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Classical Mechanics b


Admission Requirements

Klassieke Mechanica a, Introductie Moderne Natuurkunde, Elektrische en Magnetische Velden, Analyse 1, 2 (na), en Lineaire Algebra 1 (na). De stof van het college Analyse 3 (na) dient parallel gevolgd te worden, of al bekend te zijn.


The description of the laws of classical mechanics of Newton are given a more general and more fundamental form in the Lagrange and Hamilton formalisms. This description makes the theory more elegant and more broadly useful. In this form the theory prepares the scene for the treatment of Quantum mechanics.
Subjects to be discussed are: Generalized coordinates; phase space; constraints; Lagrangian and Lagrange’s equations; conservation laws; Hamiltonian and Hamilton’s equations; Hamilton’s principle (principle of least action).
The power of the formalism is illustrated by a second main topic: the analysis of systems of coupled harmonic oscillators. This is a subject of great importance, and examples of problems range from physics, to chemistry, engineering, etc.

Course objectives

After completing this course you capable of solving problems using the Lagrange and Hamilton formalisms for conservative systems, and problems involving systems of coupled harmonic oscillators.


For detailed information go to Timetable in Brightspace

Mode of instruction

See Brightspace
Detailed lecture notes are provided, and you are expected to prepare for each lecture by reading the materal (about 8 pages per week). The lectures are offered on-line by video link and are optimised for interaction and discussion. After each lecture additional time will be available for free discussion and live chat. The more technical parts of the lectures are offered as pre-recorded video blocks for viewing at each students' own pace.
Exercise classes are orginised in groups. The exercise classes will, for most part, be taught by video link. Teaching assistents will offer step-by-step instruction for solving problems, alternated with blocks of time for the students to solve problems, where assistance is constantly offered. Every week one of the groups is invited for on site meetings.
For students interested in more challinging problems and deeper questions we offer an Advanced Physics Track.

Assessment method

Written exam with open questions. If this can be arranged the exam will be organised on site in a large hall on campus. Alternatively, the examination could be organised remotely with video surveilance. The exam can be retaken.

Reading list

The prime source of study material are the lecture notes, made available as a pdf document.
For further reading the following books recommended:
Analytical Mechanics, G.R. Fowles and G.L. Cassiday, 7th edition (Thomson Learning, inc., 2004), ISBN 9780534408138.
Classical Mechanics, H. Goldstein, C.P. Poole Jr., J.L. Safko, 3rd edition (Pearson Education Ltf., 2014), ISBN 9781292026558


Brightspace is used as the central information source in CMb.
It offers, a.o., an overview of the course material and the program for each week, all powerpoint slides of the lectures, the pre-recorded lectures, the recordings of the live lectures fro reviewing, assignments, and examples of exams of previous years.
Registration for Brightspace occurs via uSis by registration for a class activity using a class number


Contactgegevens van de docent: Prof.dr. Jan van Ruitenbeek