Next: Scope of Book
This book presents a single semester course on Newtonian dynamics that is intended primarily for upper-division (i.e., junior and senior) undergraduate students majoring in physics. A thorough understanding
of physics at the lower-division level, including a basic working
knowledge of the laws of mechanics, is assumed. It is
also taken for granted that students are
familiar with the fundamentals of integral and differential
calculus, complex analysis, ordinary differential equations, and linear algebra.
On the other hand, vector analysis plays such a central role in the study of Newtonian
dynamics that a brief, but fairly comprehensive,
review of this subject area is provided in Appendix A.
Likewise, those results in matrix eigenvalue theory which are helpful in the analysis of rigid body motion
and coupled oscillations are discussed in Sections 8.5 and
11.4, respectively. Finally, the calculus of variations, an area of mathematics that
is central to Hamiltonian dynamics, is
outlined in Section 10.2.