Physics 155: Mathematical and Computational Methods (Spring 2016)

MWF 2:00-2:50, 109 Regents Hall (lecture)
Th 2:00-3:50, 109 Regents Hall (lab)

Prof. Jim Freericks

Office: 552 Reiss
Office Hours: by appointment or by drop in. I am in most times except Monday and Friday mornings.
Telephone: (202) 687-6159

Course Description

This course will teach a wealth of mathematical concepts, some being review, ranging from complex numbers to integral, differential and multivariable calculus to matrices and linear algebra to differential equations to Fourier analysis. The focus and philosophy of this class is to get you to both understand and be proficient in the concepts being discussed. Wherever possible, we will use physics examples to apply the math techniques. Finally, this class will also teach you a wealth of numerical analysis employing python as the computing language. Much of the class materials and laboratory instrction will take place on the EDx course page. Be sure to visit that page often.

Learning goals

Our learning goals are for you to learn enough new math concepts that you will be able to apply them as they arise in different contexts in your future courses, but more importantly, we want to teach you how to learn new math concepts so you will be able to fill in anything you don't learn here or in follow-up math coursework on your own. Similarly, we want to develop your computational skills to the point where you will feel comfortable using them in your future careers as physicists.

View this syllabus at

Some Advice

This course will have 14 homework assignments. There will be three in class exams (Wednesday: February 17, March 23, and April 27, 2016) and a final (Saturday, May 7, 2016, 4-6 pm). Most of the readings come from the required texts. Assigned reading must be completed prior to each class meeting, where we will discuss problems and clear up misconceptions.


Homework Schedule

Grading Policy

Last modified January 6, 2016

Jim Freericks, Professor of Physics, freericks at physics dot georgetown dot edu