Venue: Online
Class timings: Wednesday and Friday from 02:00 to 03:30 PM
First meeting: 2nd September 2020

Course description:

This is an introductory course on the foundations of mechanics, focusing mainly on classical mechanics. The laws of classical mechanics are most simply expressed and studied in the language of symplectic geometry. This course can also be viewed as an introduction to symplectic geometry. The role of symmetry in studying mechanical systems will be emphasized.

The core syllabus will consist of Lagrangian mechanics, Hamiltonian mechanics, Hamilton-Jacobi theory, moment maps, and symplectic reduction. Additional topics will be drawn from integrable systems, quantum mechanics, hydrodynamics, and classical field theory.


Calculus on manifolds; rudiments of Lie theory (the equivalent of Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Section 4.1 of [AM78]).


The course will not follow any particular textbook.


[AM78] Ralph Abraham and Jerrold E. Marsden, Foundations of mechanics, Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Co., Inc., Advanced Book Program, Reading, Mass., 1978.

[Arn89] Vladimir I. Arnol’d, Mathematical methods of classical mechanics, Graduate Texts in Mathematics, vol. 60, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1989.

[CdS01] Ana Cannas da Silva, Lectures on symplectic geometry, Lecture Notes in Mathematics, vol. 1764, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2001.

[MR99] Jerrold E. Marsden and Tudor S. Ratiu, Introduction to mechanics and symmetry, second ed., Texts in Applied Mathematics, vol. 17, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1999.


The final grade will be based on homework assignments (60% of the grade) and on two exams (40% of the grade). Both exams will carry equal weight.