Fall 2021 - PHYS 384 D100

Methods of Theoretical Physics I (3)

Class Number: 1809

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    WMC 2507, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 17, 2021
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    WMC 3220, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    MATH 252 or 254; MATH 260 or MATH 310; PHYS 211; PHYS 255 or ENSC 320. All prerequisite courses require a minimum grade of C-.



Applications of mathematical methods in physics, differential equations of physics, eigenvalue problems, solutions to wave equations. Quantitative.



· Applications of complex variables, contour integrals, dispersion relations, steepest descent

· One dimensional scalar fields, initial and boundary value problems, vibrating strings, infinite strings, energy flow, damped and forced oscillations, Green’s function technique in 1-dimension, Dirac δ-function

· Two dimensional scalar fields, rectangular, circular and wedge shaped membranes, normal modes, temperature distributions in a circular annulus, introduction to Bessel functions

· Three dimensional scalar and vector fields of physics, propagation of electro- magnetic and sound waves, heat flow, neutron diffusion, temperature distribution in a solid sphere, spherical Bessel functions and spherical harmonics, expansion of plane waves, Green’s function techniques in three dimensions

· Problems of mathematical physics with continuous spectra, integral transform techniques, wave packets

· Calculus of variations


  • Assignments 40%
  • Two Midterms 15% each 30%
  • Final exam 30%



Strongly Recommended Textbook

“Mathematical Physics”, E. Butkov

SFU Course pack: Mathematical Physics


Author: Butkov

Additional helpful texts

“Mathematical Methods for Physicists”, G. B. Arfken and H. J. Weber

“Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences”, Mary L. Boas

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students who cannot write their exam during the course's scheduled exam time must request accommodation from their instructor in writing, clearly stating the reason for this request, within one week of the final exam schedule being posted.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.