Fall 2022 - PHYS 255 D100

Vibrations and Waves (3)

Class Number: 2003

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 7 – Dec 6, 2022: Mon, Wed, Fri, 11:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 10, 2022
    Sat, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    PHYS 126 or PHYS 121 or PHYS 141, with a minimum grade of C-, or PHYS 102 with a minimum grade of B. Corequisite: MATH 251; MATH 232 or MATH 240. Recommended Corequisite: MATH 260 or MATH 310.



The physics of vibrations and waves. Topics include periodic motion, including free and forced oscillations, coupled oscillators, normal modes, and waves in one and higher dimensions. Quantitative.


1.     Free vibrations

2.     Damped vibrations

3.     Forced vibrations and resonance

4.     Superposition

5.     Free and forced anharmonic vibrations

6.     Coupled oscillators

7.     Non-dispersive waves

8.     Wave impedance, reflection from boundaries

9.     Standing waves

10.  Energy in waves

11.  Fourier analysis, modulation, Fourier transform

12.  Dispersion

13.  Evanescent waves

14.  Electromagnetic waves

15.  Polarization

16.  Plane waves at boundaries

17.  Diffraction

Course Delivery:

Lectures will be in-person. Notes will be posted on canvas after the lectures.

Participation will include canvas quizzes/polls during class (instead of i-Clickers) and active participation in tutorials.

Tutorials will be in-person.

Midterms (dates to be announced) will be during regular class time.


  • Written Assignments 10%
  • Answers to Reading Questions 10%
  • Two mid-term exams (2 x 15%) 30%
  • Final Exam 50%



Required Textbook:

Walter Fox Smith, Waves and Oscillations: A Prelude to Quantum Mechanics (available online through the SFU library)


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

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 website 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