Physics 374 Intermediate Theoretical Methods

Fall 2011

Professor Wolfgang Losert



We will cover areas of mathematics that are regularly used in upper level and graduate courses in physics, including important areas from complex variables, Fourier analysis, partial differential equations and eigenvalue problems, and nonlinear dynamics. These methods will be studied in the context of relevant physics applications.  Matlab will be used in class and in HW

Prerequisites: PHYS273 and MATH246. Corequisite: MATH240


Professor:  Wolfgang Losert,    3341 AV Williams Bldg, 301-405-0629 

Office hours:   -  Friday 2.30-4 pm 

                          -  email to make an appointment at other times. 



Mon        11:00am - 11.50am

Tu.Th     11:00am - 12:15pm (PHY 1201), Physics Building


Teaching Assistant :  Hwanmun Kim,, Office Hours Friday 1pm-2.30pm Rm 0104 Physics Building

Required Textbook: Riley and Hobson, Essential Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences ISBN 978-0521761147

ONLINE Lecture Materials and grades: (access with your University password, already set up )



Homework                                  30%

Quizzes/class participation       10%

2 Midterm Exams:                      15% each

Final Exam                                  30% 



Weekly homework assignments due on paper Mondays at the START of class  11 am.

For Matlab assignments please hand in a printout of the Matlab script and program output (e.g.matrices or graphs)

You have to explain your reasoning for full credit! 

Quizzes/class participation

There will be quizzes at the start of some lectures (about 8 quizzes total) based on previous classes and reading assignments. 

One quiz (lowest grade or unexcused absence) will not count when calculating the grade. 
You will have opportunities for class participation.

Midterm Exams

There will be two 75 minute in class midterm exams, scheduled for: Thursday, October 13 and Thursday November 17
These exams will have questions similar to the homework and quizzes. Each counts 15% toward your course grade.

Final Exams

There will be a 2 hour final exam.  The final exam is cumulative. 

To request a regrade of an exam please submit a clear explanation of the issue and a copy of your exam.  Do not write directly on the exam - the exam will be compared to my scanned copy.  


Honor Code

The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized  Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council.   This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all  undergraduate and graduate students.  As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course.  It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit


Examples of violations of the honor code include copying homework solutions from classmates or webpages.


Copyright note:  lectures and course matter are copyright protected and written instructor consent must be obtained for reproduction and distribution of lecture notes and course material, especially for commercial use.


Wolfgang Losert, 8/31/2011