16 Feb 1999
Northwestern University: Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions Spring 1998-99

Physics D60-0 - 20

Instructor: Predrag Cvitanovic'
Office Address: Tech F332
Phone: 491-3235
E-mail: p-cvitanovic@nwu.edu
Instructor home page: www.phys.nwu.edu/~predrag
Time: TTH 2:30-4:00
Room: M120 TCH
Expected Enrollment: 10

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course offers a graduate level introduction to nonlinear dynamics and chaos. Effects of nonlinearities in systems encountered in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering are studied with the aim of providing basic tools to simulate and analyze nonlinear systems.

Nonlinear dynamics - pervasive in even the simplest laws of nature - often leads to bewilderingly complex outcomes. Within this chaos, modern theory of dynamical systems uncovers structures largely independent of the details of underlying dynamics. The main theme is the qualitative analysis of nonlinear dynamical flows: stability of fixed points, existence of limit cycles, bifurcations and chaos. The systems to be studied are drawn from a wide range of sciences and engineering applications.

TEXT: Steven H. Strogatz: Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos (Addison-Wesley 1994). The book should be on stock at Great Expectations, 911 Foster, Evanston, tel. (847) 864-3881, greatexpectations@compuserve.com. Supplementary notes: a subset of Classical and Quantum Chaos: A Cyclist Treatise webbook, available on www.nbi.dk/ChaosBook/ .

START: Tuesday, March 29, 2:30 in Tech M120, with detailed schedule available on www.phys.nwu.edu/~predrag/NUcourses/D60-sched99.html .

PREREQUISITES: A basic background in calculus, ordinary differential equations, and classical mechanics. Weekly homework assignments require both analytic and numerical work, so familiarity with a programming language is a necessity. This course, or one like it, is a prerequsite for the advanced courses in nonlinear dynamics, such as ``Geometry of chaos'' and ``Diffusion, transport and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics''.

TEACHING METHOD: Three lectures per week

EVALUATION METHOD: Weekly homework assignments and a term project individually tailored to student's level and research interests. Grades will be determined from the homework (60%) and the term project (40%).

COURSE HOME PAGE: www.phys.nwu.edu/~predrag/NUcourses/D60-Spr99.html.

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