Course Identification

Physics module: Classical mechanics

Lecturers and Teaching Assistants

Prof. Shimon Levit
Amir Sharon, Jonathan Mushkin, Dr. Dan Klein

Course Schedule and Location

Second Semester
Tuesday, 09:15 - 12:00, Weissman, Seminar Rm B

Tuesday, 12:15 - 13:00, Weissman, Seminar Rm B

Field of Study, Course Type and Credit Points

Science Teaching (non thesis MSc Track): Lecture; Obligatory; Regular; 4.00 points


לתלמידי שני השנתונים
יועבר באופן מקוון בזום




For students in the Rothschild-Weizmann program only

Language of Instruction


Attendance and participation


Grade Type

Numerical (out of 100)

Grade Breakdown (in %)

Oral exam

Evaluation Type


Scheduled date 1


Estimated Weekly Independent Workload (in hours)



  1. The Newton equations for one and several particles. Forces and potentials. The Hamiltonian form of the Newton equations. The Poisson brackets.
  2. Symmetries and conservations laws. Time and space translations. Rotations. Energy, momentum and angular momentum. Center of mass. Kinetic and potential energies.
  3. One dimensional motion. Use of energy conservation to obtain a complete solution and its meaning. Simple examples.
  4. Two particle problem. Reduced mass. Motion in a central field. The Kepler problem. Classical scattering. Cross section. Scattering off a Hard Sphere. Rutherford formula.
  5. Small oscillations - free and forced. Friction and damped oscillations. Resonance - width and shift. Over damping. Oscillations in systems with many degrees of freedom. Normal modes. Molecular examples. Small oscillations in extended systems and their normal modes. Sound waves as an example.
  6. Motion of a rigid body. Angular velocity. Inertia tensor. Angular momentum of a rigid body. Equations of motions and simple solutions.
  7. Motion in non inertial frames. Centrifugal and Corriolis forces. Elements of general relativity.
  8. (extra topic) Principles of least action. Hamilton vs Fermat. Mechanics as geometrical optics - Hamilton- Jacobi's mechanical analogue of the optical eikonal equation.
  9. (extra topic) Galilei relativity principle. Elements of relativistic mechanics.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding with the basis of different formulations of the classical mechanics and their advantages in addressing different aspects of the description of mechanical systems.
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with all important connection between conservation laws and world symmetries like symmetries of translation in time and space and rotational symmetry.
  3. An improved hands on experience in dealing with important problems of mechanical systems like systems with constrains, normal modes of mechanical vibrations, motion of rigid bodies, etc.
  4. Demonstrate deep understanding of how non relativistic mechanics is generalized to include the theory of relativity.

Reading List

Lectures notes