Order of Magnitude Physics( OOMP) module
Monday 4:00-5:00pm by Zoom
Wednesday 2:30-3:30pm by Zoom
Semester schedule (calendar)
Link to Auroral Forecast at the GI
Videos of Class
This syllabus is located at: http://ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu/471J_fall_2020.html
Course Content: OOMP deal with getting quick approximate answers. We will develop the mathematical (and hopefully intuitive) tools to study these all systems.
Basics of making estimates
What's important and what's not
Developing a physical feeling and trusting your gut
Prerequisites: A gut feeling, Algebra, trigonometry and calculus will be used.
Order-of-Magnitude Physics: Understanding the World with Dimensional Analysis, Educated Guesswork, and White Lies, Peter Goldreich, California Institute of Technology Sanjoy Mahajan, University of Cambridge Sterl Phinney, California Institute of Technology
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: 1:00pm MWF in 204 Reich. 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.
Homework: There will be approximately
one homework assignment per week. The assignment will be given out on Wednesdays and will be
due in on the following Friday in class. 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.
Project: Project will be a small group OOM analysis of some big future project (Space elevator or Dyson sphere scale).
Wed the 10th - groups chosen (3 or 4 people ….3 groups)
Mon the 14th - preliminary topic idea
Friday the 18th - finalize topic
Friday the 25st - list of Physics/engineering/??? issues
Friday the Oct 2nd - written report and (15min) group presentations
Report should have description of project, discription of physics/engineering/??? issues identified, OOM analysis and finally group judgement as to fesability. Does not need to be more then a few pages but clearlly written. Presentation should sumarize the same things.
Hour Exams: Exam will be given during lecture on:
The exams will be closed-book, but you will be given one side of an 8 1/2 x 11-inch sheet with most of the needed equations. No calculators are allowed. The exams will be graded and handed back as soon as possible.
Grading: The course grade will consist
of the following components (though I reserve the right to make grade adjustments
based on performance trends):
1 hour exam 25 % Homework 25 % Project 25 % Participation 25 %
I grade on a curve however to satisfy university requirments, above 95% will
be at least an A, above 85% will be at least a B above 75% will be at least
a C, above 65% will be at least a D (in most cases the actual curve is significently
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.
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.
COVID-19 statement: Students should keep up-to-date on the university’s policies, practices, and mandates related to COVID-19 by regularly checking this website: https://sites.google.com/alaska.edu/coronavirus/uaf/uaf-students?authuser=0 Further, students are expected to adhere to the university’s policies, practices, and mandates and are subject to disciplinary actions if they do not comply.
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)
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. Truffer, Physics Department Office, room 102 Reich.
Alternate References: To see the same
topics explained differently, try the following:
Consider a Spherical Cow: A Course in Environmental Problem Solving by Harte Consider a Cylindrical Cow: More Adventures in Environmental Problem Solving by Harte Back-of-the-Envelope Physics by Swartz Physics to a Degree by Raine The Flying Circus of Physics by Walker
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: