The  seeker


PHYS 508, Fall 2013

9:30 to 10:50 Monday, Wednesday, Room 136 Loomis Laboratory.

This web-page contains links to documents such as handouts and other useful stuff. These files are now only in PDF (.pdf) format.

Syllabus Outline

The course covers four related areas:

A more detailed, but approximate, week-by-week syllabus can be found here.

Homework Sets

There are 11 weekly homework sets (0-10) that will count towards the final grade, and one end-of-term set of optional problems. Your solutions sets must be deposited in the Phys 508 box before 5pm on the due date, which will (with the exception of Hw0 because of labor day holiday) always be a Monday.

Homework number 0, due Tuesday Sept 3th.
Solutions 0

Homework number 1, due Monday Sept 9th.
Solutions 1

Homework number 2, due Monday Sept 16th.
Solutions 2

Homework number 3, due Monday Sep 30th.
Solutions 3

Homework number 4, due Monday Oct 14th.
Solutions 4

Homework number 5, due Monday Oct 21st.
Solutions 5

Homework number 6, due Monday Oct 28th.
Solutions 6

Homework number 7, due Monday Nov 18th.
Solutions 7

Homework number 8, due Monday Dec 2nd.
Solutions 8

Homework number 9, due Monday Dec 9th.
Solutions 9

Homework number 10, Do not hand in. One problem will appear on Final Exam.
Solutions 10

Homework number 11, Further optional problems.


The midterm will probably be in class on Nov 4th. It will cover everything up to the end of chapter 5.

The final will be on Dec 18th, 8am to 11am in our regular classroom. It will cover everything.

Some old exams for you to review:

Midterm Exam, Fall 2002
Midterm Exam, Fall 2003
Final Exam, Fall 2003


I recommend (but do not require) that you purchase Mathematics for Physics: A guided tour for graduate students by myself and Paul Goldbart. (Cambridge University Press 2009). The list price is $90, but Amazon has it for $74 (+shipping). I do not yet know what the UI bookstore is selling it for. This book is an expanded version of the lecture notes for both PHYS 508 and PHYS 509. Here is a list of typos and outright errors that readers have found in the printed text.

As a cheaper alternative you can buy Mathematics for Physicists by Phillipe Dennery and Andre Krzywicki (Dover Pulications, $12.95) as an alternative textbook. It covers a fair bit of the material in this course, and will be useful for the complex-variable part of PHYS 509.

A set of online lecture notes is still available for download, but, now that the book is published, I am no longer maintaining them, so typos are not being corrected.

Grades and Gradebook

Registered students may access the on-line gradebook by using your university username and password. You will need to accept cookies, and have JavaScript turned on for the gradebook to work.

Your grade in the course will be determined as from your total scores weighted as follows: Homework 50%, Midterm exam 20%, Final Exam 30%.

Cultural Enrichment Links

Some of the material in the course is supposed to introduce you to the wider culture of mathematical physics and its applications in the real world. Here are links relating to some of the topics discussed:


Finding me:
Office: 2117 ESB.
Phone: 3-2891.
My office hour is Moday 8-9am, outside 2117 ESB (Tuesday on Sept 3rd) .



Vatsal Dwivedi
Office 3139 ESB
Office hour: Thursdays 10:30 to 11:30. 3rd floor conference space on the bridge linking STCS and ESB.

Last updated 18/08/2013