Intermediate Mechanics and Intermediate Electricity & Magnetism

In summary: I scored a C- in Intermediate Mechanics I and a C in Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I. I'm worried that I won't do well in the more difficult courses this coming year.In summary, the student did poorly in the second course of physics, and is worried about doing well in more difficult courses in the future.
  • #1
stefan10
35
0
So I took honors level introductory physics courses my first year. Here are the descriptions.

A more challenging alternative to 33-111, Physics I for Science Students. Students with particularly strong physics backgrounds may volunteer for this course. Modeling of physical systems, including 3D computer modeling, with emphasis on atomic-level description and analysis of matter and its interactions. Momentum, numerical integration of Newton's laws, ball-and-spring model of solids, harmonic oscillator, energy, energy quantization, mass-energy equivalence, multiparticle systems, collisions, angular momentum including quantized angular momentum, kinetic theory of gases, statistical mechanics (temperature, entropy, and specific heat of the Einstein solid, Boltzmann factor).

A more challenging alternative to 33-112, Physics for Science Students II. Emphasis on atomic-level description and analysis of matter and its electric and magnetic interactions. Coulomb's law, polarization, electric field, plasmas, field of charge distributions, microscopic analysis of resistor and capacitor circuits, potential, macroscopic analysis of circuits, Gauss' law, magnetic field, atomic model of magnetism, Ampere's law, magnetic force, relativistic issues, magnetic induction with emphasis on non-Coulomb electric field, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic radiation including its production and its effects on matter, re-radiation, interference. Computer modeling and visualization; desktop experiments.

I did worse in the second course than the first. This coming year I will be taking intermediate level courses for these topics. The difference is that I will have both Intermediate Mechanics I and Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I (parts II will be in the spring semester next year) in the same semester (also Thermal Physics I - which both parts I & II are comparable to a graduate level Thermodynamics course, according to the professor.)

Here are the course descriptions of these three courses:

Fundamental concepts of classical mechanics. Conservation laws, momentum, energy, angular momentum, Lagrange's and Hamilton's equations, motion under a central force, scattering, cross section, and systems of particles.


This course includes the basic concepts of electro- and magnetostatics. In electrostatics, topics include the electric field and potential for typical configurations, work and energy considerations, the method of images and solutions of Laplace's Equation, multipole expansions, and electrostatics in the presence of matter. In magnetostatics, the magnetic field and vector potential, magnetostatics in the presence of matter, properties of dia-, para- and ferromagnetic materials are developed.

The three laws of classical thermodynamics, which deal with the existence of state functions for energy and entropy and the entropy at the absolute zero of temperature, are developed along phenomenological lines. Elementary statistical mechanics is then introduced via the canonical ensemble to understand the interpretation of entropy in terms of probability and to calculate some thermodynamic quantities from simple models. These laws are applied to deduce relationships among heat capacities and other measurable quantities and then are generalized to open systems and their various auxiliary thermodynamic potentials; transformations between potentials are developed. Criteria for equilibrium of multicomponent systems are developed and applied to phase transformations and chemical reactions. Models of solutions are obtained by using statistical mechanics and are applied to deduce simple phase diagrams for ideal and regular solutions. The concept of thermodynamic stability is then introduced and illustrated in the context of phase transformations.

Right now we are taking Mathematical Methods for Physicists, getting used to other coordinate systems, vector calculus, Fourier series, etc.

From looking at the course content and so on, it seems as if we are applying all the math we learned in Math Methods to these topics, and extending our knowledge. Should these courses be pretty easy then, if my knowledge of introductory mechanics, electricity/magnetism, and math methods is pretty decent? Or should I expect something difficult. I'm just worried that it might be too much, but they're all required courses and I can only really take them this next semester.

Here are the math and physics courses I've taken so far: Intro Mechanics, Intro Electricity & Mag, Modern Physics, Intro Quantum Mechanics, Calc 1-3 (3 being multivariable calculus), Diff Eqs for Physicists, Intro Linear Algebra, Math Methods for Physics, and Electronics Lab(although I dropped it half way, and will take it later.)
 
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  • #2
stefan10 said:
I did worse in the second course than the first.

This can mean a lot of things. How exactly did you do in the two courses?
 
  • #3
micromass said:
This can mean a lot of things. How exactly did you do in the two courses?

B (almost an A) in the first course, and a C in the second course. I had a lot of trouble with our programming assignments in the second course, and they were worth a considerable portion of the grade. We also did the differential forms of Maxwell's Equations, and I had trouble with the vector calculus involved, since I hadn't taken even 3D Calculus by that time. Now I'm pretty solid after both 3D Calculus and Mathematical Methods for Physicists covered the mathematics behind Maxwell's Equations. I took the tests for the non-honors courses, just to see how both classes compared, and I didn't get less than an A on any of them (6 exams and 2 final exams total.) I had my professor grade them for me, so that it was neutral and accurate.

I expect to get a B in Math Methods and an A in Introductory Quantum Physics this semester, my study habits have improved considerably since freshman year, and I was able to close the knowledge gap that I had between high school and my private university.
 

Related to Intermediate Mechanics and Intermediate Electricity & Magnetism

1. What is the difference between intermediate mechanics and intermediate electricity and magnetism?

Intermediate mechanics is a branch of physics that deals with the motion of objects and the forces that cause them to move. Intermediate electricity and magnetism, on the other hand, focuses on the study of electric and magnetic fields and their interactions with charged particles.

2. What are some real-life applications of intermediate mechanics and intermediate electricity and magnetism?

Intermediate mechanics and intermediate electricity and magnetism have numerous practical applications, such as designing and building machines and structures, understanding the behavior of electricity and magnetism in electronic devices, and analyzing the motion of particles in particle accelerators.

3. What are some key concepts or principles in intermediate mechanics and intermediate electricity and magnetism?

In intermediate mechanics, concepts such as Newton's laws of motion, conservation of energy and momentum, and rotational motion are important. In intermediate electricity and magnetism, key principles include Coulomb's law, electric and magnetic fields, and electromagnetic induction.

4. How does intermediate mechanics and intermediate electricity and magnetism relate to other branches of physics?

Intermediate mechanics and intermediate electricity and magnetism are closely related to other branches of physics, such as thermodynamics, optics, and quantum mechanics. The principles and formulas in these branches often build upon or complement those in intermediate mechanics and intermediate electricity and magnetism.

5. What are some common challenges in understanding intermediate mechanics and intermediate electricity and magnetism?

Some students may struggle with visualizing the abstract concepts in intermediate mechanics and intermediate electricity and magnetism. This can be overcome by using diagrams and simulations to aid understanding. Another common challenge is applying mathematical principles and formulas correctly, which can be addressed through practice and seeking clarification from a teacher or tutor.

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