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This course covers a variety of mathematical methods used in the sciences, focusing particularly on the solution of ordinary and partial differential equations. In addition to calling attention to certain special equations that arise frequently in the study of waves and diffusion, we develop general techniques such as looking for series solutions and, in the case of nonlinear equations, using phase portraits and linearizing around fixed points. We study some simple numerical techniques for solving differential equations. A series of optional sessions in Mathematica will be offered for students who are not already familiar with this computational tool.
Format: lecture; three hours per week
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
several exams and on weekly problem sets, all of which have a substantial quantitative component
MATH 150 or 151 and familiarity with Newtonian mechanics at the level of PHYS 131
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit: