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2011/12 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MATH2450 Mathematics for Geophysical Sciences 3

10 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr G Lythe

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2011/12


SOEE1301Intermediate Mathematics for Environmental and Geophysical S
SOEE1311Advanced Mathematics for Environmental and Geophysical Scien

This module is mutually exclusive with

MATH1060Introductory Linear Algebra
MATH2365Vector Calculus
MATH2420Multiple Integrals and Vector Calculus

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

The topics covered in this module are essential mathematical tools for treating many physical phenomena. Matrices provide a powerful tool for storing, displaying and manipulating information about linear systems of algebraic and differential equations. They are, for example, used extensively in the analysis of vibrating systems such as those encountered in seismology.The operations of differentiating and integrating scalar and vector fields arise naturally in areas of geophysics such as fluid flow and heat transfer.


To provide the students with sufficient Mathematical background for understanding their studies in Geophysical Sciences.

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
a) carry out basic manipulations involving determinants and matrices;
b) find eigenvalues and eigenvectors of given matrices;
c) calculate the gradient of a scalar field and the divergence and curl of a vector field;
d) evaluate line, surface and volume integrals using Cartesian and polar co-ordinates.


- Determinants and Matrices: Determinants and solution of linear equations.
- Basic matrix algebra.
- Transpose and inverse of a matrix.
- Symmetric, orthogonal and Hermitian matrices.
- Eigenvalues and eigenvectors: rotation of co-ordinate axes.
- Diagonalisation of real symmetric matrices; quadratic forms.
- Vector Calculus: Gradient, divergence and curl.
- Second order derivatives; the Laplacian; vector identities.
- Expressions in spherical polar co-ordinates.
- Line, surface and volume integrals involving vector fields.
- Flux and the divergence theorem; Circulation and Stokes' theorem.
- Laplace's equation, diffusion equation.
- Solution by separation of variables.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours68.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Regular problem solving assignments

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course Assessment.15.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)15.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins85.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)85.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 27/02/2012


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