MATH/PHYS 612: Mathematical Physics II

Ed Bueler,       Spring 2006 UAF

Office: Chapman 301C
Phone: 474-7693
Office Hours online at
Class Time: TTh 11:30-1:00
Classroom:  NSCI 207.
Course Web Site:
     (includes a detailed, tentative daily schedule)

Description:  Mathematical methods for graduate-level physics.  In MATH/PHYS 612 we will study complex analysis (including conformal mapping), eigenfunction expansions, Hermitian operators, Sturm-Liouville problems, some group theory, vector and tensor fields (if possible), and the calculus of variations (if possible).

The course does not teach physics except tangentially.  Many "mathematical physics" courses nationwide are narrowly focussed on the mathematical needs of quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and/or general relativity.  The typical UAF student's needs are broader (and sometimes shallower), frequently including geophysics.  Many UAF graduate students in math and physics will work with systems of nonlinear PDEs or other nonlinear models.  Therefore this course emphasizes general strategies and mathematical possibilities.

Course Format:  The majority of class time will consist of my lecture.  I will encourage as many on-the-topic questions as possible.  Weekly homework assignments should inspire questions as well. Students should come to my office, individually and in groups, to discuss problems from the class.  I also encourage students to talk to me about mathematical issues which arise in the context of a project/thesis/dissertation.

Prerequisites:  MATH/PHYS 611.

Textbook:  The required text is
         K. F. Riley, M. P. Hobson, and S. J. Bence, Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering,
         2nd edition, Cambridge University Press 2002.
This thick and imperfect textbook has 28 chapters, only a subset of which are at the right level for 611-612.  In 612 my goal is to cover chapters 20, 17, 18, 19, and 24 (and possibly 21 and 22) in this order.  Some supplementary material will be added from other sources.

Grade = Exams + Homework :  Fifty percent of the grade will be based on weekly homework assignments.  An in-class midterm exam and a take-home final exam make up the other fifty percent.

Policies and makeup exams:   DMS has reasonable policies on incompletes, late withdrawals, and early final examinations, etc; see .  You are covered by the UAF Honor Code.  I will work with the Office of Disabilities Services (203 WHIT, 474-7043) to provide reasonable accommodation to student with disabilities.