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Intended Audience

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.

Richard Fitzpatrick 2011-03-31