical Mechanics & Chaotic Dynamics

(Fall 2018)

Lecture notes, Problems, etc..

Instructor: Alice Quillen, Bausch and Lomb Hall 424, Phone:275-9625, Email:aquillen at
There is no TA, TI or grader.
Lectures: TR 9:40-10:55am in Wegman 1005 (first class) then moving to Bausch and Lomb 480.
Note: First lecture is Tuesday Aug 30 at 9:40am; we will have an organizational meeting.

Overview: Topics covered will include: Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, canonical transformations, Hamilton-Jacobi equations, chaotic dynamics, periodic orbits, stable and unstable orbits, resonances in celestial mechanics, resonance capture, resonance overlap criterion, bifurcations, Julia and Fatou sets, convergence of Newton's Iteration, KAM theory, non-holonomic mechanics, discrete dynamical systems, infinite dimensional Hamiltonian models, classical field theory. We will explore these topics analytically and possibly numerically (in python).

Prerequisite: A good knowledge of classical mechanics. PHY235 is more than enough. Undergraduates are very welcome to join this class (including for the entire class not just the first 8 weeks).

Course requirements: Grading: problem sets 60%, projects 40%, no exams.

Lecture notes and problem sets will be posted on this website, not on blackboard.

Main references: