PH420/520-2C (Fall, 2017) 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: M 2-3pm/Th 1-2pm
Course Website:

Course Schedule
Score Card (password required)
Past Exams 2014, 2015, 2016
Suggested Textbook  
Mathematical Methods in Physical Sciences Mary L. Boas
Wiley; 3 edition (2006)
ISBN-13: 978-0-471-19826-0

Messages from the Instructor
  • [09/08] Solution to CH03 and CH04 homework problems is posted.
  • [08/27] Dr. Kawai is out of country for two weeks from 9/10 to 9/23. Drs. Chen and Harrison will teach chapter 5-7.
  • [08/20] Class will meet on Aug. 29 (Tue.) in CH394. See you soon.

The use of Mathetmatica is required in this course. Mathematica 10 is installed on all computers in the classroom. However, it is highly desirable for you to have your own Mathematica on your personal computer. It is free for UAB students. The following web page will explain how to get your own copy of Mathematica:

Several homework problems will be given every week. Homework must be turned in electronically by email.  Allowed formats are Mathematica Notebook(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
* Not for PH520 students.