Elective: This course counts as an upper division elective in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Activities: Part of the class will be hands-on interations with nonlinear systems such as chaotic circuits and sychronized metronomes.
Text: "Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos---With applications to Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Engineering", by Steven Strogatz.
Course Description:An introduction to nonlinear dynamics and chaos. Analytical methods, concrete examples and geometric intuition are stressed. Topics covered include bifurcation, phase plane analysis, chaos, iterated maps, period doubling , fractals and strange attractors. The emphasis will be on applications.
Prerequisites: Calculus (MATH 202) and a year of physics (PHYS 123 and 124 or PHYS211 and 212) are essential. Also useful is a knowledge of ordinary differential equations and linear algebra (knowledge of eigenvectors and eigenvalues). Having some experience with numerical computation is helpful but not necessary.
Summer Precourse assignment: Read the book Chaos" by James Gleick. This enjoyable book gives a nice overview of chaotic dynamics and how it came about. We will discuss the book in class.
Fall 2005 course syllabus.
Web resources for a similar course.
Lab at Cal Poly associated with Strogatz text.
Explanation of Picture. The graph at the top of the page shows
the hare and lynx poplulations versus time. These populations oscillate
with a periodf around 10 years.
Click on the picture for a detailled explanation.