Should I study Varation Calculus over the summer for classical mech class?

  • Thread starter xdrgnh
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  • #1
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I'm taking my first upper tier physics class in fall 2012 Analytical Mechanics. I know that the calculus of variation is fundamental to understanding the Lagrangian and because this will be the only classical mechanics class I will take in my undergrad I want to understand it well. Do you think I will gain a lot more insight into the field if a I study on my own calculus of variation?

Thanks.
 
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  • #2
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Hey xdrgnh,
Classical mechanics courses typically teach the required material from variational calculus in the first part of the class. You would certainly be a bit better off from knowing it ahead of time, but the actual mathematics is not particularly complex, and most of the difficulty will come from applying it to physics problems. A better approach in my opinion (if you want to do stuff ahead of time) is to just pick up a book on lagrangian mechanics and do problems in it.
 

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