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Contribution to Book
A Companion to the Introduction to Modern Dynamics
Introduction to Modern Dynamics (2019)
  • David D Nolte, Purdue University
A Jr/Sr Mechanics/Dynamics textbook from Oxford University Press, updating how we teach undergraduate physics majors with increased relevance for physics careers in changing times.

Additional materials, class notes and examples to go with the textbook Introduction to Modern Dynamics: Chaos, Networks, Space and Time (Oxford University Press, 2019).

The best parts of physics are the last topics that our students ever see.  These are the exciting new frontiers of nonlinear and complex systems that are at the forefront of university research and are the basis of many of our high-tech businesses.  Topics such as traffic on the World Wide Web, the spread of epidemics through globally-mobile populations, or the synchronization of global economies are governed by universal principles just as profound as Newton’s laws.  Nonetheless, the conventional university physics curriculum reserves most of these topics for advanced graduate study.  Two justifications are given for this situation: first, that the mathematical tools needed to understand these topics are beyond the skill set of undergraduate students, and second, that these are specialty topics with no common theme and little overlap.
Introduction to Modern Dynamics: Chaos, Networks, Space and Time dispels these myths.  The structure of this book combines the three main topics of modern dynamics—chaos theory, dynamics on complex networks and the geometry of dynamical spaces—into a coherent framework.  By taking a geometric view of physics, concentrating on the time evolution of physical systems as trajectories through abstract spaces, these topics share a common and simple mathematical language with which any student can gain a unified physical intuition. Given the growing importance of complex dynamical systems in many areas of science and technology, this text provides students with an up-to-date foundation for their future careers.
While pursuing this aim, Introduction to Modern Dynamics embeds the topics of modern dynamics—chaos, synchronization, network theory, neural networks, evolutionary change, econophysics and relativity—within the context of traditional approaches to physics founded on the stationarity principles of variational calculus and Lagrangian and Hamiltonian physics.  As the physics student explores the wide range of modern dynamics in this text, the fundamental tools that are needed for a physicist’s career in quantitative science are provided as well, including topics the student needs to know for the graduate record examination (GRE).  The goal of this textbook is to modernize the teaching of junior-level dynamics, responsive to a changing employment landscape, while retaining the core traditions and common language of dynamics texts.
  • chaos,
  • relativity,
  • Lagrangian dynamics,
  • Hamiltonian dynamics,
  • network theory,
  • econophysics,
  • evolutionary dynamics,
  • gravitation,
  • nonlinear dynamics
Publication Date
Fall 2019
Oxford University Press
Publisher Statement
Citation Information
David D Nolte. "A Companion to the Introduction to Modern Dynamics" Introduction to Modern Dynamics (2019)
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