MATH 3094 Fall 2021

course home page: Math 3094 Undergraduate Seminar: Mathematical foundations of classical mechanics

Informational poster about the course

Course description: we will start by recalling that Newton proposed three laws of motion as a foundation for his principles of natural philosophy, laying the foundations for classical mechanics. In particular he introduced calculus as a tool which allowed him to treat properly the laws of motion and gravitation. Methods developed later by Lagrange and Hamilton have found applications in many fields of mathematics and beyond, and we will talk about a number of such applications.

Additional information: the course will cover many topics which are considered standard in mathematics, especially in applied mathematics. For example, calculus of variations is a staple in many applications as well as in mathematical fields such as optimization. The topics covered will reflect the interests of the students enrolled, and the exposition will be as self-contained as possible.

Lecture times:  Tuesday, Thursday   2:00 pm-3:15 pm.

Instructor:  Masha Gordina,   MONT 340.

Office hours: TBA.

Textbook: Classical Mechanics with Calculus of Variations and Optimal Control: An Intuitive Introduction, by Mark Levi. About the textbook author: Mark Levi is a Professor at Penn State University, and he is a regular contributor to the SIAM News. His MATHEMATICAL CURIOSITIES give a good illustration to some of the math ideas we do not find presented in standard math courses.

Masha Gordina (maria.gordina at