Course Outline
What is this course all about?

What Brock calendar entry says:

Mechanics of particles and systems of particles by the Newtonian method; conservation of linear momentum, angular momentum and energy; elementary dynamics of rigid bodies; oscillators; motion under central forces; selected applications.

What do I need to bring into the course?

This course is a core course of the Physics program, and requires Y1 Physics and Math courses as prerequisites.


  • Analytical Mechanics, by G.R.Fowles and G.L.Cassiday, Thomson Brooks/Cole, 7th edition

Course Goals

  • to develop an understanding of Newton's laws of motion and their application to physical systems
  • to discover the underlying conservation laws governing the evolution of physical systems
  • to gain experience in the use of advanced mathematical tools (e.g. advanced algebra and trigonometry, analytic geometry, differential and integral calculus, differential equations)
  • to understand more comprehensively physical phenomena and the manner in which physical systems evolve with time.
Course components
Component % of the final mark Notes
Assignments 20% Weekly problem sets. Solutions should be submitted to the instructor during the lecture period on the due date. Late solutions will not be accepted
Midterm test 15% Mar 2 (Thu), in class; allowed: calculator and one self-prepared formula sheet (letter size, two-sided)
Final exam 40% minimum passing grade 50%, marks given for correct answers
allowed: calculator and one self-prepared formula sheet (letter size, two-sided)
Labs* 25% begin the week of Jan 16-20

*Frank Benko (B210A, is the senior lab demonstrator, and should be contacted for all details concerning the labs.

Computer-based data acquisition

... is an integral part of the labs. For some experiments, the web-based interface familiar to you from Y1 labs will be used. You may want to consult in advance: under the "Get data" menu selection, select "demo" and click "go"; the demo mode allows you to try the tools without being in the lab.

Other experiments will require more involved and creative data analysis, using the same software. You will be given an opportunity to work through an on-line physica tutorial during one of your labs; you may want to try it out on your own using the "expert mode" of the above web-based version.

Office hours
Topics to be covered
  1. Fundamental concepts: vectors (FC Secs. 1.1-1.7, 1.9-1.12)
  2. Newtonian mechanics: rectilinear motion of a particle (FC Secs. 2.1-2.4)
  3. Oscillations (FC Secs. 3.1-3.4, 3.6)
  4. General motion of a particle in three dimensions (FC Secs. 4.1-4.5)
  5. Gravitation and central forces (FC Secs. 6.1-6.4, 6.8-6.9, 6.11)
  6. Dynamics of systems of particles (FC Secs. 7.1-7.3, 7.5-7.7)
  7. Mechanics of rigid bodies: planar motion (FC Sec. 8.1-8.7)

Summary handout