Ge 108: Applications of Physics to the Earth Sciences


Instructor: Mike Brown,,  395-8423, 168 S. Mudd.

TA: Adam Waszczak,, 156 S. Mudd.

Meets: 9:00-10:30am T, Th, S. Mudd classroom

Many of your problem sets will involve using MATLAB to obtain simple numerical solutions. Caltech has a nice site license so you can download it for free.
Click here to learn how to get MATLAB running on your computer.

General class information

Topic #1: Applications of the population equation and other first-order differential equations

The material that will be covered for this topic will be in the first two lectures:
  • Lecture 1 1st order differential equations
  • Lecture 2 Applications of 1st order DEs. (Look here for the MATLAB program to numerically solve the foxes and the rabbits problem.)
    The population equation is covered in more and less depth with many many examples in many different places. Some sites that you might find useful and interesting are:
  • First-order differenential equations. Section 16.2 covers solutions such as integrating factors and separation of variables, while 16.3 gives some nice applications
  • First-order differential equations. Sections 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 give some terse summaries of the techniques we use. The corresponding homeworks provide nice examples to think about.
  • Khan academy, If you like this sort of thing you can watch videos. We cover everything up to "first order homogeneous equations." Pure math; no applications.

    Problem Set #1 Is due 16 Oct. You will need numeric.m

    Topic #2: Diffusion, advection, heat flow, and partial differential equations

    The material covered for this topic is in the second two lectures notes:
  • Lecture 3 Heat flow.
  • Lecture 4 Applications of diffusion.
    Other useful lecture notes:
  • Advection/diffusion
  • Initial value problems/fourier series

    Problem Set #2 Is due 1 Nov. You will need diffuse.m, and diffuse2D.m

    Topic #3: Harmonic motion

    The material covered in this topic is in
  • Lecture 11 Oscillations.
  • Lecture 12 Forced oscillations.
  • Lecture 13 Coupled oscillations.
  • Lecture 14 waves.
    Other useful lecture notes:
  • Simple Harmonic Oscillation

    Problem Set #3 is due on 27 November
    Problem Set #4 is due on 6 December, and you will need springs.m

    Your FINAL EXAM is here. The first page contains only the following instruction:

    Due 5pm, 14 December 2011, in Adam's mailbox

    This exam has a 5-hour time limit. You may use notes you took in class, notes handed out in class, problem sets, problem set solutions, and computers calculators or abacuses, but no other outside sources. You must work independently. In several cases, you might need standard constants, such as the radius of the earth, the density of water, or physical constants. You can look these up anywhere you please.