Partial differential equations
In this chapter and the next, the solution of differential equations of types typically encountered in the physical sciences and engineering is extended to situations involving more than one independent variable. A partial differential equation (PDE) is an equation relating an unknown function (the dependent variable) of two or more variables to its partial derivatives with respect to those variables. The most commonly occurring independent variables are those describing position and time, and so we will couch our discussion and examples in notation appropriate to them.
As in the rest of this book, we will focus our attention on the equations that arise most often in physical situations. We will restrict our ...