Classical Mechanics (Phys. 4600/7600)

Computer Number: 20278  Spring 2022

Time &  Place :

Tuesday and Thursday 12:45 PM ─ 2:30 PM - Langdale Rm 318

Office Hours:

Tuesday and Thursday: 2.30 -3.30 PM . Please email me at with your  questions/comments if you have issues meeting in these times.   I will communicate through your GSU student email. Please send your messages through that email too.   


Dr. Unil Perera
507 SA
(404) 413-6037



 PHYS 2212K and MATH 2652 with grades of C or higher, or equivalent, or consent of instructor. Calculus, Differential and Partial Differential equations will be heavily used.



Analytical Mechanics, 7th edition, by Fowels & Cassiday (Thomson Brooks/Cole). (The new edition is fine).

Resource needed:

You will need to access the internet (webcam/microphone will be a plus). For                  Internet access and/ or other instrumentation, contact CETL at:        ( For technology help contact:


Some of  these books are on 3 day reserve (or online access)  at the Pullen library.

1)           Introduction to  Classical Mechanics by Atam P Arya (2nd ed),

2)            Classical  Mechanics, By Tai L Chow (Online access available)  

3)           Goldstein Classical Mechanics,

4)           Classical Mechanics by John Taylor (University Science Books) 


Course Description:


(1)             Classical Mechanics is one branch of physics. Also one of the oldest areas of study. However, it is still an important area of physics which also include the exciting research field of Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos. 

(2)             When people think about a very hard problem, they use the word “Rocket Science”. In fact, classical mechanics is “Rocket Science” which is part of what we will learn in the course. However, I am not going to teach anything new other than the LaGrange method. (A new technique to solve problems without the use of Newton's laws) Then you may ask what I am going to do as the instructor. We will combine several basic ideas you have learned so far in physics courses to get close to the actual real-life situations. Physics uses approximations to make life easier for solving problems. However, to what extent we need to simplify depends on the accuracy needed. For Example, you have worked with an object thrown up or down under gravity and studied the details of motion assuming no air friction. You have also studied friction (probably a constant frictional force) separately. In this class, we will study the same problem with variable (with time, speed) and position) frictional force and can add a rotational motion too. In general, this makes the problem much harder, so you need to practice in order to perform better with the technique.

(3)             Nature managed to stimulate the early human thought process to invent controlled fires (probably observing lightning starting fires), the wheel (observing boulders coming down), etc.  Similarly, the early humans start thinking about what they saw and tried to understand why and how that happens. Central force motion and Orbits are a great example of that, if you cannot think of the Newton Apple. We will start this course providing you a historical approach to understanding nature and starting with dimensional analysis and units, vector algebra, familiar Newton’s laws (starting in 1-d and extending to 3D) and projectile motion. We will then cover oscillations, conservation laws, many body systems, and motion in central fields, motion in electromagnetic fields, rotation of rigid bodies, Lagrangian equations, Hamilton’s principle, and virtual work. By the end of the course, you should be able to combine the different parts of physics you learnt before and solve a problem close to the real-life situation. In other words, without a good background in classical mechanics, it will be hard to understand the new developments in Science. 

(4)             If you are a 7600 you will have an additional requirement beyond the 4600 students, please contact me for details.




·         Demonstrate an intermediate knowledge of Newton’s Laws. 

·          Demonstrate knowledge of the equations of motion. 

·         Apply advanced Newtonian methods to complex motion problems.

·         Demonstrate an intermediate knowledge of oscillatory motion.

·         Describe and model the oscillations of damped and undamped systems.

·         Demonstrate an intermediate knowledge of rotational motion.

·         Demonstrate an intermediate knowledge of 2 body problem and applying conservation laws to a system of particles.

·         Demonstrate an intermediate knowledge of central-force motion. Apply advanced methods to complex central-force motion problems.

·         Demonstrate a basic knowledge of Lagrangian & Hamiltonian dynamics.


Course delivery:

Course will be delivered as an in-person class. (However, due to the prevailing situation GSU could change the course delivery method  to online (i- college) or mixed delivery.) You will receive email notices on any announcements.  The course content in i-college will have several modules. After the Welcome Module, they will be labelled from Module 1, 2, 3,….. Each module will cover one or several chapters and will have submodules. The chapters and details covered in each module, the schedule, goals and learning outcomes are listed under each module.


Positive Study Habits:

·         Students who earn A’s and B’s, follow both oral and written instructions in the syllabus, go through the lecture materials multiple times to make sure they  can apply the concepts  and techniques discussed in the lectures to additional cases.

·         They would have worked out all the assigned quizzes by themselves. They may have discussed with others and carefully analyze the steps for solving a problem, but not copy material and submit as their own.

·         Also, they refer to multiple Classical-Mechanics books available in the library and additional material provided via i-college.




·         (1) Homework: (i-college Assessments and under the tab Assignments), also available in my GSU Physics faculty website under teaching and courses ( (2) Quizzes:~20% (3) midterm:~30% (4) Final Exam:  ~40%.  (~ indicates possible minor deviations.) Assignments will need to be uploaded as a single PDF file.  Please follow the pattern given below for naming the file name. {Identifier} indicating, it is homework (as set1, set 2, etc.). Your file name should be: (Example:Perera_U_classical_set1.pdf}

·         your lastname_First Initial_classical_{identifier}.pdf


Grading Policy:

·         Four testing parts will contribute to the final grade. (1) i-college Assignments  (Homework) (2) quizzes in the- icollege (3 lowest will be dropped) and the (3) Mid Term and (4) Final Exams. Expected learning outcomes listed above will be tested in quizzes, assignments and in the Exams. Being able to solve the problems similar to the assignments and problems discuss in class (but may not be the same) should allow you to score well in the Exams. Quizzes could be mostly multiple choice type questions. However, the problems in the exams will be selected based on the limited time available to answer the questions. The solution to the problems (From Asssignments to Mid term and Final) should include steps leading to the final answer. Majority of the points will be assigned to the important steps. Even with a wrong final answer one can get most of the points if the steps leading to the answer are correct. A basic (non- programmable) scientific calculator can be used. The exams will be closed book closed notes exam. An equation sheet will be provided. (Exams will be in class unless GSU changed it to online under a lockdown browser due to the prevailing situation.)

·           Very first Assignment will be testing your knowledge on the syllabus and Roll Verification.   Four of the  technical assignments will be discarded giving the students the chance to obtain up to the full points for submitting 10 of the assignments. Assignments may be graded randomly. The solution to the problems should include steps leading to the final answer. Points will be assigned to the important steps. All timely submitted homework (Assignments) will be counted. Solution passwords will be provided (iCollege or via in class) after the submission of the answers. Link to Assignments:


·         (Passwords for the solutions will be provided after the due date.)

·         Mid Term Exam  will cover at least First 3 chapters: Feb 22 or 24

·         The Final Exam (cumulative) will be a two and a half  hour in class test (could  change to online) will be  on Apr 26th From 10.45  - 13.15  


Roll Verification:





First Assignment in i-college will be used for Roll Verification purposes and information gathering.


The last day students may withdraw with either a "W" (Only for students performing at passing level) or a "WF" grade is March 1st, 2022. Withdraw before that deadline to avoid getting a "WF" while performing at passing level. This is automatic and the instructor or the department cannot change the grade.


Welcome Module           :  Welcome, Overview, Introduction January 11

Module 1: Chapters 1      :  Jan 11, 13

Module 2: Chapters 2      :  Jan 18,20,25,27, Feb 1

Module 3: Chapters 3      :  Feb 3,8,10,15  

Module 4: Chapters 4      :  Feb 15, 17,  22 or 24(Mid Term Exam), March 1

Module 5:  Chapters 5     : March 3

Module 6:  Chapters 6     : March 3, 8,10,22 (Spring Break  March 14-20)

Module 7:  Chapters 7     : March 22,24,29,31  

Module  8:  Chapters 8     : April 5,7

Module 10:  Chapters 10  : April   12,14,19,21


 Classes will be on Tuesdays and Thursday at 12:45 PM to 2:30 PM in Langdale room 318. The course schedule provides a general plan for the course delivery, deviations may necessary.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so via the Access and Accommodations Center (AACE) at Students may only be accommodated upon issuance of a signed Accommodation Plan by the AACE Center (see: and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to instructors of all classes in which accommodations are sought.


Academic Honesty:

In addition to the standard person to person exchange, sharing information/cheating (on to be graded assignments such as quizzes, exams) via group messaging apps such as GROUPME or Slack is a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy.

       Academic dishonesty is a serious violation of the trust upon which the success of our University depends. Cheating and plagiarism can not only result in a poor grade and penalties from the University, but it can cause your mentors and peers to mistrust you and could keep you from developing the habits to make you a successful student and a successful worker in your future career.

        Violations of the academic honesty policy that end up in your records appear on background checks if an employer contacts the university. The University’s policy on academic honesty is published in the Student Handbook, Policy.pdf, and includes dishonest actions such as cheating, plagiarism and facilitating academic dishonesty. Please be aware that violations of this policy will result in a grade of “F” for the assignment or the course. If you have any questions about the policy or are unsure if something, you’re about to do counts as academic dishonesty, please send me an email asking for a time to discuss the issue.

       The instructor may be using Turnitin, Grammarly available through I-College to detect plagiarism. You can use Turnitin to view the originality score, which helps you to better understand plagiarism. In keeping with USG and university policy, this course website will make every effort to maintain the privacy and accuracy of your personal information. Specifically, unless otherwise noted, it will not actively share personal information gathered from the site with anyone except university employees whose responsibilities require access to said records. However, some information collected from the site may be subject to the Georgia Open Records Act. This means that while we do not actively share information, in some cases we may be compelled by law to release information gathered from the site. Also, the site will be managed in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which prohibits the release of education records without student permission. For more details on FERPA, go here


Sexual Harassment:

In instances of sexual misconduct, the present instructor(s) and teaching assistants are designated as Responsible Employees who are required to share with administrative officials all reports of sexual misconduct for university review. If you wish to disclose an incident of sexual misconduct confidentially, there are options on campus for you do so.  For more information on this policy, please refer to the Sexual Misconduct Policy which is included in the Georgia State University Code of Conduct  (