Physics 311
General Physics
Fall 2006

Instructor: David Newman
Office: 112 NSCI
Office Phone: 474-7858
Home Phone: 458-8576 (if all else fails!! But please not after 11 PM)

Office Hours:

Monday 3:30-5:30pm in 112 NSCI

Wednesday 11:30-1:30pm in 112 NSCI


Semester schedule (calendar)


Review/Problem Sessions

Formula sheets (PDF format) (as needed)

Web Projects

Links to Web info (to help with your project)

Link to Auroral Forecast at the GI

Grades not yet available due to missing information (ie your work)


This syllabus is located at:

Course Syllabus

Course Content: In the first semester of this course you will relearn the basics of Newtonian mechanics with the mathematical tools and sophistication needed to solve the more complex and "real world" problems that physicists face. We will rediscover the wonder of Newton's 3 laws of motion as well as conservation laws and the formalisms which can make them so powerful. You will learn to love the beauty of these formalisms(or at least learn them) and their applications to such a wide range of problems. Most importantly, you will learn to impress your friends and relatives with your knowledge of the universe (or bore them to tears), so be prepared for being introduced to "The Power of Mechanics ".

Prerequisites: Calculus and MATH 302 as well as PHYS 211X. Algebra, trigonometry, calculus and ordinary differential equations will be used extensively.

Materials Needed:

Required Text:

Mechanics , 3rd edition, K. Symon.


No calculators may be used during exams. Otherwise, buy yourself a nice one. A basic, simple scientific calculator with trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions is all that you need.

Lectures: 2:15 - 3:15 PM MWF in 136? NSCI and a recitation session on M from 3:30-4:30PM. The lectures supplement but do not substitute for the reading. Lectures will cover the major topics, emphasizing and discussing the important points. They are not sessions to regurgitate material already written in the text. Your personal participation is important, and it is critical that you read the assigned material before lecture. Time permitting, several lectures will cover special topics beyond the scope of the text. These will be announced before hand.

Homework: There will be approximately one homework assignment per week. The assignment will be given out (and posted on the web and in the hall in front of my office) on Wednesdays and will be due in on the following Thursday by 5:00PM. Place your homework in the appropriate box in the Physics Department Office. You are encouraged to work with others on the homework, but make sure the paper you turn in is not simply copied from someone else. These assignments help me assess your understanding of the material, and will count toward your final grade.
Late problem sets will not be accepted.
Problems will be graded each week, totaling about 100 points for each assignment.

Project: There will be a project due worth a maximum of approximately 15% of the course grade. The project will be in the form of a web page on a topic in mechanics that you find interesting and we agree on together. These topics could include biographies of important scientists, scientific projects and scientific ideas. The topic must be agreed to by Oct 13th and must be competed by Nov. 24th. They will be graded both for presentation and content. More details will be discussed in class and on the web project link above.

Hour Exams: Exams will be given during the Friday lecture as follows:

	Oct. 13, approx. Chapters 1-3?
	Nov 13, approx. Chapters 3-5?

The exams will be closed-book, but you will be given one side of an 8 1/2 x 11-inch sheet with some of the needed equations. No calculators are allowed. The exams will be graded and handed back as soon as possible. Solutions will be discussed and posted.

Final Exam: The final exam will be from 1-3 PM on Thursday, Dec 14. It will cover the entire course (Chapters 1-7), with some emphasis on the more recent material. The final will be closed-book, but you will be given an equation sheet with some of the needed equations.

Grading: The course grade will consist of the following components:

	2 hour exams	30 %
	Final exam	30 %
	Homework	25 %

	Project		15 %

Note: I reserve the right to make adjustments to the final grade based on participation and trends in your grades over the semester

Contacting Me: I have office hours as listed above. You can drop by at other times if I'm not busy, or make an appointment. I am (almost) never available before class.

Plagiarism etc: Plagiarism and cheating are matters of serious concern for students and academic institutions. This is true in this class as well. The UAF Honor Code (or Student Code of Conduct) defines academic standards expected at the University of Alaska Fairbanks which will be followed in this class. (Taken from the UAF plagiarism web site, which has many links with good information about this topic)

Special Needs: The Office of Disability Services implements the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and insures that UAF students have equal access to the campus and course materials. We will work with the Office of Disabilities Services (203 WHIT, 474-7043) to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities.

Complaints and Concerns: You are always welcome to talk to me about anything, however, if you have a non-subject matter question or concern that cannot be resolved by me contact the department chair, Dr. Craven, Physics Department Office, room 102 NSCI.

Alternate References: To see the same topics explained differently, try the following:

	Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems, Stephen T. Thornton, Jerry B. Marion
	An Intro to Mechanics, Daniel Kleppner, Robert Kolenkow
	Classical Mechanics, Goldstein (graduate level but accessible)
	Mechanics, L. D. Landau, E. M. Lifshitz (graduate level, classic but difficult)
	Div, Grad, Curl, and All That: An Informal Text on Vector Calculus, H. M. Schey (very good)
	Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences, 2nd Edition by Mary L. Boas (excellent math methods text)
	Essential Mathematical Methods for Physicists, by Hans J. Weber, George B. Arfken (math methods text, see reviews on Amazon)
	The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Richard Feynman ( a great set of books...rather deep)

Here is a good web site on how to study physics which might be of
interest and use: How to study physics

General Advice: Physics is not something you read and memorize, rather it is something you learn how to do. Try the following study procedure:

  1. Read the chapter prior to lecture, so that you will know what it's about.
  2. Listen carefully to the lecture, take notes and ask questions.
  3. This is crucial: Do not go back and read and re-read the chapter until you "understand it." Rather, start working problems, going back through the chapter to clarify points as they come up. I suggest you try to go through all "example" problems in the text and look at other non-assigned questions at the end of the chapter. If you understand these, you've probably understood the chapter.
  4. Think! Don't simply try to fit the problems into the form of another problem, think through the problem first.
  5. Interesting Physics computer demos

Last updated 21 November, 2006