Fall 2023 - PHYS 384 D100

Methods of Theoretical Physics I (3)

Class Number: 1450

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM  2023-09-06  2023-12-05
    AQ 5008, Burnaby

    Tu 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM  2023-10-10
    AQ 5008, 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


  • Problem Sets 40%
  • Midterm 15%
  • Final exam 45%



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


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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.