SYMBOLIC COMPUTER CODES
Mathematical computer programmes such as Mathematica, Maple, Mathcad, and Matlab are powerful tools that are exploited extensively in science and engineering. Thus it is strongly recommended that you become facile in using one of these codes in addition to the fact that such codes open the possibility of study and simulation of the behaviour of complicated mechanical systems applicable to this course. A disadvantage of using such canned software is that it can give you a false illusion regarding understanding the fundamental physics that is essential for applying classical mechanics and taking examinations.
The University of Rochester has site licenses for Mathematica and Matlab that allows access by all students at no cost. These mathematical computer codes can be used in P235W to solve complicated equations and integrals, for matrix manipulation, as well as for graphics, simulations and demonstrations to explore the subtleties of classical mechanics. The computer files needed for running the Mathematica examples for the chapters in the notes can be accessed via the links below.
A useful link for learning the basic operation is "Hands-on Start to Mathematica" which is a free, two-part online screencast that introduces key features of Mathematica. The textbook "Mathematica for Theoretical Physics" by Gerd Baumann, (Springer) relates well to this course and is on reserve in POA.
To obtain Mathematica under this license, go to the URL http://www.rochester.edu/it/downloads/math. The download procedure requires a NetID login. It is recommended that you download Mathematica to your personal computer but the code also is available on the ITS computers. An excellent description of Mathematica plus related textbooks is provided by Professor Al Clark in the ME201/MTH281 website.