Classical Mechanics and Special Relativity


Classical Mechanics is the study of mass in motion. At large speeds, the theory of relativity applies. This course provides an intermediate treatment of kinematics, oscillatory motion, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian methods. High speed limits are discussed in the context of Special Relativity.



  • Semester 1 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Knowledge and understanding of the classical laws of motion.

2. Competency in using the essential mathematical skills needed for describing mechanics and special relativity

3. Problem solving skills.

4. Laboratory-based competency.

5. An appreciation of the influence of classical mechanics and relativity on modern scientific development.

6. An interest in the role of mechanics and relativity in the everyday world


  • Review of basics of motion: velocity, acceleration, Newton laws
  • Motion in a uniform force field
  • Oscillatory motion
  • Motion in a central force field, gravitation and Kepler's laws
  • Rotating coordinates and non-inertial reference frames
  • Many particle motion and modes
  • Rigid body motion, inertia
  • Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulation
  • Special relativity, Minkowski space

Replacing Course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): PHYS3290. Students who have successfully completed PHYS3290 are not eligible to enrol in PHYS2250.


This course replaces PHYS3290 If you have successfully completed PHYS3290 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed Knowledge

PHYS1210, PHYS1220 and MATH1120 (or MATH1220)

Assessment Items

Written Assignment: Written Assignments (x5)

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Laboratories (x4)

Formal Examination: Final exam

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Laboratory: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course students must complete a compulsory safety induction.

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 8 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term