The purpose of the final project is to analyze a mechanics-based dynamical system.  The system must be sufficiently complex that it can not be solved using the material that was covered in Physics 121/141.  The completion of the final project requires the following steps:

      Select a topic.  You will need to submit a proposal in which you describe the system you want to focus on by Friday, October 29, 2004.  This proposal does not need to be more than 1 - 2 paragraphs long, but should contain a description of the system you want to study, and what aspects you will focus on.  Examples of possible topics are:

o      The double pendulum.

o      Planetary motion (the influence of hidden planets).

o      Deflection of light around the sun (if light had mass).

o      Projectile motion with drag.

o      Traveling to Mars.

      Develop a numerical model.  You will need to develop a numerical model that you can use to study the dynamics of the system you have chosen.  This can be done using whatever tool is convenient to use.  For example, early in the semester we have used Excel to study the time evolution of systems.  I recommend VPython, but this is not a requirement.  In your report you will need to include a description of your numerical model, and make sure you demonstrate that your model works (for example, show that for a trivial case, your model agrees with the analytical solution).

      Draft report.  You will need to write a draft report that contains all sections of your final report, but is not necessarily complete yet (indicate what is missing in the sections you will include).  Draft reports are due on Tuesday November 23.  The draft report will be returned with comments on Tuesday November 30.

The layout of the report must be similar to what you expect to see in a lab report, except that in this case you do not report on an experiment, but on a model.  General information about the structure of lab reports can be found on the web at

      Final report.  The final report will be due on Friday December 10.  The reports must be completed in electronic format and will be posted on our web pages.

© Frank L. H. Wolfs, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA

Last updated on Friday, October 29, 2004 0:24