Classical Mechanics and Special Relativity

UNSW Sydney

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Classical Mechanics and Special Relativity

  • Host University

    UNSW Sydney

  • Location

    Sydney, Australia

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    (PHYS1221 or PHYS1231 or PHYS1241) and (MATH1231 or MATH1241)

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Classical mechanics is the study of the motion of objects obeying Newton’s laws of motion, while Einstein’s special theory of relativity revises the Galilean notion of relativity between inertial frames. This course aims to introduce students to the elegant Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of Newtonian mechanics, and the fundaments of special relativity and the associated 4-formalism. Students will receive a strong grounding in these methods, paving the way for advanced topics in electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics. Topics to be covered include: Damped and forced harmonic oscillations and resonance phenomena. Central force problems and celestial orbits. Inertia tensor and rotational dynamics. Variational principles. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of mechanics. Noether’s theorem, symmetry and conservation laws. Coupled oscillators, normal modes, continuous systems and fields. Many-particle systems. Foundations of special relativity. 4-formalism. Lorentz transformation. Spacetime diagrams. Relativistic kinematics and dynamics. Relativistic Doppler effect.


    Course typically offered during the Spring semester

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.


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