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Fall 2007: Physics 351

Foundations of Physics I: Vibrations and Waves


Lectures: MWF 10.00-10.50 pm, 30 Pacific Hall



  • Final Exam -- Fri. Dec. 7 2007 , 10.15-12.15, 30 Pacific. See Study Guide (below)

  • Coupled oscillator project -- due Nov. 26, 2007 (Handout)

  • Midterm: Wed. Nov. 7 (in class)

  • Office hours: Wed. 11-12, Fri. 1.30-2.30pm, 174 Willamette

  • Teaching assistant: Yan Sang. Office hours: Tu 1-2 (NEW) (218 Willamette), Th. 11-12 (Drop in center -- 1st floor Willamette)

  • A note on textbooks: The (required) text for the course is Vibrations and Waves, by A.P. French, as listed in the syllabus. I have put an additional book on reserve in the Science Library: Vibrations And Waves In Physics by Iain G. Main. I have not read this book, and can't comment on its quality. Still, it may be helpful to read presentations of the material other than French (though I think French is excellent).

Notes & Misc. Handouts

Final Exam Study Guide

Comments on Analytic Proofs -- notes

Dimensional Analysis -- lecture notes

Midterm Study Guide

Matrix Algebra -- handout (for PS6, etc.)

The Energy of a Vibrating String -- notes (Nov. 19, 2007)

Problem Sets

Computer Programming: A Brief Introduction -- Reading, plus Exercises P1-P3, Due Wed. Sept. 26, 2:30 pm. Links to papers: 1a , 1b , 1c , 1d , 1e , 1f , 2a , 2b , 2c , 3a , 3a supplement , 3b .

Problem Set 1 -- Due Wed. Oct. 3, 5 pm. -- Note the new, later deadline.

Problem Set 2 -- Due Fri. Oct. 12, 5 pm.

Introduction to MATLAB Programming. Exercise P4 due Oct. 5, 2.30pm; Exercises P5-6 due Oct. 12, 2.30pm.

Problem Set 3 -- [Modified Oct. 17, 2007 -- see emails] Due Fri. Oct. 19, 5 pm.

Differential Equations: The Verlet Algorithm. Exercise P7 due Oct. 19, 5 pm; Exercise P8 due Oct. 26, 5 pm.

Problem Set 4 -- Due Fri. Oct. 26, 5 pm.

Problem Set 5 -- Due Thurs. Nov. 1, 12 noon. (No late homework will be accepted.)

Differential Equations: The Runge-Kutta Algorithm. Exercise P9 due Nov. 9, 5 pm;

Problem Set 6 -- Due Fri. Nov. 16, 5 pm. (See also the handout on Matrix algebra, above.)

Problem Set 7 -- Due Wed. Nov. 21, 5 pm.

Chaos (a brief look). Exercises P11,P12 due Nov. 28, 5 pm. Please read the note on the assignment

Problem Set 8 -- Due Wed. Nov. 28, 5 pm (No late assignments accepted).


Solutions to Problem Sets

Solutions: Introduction to programming

Solutions: Problem Set 1

Solutions: Problem Set 2

Solutions: Problem Set 3

Solutions: Problem Set 4

Solutions: Problem Set 5

Solutions: Problem Set 6

Solutions: Problem Set 7

Solutions: Problem Set 8

Solutions: Programming Exercise P7

A solution to Programming Exercise P9 -- RP's MATLAB program


Solutions to the Midterm

Solutions to the Midterm, with comments


Misc. MATLAB programs

quickwaves.m -- Plots the sums of harmonic oscillations

soundbeats.m -- Plays (audio) the sums of harmonic oscillations. Listen to the beat frequency!

damposcseries.m -- Plots x(t) for underdamped, critically damped, and overdamped harmonic oscillations with the same initial conditions.

plot2osc.m -- Plots xA(t) and xB(t) for two coupled pendulums as an "animation". Roughly written for "entertainment," without lots of comments.

Ncoupledosc.m -- Plots and animates y_pn(t) a "loaded string" (N coupled oscillators).

fourierdemo.m -- Plots and animates the Fourier decomposition of a string.


2007 -- Raghuveer Parthasarathy, University of Oregon, Department of Physics

Unauthorized duplication of images is strictly prohibited!

Contact:  raghu [at]

Last updated: 26 November, 2007