Physics 218, Fall 2003
Waves and Thermodynamics
Welcome to Cornell's Physics 218, the third semester of the Honors physics
sequence, on waves and thermodynamics. Lectures this semester are being
given by Prof. James Sethna 11:15 - 12:05 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and
Fridays in Rockefeller 230. Sections will be taught by Sarah Buchan
(section 1) Wednesday 2:30-3:20 in Rockefeller 104 and
(section 2) Tuesday 1:25-2:15 in Rockefeller 128. We will have four
labs, which will (tentatively) start on September 15,
Monday evening 7:30-10:30 (section 1) and Tuesday afternoons 1:30-4:30
http://www.lassp.cornell.edu/sethna/sethna.html, 255-5132, Clark 521,
office hours immediately after class WF.
255-5160, 401 Newman.
254-2260, home 275-8228, A19 Clark.
I've made up a tentative schedule for the course,
describing the topics and reading for each lecture.
We will be using simulations in some of the homeworks, using the programs
huygens: you can download these for
No late homeworks will be accepted, but we will drop the lowest
homework score: those with reasons for missing more than one homework
should talk to the instructor.
The labs in this course are pass-fail (make
sure you get a signature from the lab instructor), but
missing a lab will count directly against your final grade (one grade
level for each missed lab). Go to your assigned lab unless you've checked
with the lab instructor.
Each student in this course is expected to abide by the Cornell University
Code of Academic Integrity. Collaboration in this course is encouraged on
the homeworks, although each student should independently write up the
their own solutions.
- Physical Topics
- Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
- Mathematical Tools
- Partial Differential Equations
- Fourier Analysis
- Physics Ideas
- Dynamics of Continuua
- Deriving New Laws
- Current methods of theoretical physics
- 1/6 Homework, due in class Mondays, returned Tuesday/Wednesday in section
- 1/6 three Quizzes in section
- Labs and Computer Labs, (tentatively) starting
- 1/3 two in-class Prelims, Friday October 3 and Wednesday November 5.
- 1/3 Final Tuesday Dec 16, 9:00 - 11:30 am (we're on the "exception
exam period" list), room
to be announced October 31.
Web page last modified: December 18, 2003
James P. Sethna,
Statistical Mechanics: Entropy, Order Parameters, and Complexity,
now available at
Oxford University Press