Mechanics 1 (PHYS*2310)

Code and section: PHYS*2310*01

Term: Winter 2021

Instructor: James Ball


Course Information


James Ball

Office hours

Tuesday 8:30 am-10:00 am Thursday 8:30 am- 10:00 am Friday 9:30-10:30 am via zoom. Or via email at

Teaching Assistant

Michael Mueller


Monday, Wednesday, Friday
8:30 am – 9:20 am

Computer Lab

Tuesday 12:00


Wednesday, 19:00 – 21:50   

Final Exam

April 24th

Course Description

This course continues building the foundation in mechanics begun in the first year. Topics include, one, two and three dimensional motion, damped and forced harmonic oscillator, gravitation and orbital motion, special relativity, non-inertial reference frames, and rigid body dynamics.


MATH*2270, one of IPS*1500, PHYS*1000, PHYS*1080



Lecture Content

Topics include

  • Coordinate systems, velocity and acceleration 
  • Motion in resistive media
  • Center of mass, momentum, angular momentum, and energy
  • Harmonic oscillators and damped oscillators
  • Driven oscillators, resonances, and Fourier series 
  • Coupled oscillators and normal modes
  • Central force motion 
  • Gravitational systems
  • Rotations
  • Non-inertial reference frames
  • Special relativity and space time diagrams
  • Lorentz transformations and rotations
  • Relativistic kinematics and 4-vectors
  • Relativistic mass and momentum


The lecture notes will be posted on Courselink. The textbooks for the course are: 

  • Classical Mechanics, John R. Taylor, University Science Books, ISBN 1-891389-22-X
  • Special Relativity for Beginners, Jurgen Freund, World Scientific, ISBN 978-981-277-160-5

The University of Guelph Library has a wonderful resource of e-books at Scholars Portal books.
You can login in with your University credentials and have access to countless books with problems to practice. As an example, you will find:

  • Greiner, Walter, Classical Mechanics: Systems of Particles and Hamiltonian dynamics, New York: Springer, 2010.
  • Strauch, Dieter, Classical Mechanics: an introduction, Berlin: Springer, 2008.


Assessment Total Weight Due Dates
3 computational assignments 10 %
  • Monday Feb 1st
  • Monday March 1st
  • Monday March 29th
3 problem set assignments 15 %
  • Tuesday February 9th
  • Tuesday March 23rd
  • FRIDAY April 9th
4 quizzes 40 %
  • Wednesday January 29th
  • Wednesday February 24th
  • Wednesday March 10th
  • Wednesday March 31st
Final Exam 35 % Saturday April 24th

There will be 3 programming assignments, each worth 3.3% towards your final grade for this course that will be handed out in your lab sessions.  There will be 3 problem sets each worth 5 % of your final grade. No problem sets will be accepted after the posting of the solutions on the course webpage.  Submitted assignment solutions must show calculation details, be legible, and written with a logical flow.  Marks on assignments will include a communication component.  There will be 4 quizzes, each worth 10% towards your final grade for this course that will be written in the tutorial sections on the dates indicated above. 

Course Policies

(Not) Working With Other Students

All work submitted for grading in this course must be each individual student's own work. While students are encouraged to share thoughts and ideas, it is not acceptable to share assignment solutions. The assignments are not group projects. It is important that you do not show your final written solutions to other students.

E-mail Communication

As per university regulations, all students are required to check their <> e-mail account regularly: e-mail is the official route of communication between the University and its students.

When You Cannot Meet a Course Requirement

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor (or designated person, such as a teaching assistant) in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the undergraduate calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration.

Drop Date

Courses that are one semester long must be dropped by the end of the fortieth class day; two-semester courses must be dropped by the last day of the add period in the second semester. The regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses are available in the Undergraduate Calendar

Copies of out-of-class assignments

Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all assignments and quizzes: you may be asked to resubmit work at any time.


The University promotes the full participation of students who experience disabilities in their academic programs. To that end, the provision of academic accommodation is a shared responsibility between the University and the student. 

When accommodations are needed, the student is required to first register with Student Accessibility Services (SAS). Documentation to substantiate the existence of a disability is required, however, interim accommodations may be possible while that process is underway.

More information:

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community – faculty, staff, and students – to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring.  University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct.  Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. 

Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor. 

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Recording of Materials

Presentations which are made in relation to course work—including lectures—cannot be recorded or copied without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a classmate or guest lecturer. Material recorded with permission is restricted to use for that course unless further permission is granted.


The Academic Calendars are the source of information about the University of Guelph’s procedures, policies and regulations which apply to undergraduate, graduate and diploma programs.

Course Evaluation Information

The Department of Physics requires student assessment of all courses taught by the Department. These assessments provide essential feedback to faculty on their teaching by identifying both strengths and possible areas of improvement. In addition, annual student assessment of teaching provides part of the information used by the Department Tenure and Promotion Committee in evaluating the faculty member's contribution in the area of teaching.

The Department's teaching evaluation questionnaire invites student response both through numerically quantifiable data, and written student comments. In conformity with University of Guelph Faculty Policy, the Department Tenure and Promotions Committee only considers comments signed by students. Your instructor will see all signed and unsigned comments after final grades are submitted. Written student comments may also be used in support of a nomination for internal and external teaching awards.

NOTE: No information will be passed on to the instructor until after the final grades have been submitted.