Physics 211
General Physics
Fall 2002

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 1:30-3:20pm in 112 NSCI

Wednesday 2:30-4:30pm in 112 NSCI

Additionally, a help room will be staffed to answer homework related questions. This will be in the Physics conference room (122NSF) and will be staffed at various times each day (the schedule is posted on the Rm122 door).


Semester schedule (calendar)


Review/Problem Sessions

Formula sheets (PDF format)

Web Projects

Links to Web info (to help with your project)

Link to Auroral Forecast at the GI

Grades Now available


This syllabus is located at:

Course Syllabus

Prerequisites: Calculus and high school physics. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus will be used extensively.

Materials Needed:

Required Text:

Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 5th edition, Serway, Beichner.


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

Lectures: 10:30am MWF in 201A NSCI or 5:50PM MWF in 202 NSCI. 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 Friday 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 (note new time). 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.
Only a selection of problems will be graded each week, totaling about 25 points each. Solution sets will be posted in the glass cabinet in the Physics Dept. hall. You are strongly encouraged get copies to help you understand how to approach these problems; it will likely help on tests.

Quizzes: 6 short quizzes will be given in class during the semester. They will be closed book and no calculators allowed (or needed). All difficult formulas needed will be given and the quiz will be similar to some of the recent homework. The quizzes will be announced in class and on the schedule page at least one week in advance.

Project: There will be a project due worth a maximum of approximately 10% of the course grade. The project will be in the form of a web page on a topic in physics 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 18th and must be competed by Nov. 27th. They will be graded both for presentation and content. More details will be discussed in class.

Labs: There is a lab associated with this course. ALL labs and reports must be completed to get a passing grade for the lab.
Questions about the lab should be directed to the teaching assistant in charge of your lab or as a last resort me.

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

	Oct. 11, approx. Chapters 1-7
	Nov 11, approx. Chapters 7-12

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. Solutions will be discussed and posted.

Final Exam: The final exam will be at 10:15 am (for morning class) and 5:45PM (for evening class) on Wednesday, Dec 18. It will cover the entire course (Chapters 1-18), with some emphasis on the more recent material. The final will be closed-book, but you will be given two sides of an 8 1/2 x 11-inch sheet with most of the needed equations.

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

	2 hour exams	30 %
	Final exam	25 %
	Homework	10 %
	Quizzes		10 %
	Project		10 %
	Lab		15 %

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.

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. Watkins, Physics Department Office, room 102 NSCI.

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

	Fundamentals of Physics, 5th or 6th edition, Halliday, Resnick, 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:

  1. Read the chapter prior to lecture, so that you will know what it's about.
  2. Listen carefully to the lecture and take notes.
  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 answer all "Checkpoint" problems in the text and the questions at the end of the chapter. If you understand these, you've probably understood the salient points of 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 12 August, 2004