Mechanics (PHYS*2310)

Code and section: PHYS*2310*01

Term: Winter 2023

Instructor: Liliana Caballero


Course Information


The course also relies on a working knowledge of basic mechanics concepts such as 2-D kinematics, forces, Newton’s laws, circular motion, energy, conservation of energy, momentum, collisions, rotational motion, rotational energy, moment of inertia, torque, angular momentum, and simple harmonic motion.  I will also assume that students have mastered mathematical concepts such as derivatives, integrals, differential equations, and have been introduced to complex numbers.

Class Schedule

We will meet All Wednesdays from 7:00 p.m to 8:40 p.m

We will alternate between lectures and tutorials on Mondays and Fridays (as scheduled from 8:30 a.m to 9:20 a.m.)

For example: Monday Jan 9 we will have a lecture, Friday Jan 13 we will have a tutorial. Monday Jan 16 we will have a tutorial, Friday Jan 20 we will have a lecture, and so on.
We won’t meet on Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m to 9:20 a.m unless otherwise announced.

Meeting Type Day Time Location
Lecture Monday/Friday
8:30 - 9:20 am
7:00 - 8:40 pm
MacN, Room 118
Tutorial Monday/Friday 8:30 - 9:20 am MacN, Room 118


Role Name Office Email
Instructor Liliana Caballero MacN 433D
Teaching Assistant TBA TBA TBA

Office hours

Monday from 10:00 a.m to noon (or by appointment).

Course Materials


  • Classical Mechanics, John R. Taylor, University Science Books, 2005.

Recommended texts

  • T. Thornton and J. Marion, Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems, Cengage Learning, 2003.

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.

Course Website


Course description

This course will place the concepts of introductory mechanics in a formal setting, as well as expanding on topics of classical mechanics. Some of the topics will cover are: two and three dimensional motion, damped and forced harmonic oscillator, gravitation and orbital motion, special relativity, noninertial reference frames, and rigid body dynamics. 

Lecture Content

  • Review of Newton’s Laws. Reference frame, multi-particle systems, coordinate systems.
  • Air resistance. Linear air resistance, trajectory.
  • Conservation laws. Momentum, angular momentum, center of mass, torque, moment of inertia, energy.
  • Oscillations. Harmonic motion, damped oscillations. 
  • Central forces. Relative coordinates, equation of motion.
  • Noninertial frames. Angular velocity, centrifugal force, Coriolis force. 
  • Rigid bodies. Rotation about a fixed axis, inertia tensor, Euler’s equations.
  • Special relativity. Galilean relativity, postulates of special relativity, time dilation, length contraction, Lorentz transformation, four-vectors, four-momentum, energy.


Assessment Weight
Tutorial work 10%
Assignments  20%
Midterm  30 %
Final exam 40 %

There will be one midterm and one final exam. They will be closed-book exams.

We will have bi-weekly homework. The due date will be posted in each assignment. Late assignments will be received up to two days later and marked with 20% off unless special arrangements are made ahead of time. The Teaching Assistant will be responsible for marking the homework assignments and the tutorial work. Note that although you are permitted to discuss the homework problems with your classmates, you must write up the solutions yourself. Copying will not be tolerated. The homework problems are exercises that give you practice, and keep you up-to-date with the course material. However, you need to work on more problems on your own in order to master the content of the course.

During the tutorials, our TA will answer questions and work with you on problems brought by you to the session.  The TA will hand out one problem for you to work in group during the tutorial. Groups can be of 4 students maximum. One copy of the solution should be signed by all members of the group and handed in at the end of the tutorial.

The final mark of the course will be calculated with the following scheme. No other marking schemes will be considered.

Midterm date and time: Wednesday February 15th 2023 from 7:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m, place MacN Room 118.

Final exam date and time: TBA.

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 prior to writing up the solutions, it is not acceptable to share assignment solutions. The assignments are not group projects, and it is important that you do not show your final written solutions to other students.

Getting help

One of the best sources of help is the course’s TA and tutorial instructor. In addition, you can come to Eric’s office hours, or make an appointment for a special meeting at another time.

Grading policies

See the section on “Course evaluation”. 

Course policy on group work

See the section on “(Not) working with other students”. 

Course policy on electronic devices and recording of lectures

What you do with your laptop, smart phone, tablet, etc, during lectures is your own business, so long as it does not create a distraction for your classmates or the instructor. (The instructor is very easily distracted.) If such a distraction arises you will be asked to leave the classroom.

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor.  When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

University Statements

Email 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. The grounds for Academic Consideration are detailed in the Undergraduate and Graduate Calendars.

Drop Date

Students will have until the last day of classes to drop courses without academic penalty. The deadline to drop two-semester courses will be the last day of classes in the second semester. This applies to all students (undergraduate, graduate and diploma) except for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Associate Diploma in Veterinary Technology (conventional and alternative delivery) students. The regulations and procedures for course registration are available in their respective Academic Calendars.

Copies of Out-of-class Assignments

Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all out-of-class assignments: 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.

Accommodations are available for both permanent and temporary disabilities. It should be noted that common illnesses such as a cold or the flu do not constitute a disability.

Use of the SAS Exam Centre requires students to book their exams at least 7 days in advance and not later than the 40th Class Day.

For Guelph students, information can be found on the SAS website

Academic Integrity

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 encourages academic integrity. 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.

Recording of Materials

Presentations that are made in relation to course work - including lectures - cannot be recorded or copied without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a student, 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 that apply to undergraduate, graduate, and diploma programs.

Academic Calendars