Physics 325
Classical Mechanics I

Prof. Gregory J. MacDougall

& Info
Discussion Lectures Homework Gradebook


General Information

Course Description
This course constitutes a core requirement for Physics majors or minors at the University of Illinois, and covers major topics from the field of classical mechanics. Topics covered include the kinematics and dynamics of classical systems, including a review of Newtonian kinematics and dynamics; three dimensional motion, variable mass, and conservation laws; damped and periodically driven oscillations; gravitational potential of extended objects and motion in rotating frames of reference; Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics.

  • Prof. Gregory MacDougall, MRL 216  → gmacdoug @ with "325" in the subject line
         or call me at 300-0147
  • Note- Due to construction in MRL, temporary office will be in MRL1022 for January and February, 2018.
For specific questions about homework grading, please simply email the entire grader email list, and the appropriate grader will respond.

Loomis 151,   Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:00 - 2:20 pm

Loomis 143,   Monday evenings, one hour in the period 4:00-9:00pm. The exact time of your discussion will depend on the particular section for which you registered.

Office hours
Tuesday, 3:00-5:00 pm, Loomis 276, Prof. MacDougall and Mengdi
Wednesday, 4:00-7:00 pm, Loomis 276, Manthos and Yu
Thursday, 6:00-8:00 pm, Loomis 222, Mindy and Yujie

Course Text Books
  • "Classical Mechanics" by John R. Taylor
  • "Introduction to Classical Mechanics" by David Morin
    which is available online @ UIUC Library; off-campus access needs VPN in Tunnel All mode

  • Syllabus
    See here.



    Course Grade Breakdown
    Homework will be 25% of the total grade, discussion attendance 5%, and exams will count for 70%. Two mid-term exams are worth 15% each, and the final exam is 40%.

    Homework due dates and time
    Homework assignments will be posted each week on Friday, and are due at 1:00 pm on the following Friday. Your solutions are to be deposited in the course homework box that is located on the second floor of Loomis Lab, at the entrance to the overpass to the Materials Research Lab (MRL) on the north side. Assignments which are late, but handed in by Monday at 1pm will lose 15%. Another 15% will be lost (30% total) for assignments submitted by Tuesday at 1pm. No late assignments will be accepted after Tuesday at 1pm! For assignments due within a week of a midterm exam, no late assignments will be accepted.

    General Policy Regarding Grading
    Homework is considered essential to learning course material, and should be treated as training for future work rather than as a test of what you already know. You should start working on an assignment early, close to when it is posted on Friday. We encourage students to work together, and get help from the professor or TAs when you encounter difficulties. We will happily explain difficult concepts during office hours and check your work for errors. For this reason, scores on homework are typically high (~95%). Don't make the mistake of starting your homework the day before it is due! (You know better.)

    Partial credit will be given on homework and exams if and only if the work is coherent. A random scattering of thoughts will not be awarded points. Simple numerical errors will not be strongly punished, however students are expected to be careful about their work and will lose points for errors which give incorrect physical results. The steps to receiving partial credit are: (i) write your solution neatly and coherently using equations and words to describe what you are doing (ii) checking your answer for consistency e.g. are units correct? does the solution behave correctly in known limits? Write as though you are explaining the problem to somebody who doesn't already know the answer! Expect the exams to be challenging but to be curved accordingly.

    Useful references

    Formula Sheets
    1D Formulae
    3D Calculus

    Useful results from Phys 225 (Courtesy of Prof. Naomi Makins)
    6 Basic Pieces
    The meaning of Grad, Div and Curl
    Strategy for integration in three dimensions