Intermediate Classical Mechanics I


General/Learning Outcomes

This is the first semester of a two semester sequence for physics majors.  Students will be get into some of the finer details and some of the more interesting problems of good old classical mechanics: single-particle motion, oscillations, gravitation, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, central-force problems, and dynamics of systems of particles. You are expected to have mastered the introductory mechanics seen in Physics I, and have taken Multivariable Calculus (MAC 2313).

Your best bet for doing well in this class is to attend all of the lectures and do all of the assigned homework.  Reading the text will provide an alternative presentation from what I do in class. Don't expect to do well by putting off homework and cramming for tests.  You must stay on top of the subject. Don't get behind—if you are having trouble with the material get help immediately.  The material builds on itself and getting behind early will make it very difficult to catch up.



Dr. Brian A. Raue

Office CP 217

Office hours: MW 10-12:00, T 2-4:00


Phone: 305-348-3958



"Classical Dynamics" 5th Edition by Thornton and Marion

If you have not done so already, I also strongly recommend that you get a book with a table of integrals and other math formulas. I use the Schaum's Outline: "Mathematical Handbook of Formulas and Tables". It is relatively cheap and I have been using the same copy since I was an undergraduate.  I use it frequently. There is also an online version. Just go to the library's on-line catalog, enter the title, and follow the links.


Class Meeting Times and Locations

MW 2:00-3:15 in OE 102

F 12:00-12:50 in CP 101


Chapter Quizzes and Final Exam

In order to reduce the stress associated with exams covering several chapters, I have decided to use chapter quizzes instead.  There will be six chapter quizzes each worth 10% of the final grade along with a semi-cumulative final worth 15% of the final grade. There are no makeup exams unless arranged with me prior to the exam or unless there was an extreme emergency.  Any makeup exam will be administered at the end of the semester and only if you are passing the class with a C or better.

Quiz and Exam Schedule (subject to change)



Every week there will be a homework assignment to be turned in and graded.  Homework counts as 20% of your final grade.  You must achieve an average of at least 50% on the assigned homework.  Failure to do so will mean that the maximum grade that you can achieve in this class is a C-.  Problems are either from the book or made up by me.  From each assignment I will fully grade 3-5 problems giving them a point value of 2-5 points.   The ungraded problems will be given 1 point each if a good-faith effort has been made to solve them. Solutions to assigned problems will be posted on the web after the due date. I encourage you to work with your classmates on the homework but make sure that you understand it and aren't just copying it. This will be revealed on the exams.  I know that it is easy to find the solutions out there on the web.  However, simply copying down somebody else's solutions will not help you when it comes to preparing for the exams.  

Follow this link to the online homework page:

This page will also have a tentative schedule for topics to be covered.  Do your homework on time.  Late homework turned into me will receive half credit for up to one week after the due date. After that, it is simply not accepted.

Weekly Problem Solving Session

The Friday meeting will be used as a group problem solving session.  We will work on various problems in small groups with presentations and discussions lead by you, the students.  Attendance for the Friday sessions will be taken using a sign-in sheet.  If you have not signed in within the first 10 minutes of the start of class you will not get credit for attending.  Attendance in these sessions will count as 5% of your final grade.



A letter grade will be assigned only at the end of the semester but I will attempt to give you an idea approximately where you are throughout the semester. The grading system is based on the following scale although I reserve the right to "curve" as I see fit:



A: 89-100%

A-: 86-88%

B+: 83-85%

B: 75-82%


C+: 69-71%

C: 58-68%

C- grades are generally not given

D+: 55-57%

D: 44-54%

D- grades are rarely given


The relative weighting is as follows:

Homework: 20%

Quizzes: 6x10%=60%

Group Problems Sessions: 5%

Final Exams: 15%



Cheating is considered a very serious offense and offenders will be dealt with very harshly. The minimum penalty for cheating on any graded material will be a zero on that material with the possibility of automatic failure for the course or a recommendation of expulsion from the university. All students should be familiar with the FIU Student Code of Standards.