assignment Homework

Polar vs. Spherical Coordinates
Central Forces 2023 (3 years)

Show that the plane polar coordinates we have chosen are equivalent to spherical coordinates if we make the choices:

  1. The direction of \(z\) in spherical coordinates is the same as the direction of \(\vec L\).
  2. The \(\theta\) of spherical coordinates is chosen to be \(\pi/2\), so that the orbit is in the equatorial plane of spherical coordinates.

format_list_numbered Sequence

Curvilinear Coordinate Sequence
The curvilinear coordinate sequence introduces cylindrical and spherical coordinates (including inconsistencies between physicists' and mathematicians' notational conventions) and the basis vectors adapted to these coordinate systems.

assignment_ind Small White Board Question

10 min.

Curvilinear Coordinates Introduction
Static Fields 2022 (9 years)

Cylindrical coordinates spherical coordinates curvilinear coordinates

Curvilinear Coordinate Sequence

First, students are shown diagrams of cylindrical and spherical coordinates. Common notation systems are discussed, especially that physicists and mathematicians use opposite conventions for the angles \(\theta\) and \(\phi\). Then students are asked to check their understanding by sketching several coordinate equals constant surfaces on their small whiteboards.

keyboard Computational Activity

120 min.

Electrostatic potential of spherical shell
Computational Physics Lab II 2022

electrostatic potential spherical coordinates

Students solve numerically for the potential due to a spherical shell of charge. Although this potential is straightforward to compute using Gauss's Law, it serves as a nice example for numerically integrating in spherical coordinates because the correct answer is easy to recognize.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Scalar Surface and Volume Elements
Static Fields 2022 (6 years)

Integration Sequence

Students use known algebraic expressions for length elements \(d\ell\) to determine all simple scalar area \(dA\) and volume elements \(d\tau\) in cylindrical and spherical coordinates.

This activity is identical to Vector Surface and Volume Elements except uses a scalar approach to find surface, and volume elements.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Vector Differential--Curvilinear
Vector Calculus II 2022 (8 years)

vector calculus coordinate systems curvilinear coordinates

Integration Sequence

In this small group activity, students are given a picture as a guide. They then write down an algebraic expression for the vector differential in different coordinate systems (cartesian, cylindrical, spherical).

Use Vector Differential--Rectangular as an introduction. This activity can be done simultaneously with Pineapples and Pumpkins where students or the instructor cut volume elements out of pineapples and/or pumpkins to show the geometry.

accessibility_new Kinesthetic

10 min.

Curvilinear Basis Vectors
Static Fields 2022 (8 years)

symmetry curvilinear coordinate systems basis vectors

Curvilinear Coordinate Sequence

Students use their arms to depict (sequentially) the different cylindrical and spherical basis vectors at the location of their shoulder (seen in relation to a specified origin of coordinates: either a set of axes hung from the ceiling of the room or perhaps a piece of furniture or a particular corner of the room).

assignment Homework

Memorize \(d\vec{r}\)
Static Fields 2022 (2 years)

Write \(\vec{dr}\) in rectangular, cylindrical, and spherical coordinates.

  1. Rectangular: \begin{equation} \vec{dr}= \end{equation}
  2. Cylindrical: \begin{equation} \vec{dr}= \end{equation}
  3. Spherical: \begin{equation} \vec{dr}= \end{equation}

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Total Charge
Static Fields 2022 (5 years)

charge charge density multiple integral scalar field coordinate systems differential elements curvilinear coordinates

Integration Sequence

In this small group activity, students integrate over non-uniform charge densities in cylindrical and spherical coordinates to calculate total charge.

assignment Homework

Sphere in Cylindrical Coordinates
Static Fields 2022 (3 years) Find the surface area of a sphere using cylindrical coordinates.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Vector Surface and Volume Elements
Static Fields 2022 (3 years)

Integration Sequence

Students use known algebraic expressions for vector line elements \(d\vec{r}\) to determine all simple vector area \(d\vec{A}\) and volume elements \(d\tau\) in cylindrical and spherical coordinates.

This activity is identical to Scalar Surface and Volume Elements except uses a vector approach to find directed surface and volume elements.

assignment Homework

Icecream Mass
Static Fields 2022 (5 years)

Use integration to find the total mass of the icecream in a packed cone (both the cone and the hemisphere of icecream on top).

assignment Homework

The Gradient for a Point Charge

Gradient Sequence

Static Fields 2022 (5 years)

The electrostatic potential due to a point charge at the origin is given by: \begin{equation} V=\frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0} \frac{q}{r} \end{equation}

  1. Find the electric field due to a point charge at the origin as a gradient in rectangular coordinates.
  2. Find the electric field due to a point charge at the origin as a gradient in spherical coordinates.
  3. Find the electric field due to a point charge at the origin as a gradient in cylindrical coordinates.

groups Whole Class Activity

10 min.

Pineapples and Pumpkins
Static Fields 2022 (5 years)

Integration Sequence

There are two versions of this activity:

As a whole class activity, the instructor cuts a pumpkin in order to produce a small volume element \(d\tau\), interspersing their work with a sequence of small whiteboard questions. This version of the activity is described here.

As a small group activity, students are given pineapple rounds and pumpkin wedges to explore area volume elements in cylindrical and spherical coordinate systems. In this version of the activity, the fruit is distribued to the students with appropriate children's pumpkin cutting equipment, as part of activities Vector Differential--Curvilinear, Scalar Surface and Volume Elements, or Vector Surface and Volume Elements.

assignment Homework

Cone Surface
Static Fields 2022 (5 years)

  • Find \(dA\) on the surface of an (open) cone in both cylindrical and spherical coordinates. Hint: Be smart about how you coordinatize the cone.
  • Using integration, find the surface area of an (open) cone with height \(H\) and radius \(R\). Do this problem in both cylindrical and spherical coordinates.

assignment Homework

Find Area/Volume from \(d\vec{r}\)
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

Start with \(d\vec{r}\) in rectangular, cylindrical, and spherical coordinates. Use these expressions to write the scalar area elements \(dA\) (for different coordinate equals constant surfaces) and the volume element \(d\tau\). It might help you to think of the following surfaces: The various sides of a rectangular box, a finite cylinder with a top and a bottom, a half cylinder, and a hemisphere with both a curved and a flat side, and a cone.

  1. Rectangular: \begin{align} dA&=\\ d\tau&= \end{align}
  2. Cylindrical: \begin{align} dA&=\\ d\tau&= \end{align}
  3. Spherical: \begin{align} dA&=\\ d\tau&= \end{align}

assignment Homework

Distance Formula in Curvilinear Coordinates

Ring Cycle Sequence

Static Fields 2022 (5 years)

The distance \(\left\vert\vec r -\vec r\,{}'\right\vert\) between the point \(\vec r\) and the point \(\vec r'\) is a coordinate-independent, physical and geometric quantity. But, in practice, you will need to know how to express this quantity in different coordinate systems.

  1. Find the distance \(\left\vert\vec r -\vec r\,{}'\right\vert\) between the point \(\vec r\) and the point \(\vec r'\) in rectangular coordinates.
  2. Show that this same distance written in cylindrical coordinates is: \begin{equation} \left|\vec r -\vec r\,{}'\right| =\sqrt{s^2+s\,{}'^2-2ss\,{}'\cos(\phi-\phi\,{}') +(z-z\,{}')^2} \end{equation}
  3. Show that this same distance written in spherical coordinates is: \begin{equation} \left\vert\vec r -\vec r\,{}'\right\vert =\sqrt{r'^2+r\,{}^2-2rr\,{}' \left[\sin\theta\sin\theta\,{}'\cos(\phi-\phi\,{}') +\cos\theta\cos\theta\,{}'\right]} \end{equation}
  4. Now assume that \(\vec r\,{}'\) and \(\vec r\) are in the \(x\)-\(y\) plane. Simplify the previous two formulas.

group Small Group Activity

10 min.

Sequential Stern-Gerlach Experiments
Quantum Fundamentals 2022 (3 years)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Flux through a Cone
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

Integration Sequence

Students calculate the flux from the vector field \(\vec{F} = C\, z\, \hat{z}\) through a right cone of height \(H\) and radius \(R\) .

assignment_ind Small White Board Question

10 min.

Vector Differential--Rectangular
Static Fields 2022 (7 years)

vector differential rectangular coordinates math

Integration Sequence

In this introductory lecture/SWBQ, students are given a picture as a guide. They then write down an algebraic expression for the vector differential in rectangular coordinates for coordinate equals constant paths.

This activity can be done as a mini-lecture/SWBQ as an introduction to Vector Differential--Curvilinear where students find the vector differential in cylindrical and spherical coordinates..