PH420/520-2C (Fall, 2014) Course Information

Course Description: Through this course students will learn mathematical methods necessary in physics core courses such as classical mechanics, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics. The mathematical methods covered in this course include complex analysis, linear algebra, vector calculus, series expansions, ordinary differential equations including special functions, and partial differential equations. Students successfully completing this course will develop sufficient mathematical skills necessary to complete the physics core courses.  In addition to basic mathematical skills,  various mathematical tools such as Maple are intensively used in this course.

Learning Objectives:
  • Differential and integral calculus
  • Series expansions including Taylor, Fourier, and Laurent expansions.
  • Complex variables, functions of complex variables, residue theorem and contour integrals
  • Matrices, linear algebra, and eigenvalue problems
  • Vector calculus
  • Ordinary differential equations, special functions
  • Partial differential equations
  • Calculus of Variation

Day and Time: Tue. & Thu. 11:00APM-12:15PM
Room: PH 394 (Del Square)
Instructor: Dr. Ryoichi Kawai
phone: (205) 934-3931
skype*: userid = ryoichikawai
* You must send your skype user ID to the instructor by email in advance or your call will be blocked.
Office Hour: Wed. 12:30-1:30pm
Course Website:

Course Schedule
Required Textbook  
Mathematical Methods in Physical Sciences Mary L. Boas
Wiley; 3 edition (2006)
ISBN-13: 978-0-471-19826-0

Messages from the Instructor
  • [11/09] Sample Test 3: Test ( solution)
  • [10/19] There was a sign error in the solution of homework 11.1. Revised solution is posted.
  • [10/14] Sample Test 2: Test ( solution 1solution 2)
  • [9/14] Sample Test 1: Inclass exam ( solution)   Takehome exam ( solution)
  • [9/10] Homework solutions are posted in the course schedule page.
  • [8/26] Lecutre note #1 is updated. If you find any error, please let the instructore know it.
  • [8/23] Class will meet as scheduled in CH394. See you soon.

The use of Maple is required in this course. Maple 18 is installed on all computers in the classroom. However, it is highly desirable for you to have your own Maple in your personal computer. You can purchase a student edition at a discount price through the adoption program. Use the promotion code AP14738-B360C to get the discount. Read How to purchase Maple at a discount price.

If you have an older version (Maple 16 or 17), the most of course materials are compatible with it. However, the newest version, Maple 18, has many improvement in physics components. Therefore, some of new codes may not run on the older versions. If you have even older versions (Maple 15 or older), you are strongly recommended to get a new version.

Several homework problems will be given every week. Homework must be turned in electronically by email.  Allowed formats are Maple Document (preferred), Maple Worksheet, LaTeX source, Acorbat PDF. Hand written documents must be scanned in high resolution (300 DPI or higher) with sufficient contrast and saved in PDF.

Three midterm exams and a final comprehensive exam will be given. Students must take all four exams. Make-up exam is allowed only when reasonable excuse is presented.

Exams and assignments carry the following maximum possible points. Midterm exams (15 pts. each), Final exam (30 pts.), Homework and other assignments (25 pts.). The total maximum possible points is 100. Letter grades are determined by the rule given in the table.
Grade Total Score
A 85 or above
B 75 or above
C 60 or above
D* 50 or above
F Otherwise
* Only for PH420 students.