Instructor: | Professor Henry Greenside | hsg@phy.duke.edu | 919-660-2548 | Physics 097 |
Teaching Assistant: | Emilie Huffman | emilie.huffman@duke.edu | Physics 294 | |
Homework Grader: | Victor Bai | baimingru.duke@hotmail.com |
The single two-hour recitation week will meet on Wednesdays from 1:15-3:15 PM in Physics 154. The recitations are informal opportunities for students to collaborate on problems in groups and to get help from the instructor and from the TA. Most recitations will finish with a 25-minute quiz on the material covered since the previous quiz.
A two-hour-long lab will be held in Physics 146 about once every two weeks on Thursdays, from 1:15-3:15 PM or from 3:30-5:30 PM.
Note: the first Physics 162L class will be on Thursday, January 9, at 10:05 AM. (This is because the first day of spring classes, Wednesday, January 8, is actually a Monday schedule because of the Martin Luther King holiday on January 20.) The first recitation and labs will be the following week,on January 15 and 16 respectively.
If will be helpful if you can take multivariate calculus (Math 212) during or before Physics 162. While 212 is not a prerequisite, some multivariate calculus will be introduced and discussed during the semester, including topics such as vector fields, gradients, line integrals, surface integrals, flux, and Gauss's law. Physics 162L and Math 212 complement each other well, the former helps to motivate the latter, and the latter helps one technically with the former.
Note: if you got a 5 in the AP Physics C electricity and magnetism exam and have taken multivariate calculus or more advanced math courses, you should meet with Professor Greenside no later than the end of the first week of classes to discuss whether it will be worthwhile to take Physics 162. The key issue is whether you will be prepared to take Physics 264L ("Modern Physics") if you don't take 162; 264 is too hard if a student knows only high school AP physics C and high school AP calculus. In the past, most physics and biophysics majors have found taking 162 quite worthwhile, even when they had a 5 on the AP Physics C electricity and magnetism exam.
Note: please use the third edition of Knight rather than an earlier edition. This will make your life much easier since throughout the course I will be referring to specific pages, examples, and homework problems from the third edition.
I expect all students to be respectful of each other and of the class. Students should arrive before the beginning of each class, recitation, and lab and be settled in so that these parts of the course can begin on time.
Laptops, cellphones, and tablets are not to be used during class unless Prof. Greenside gives you permission to do, nor should you use the computers in the labs to read email or surf the web. These devices are highly distracting and substantially weaken the learning experience, not just for a student using one of these devices but for the other members of the class and for the teacher. You are allowed to use your laptops in recitation but I urge you to stay focused on discussing and solving problems.
Various announcements related to the course will be posted on the course Piazza webpage. Piazza is an elegant web-based way for the instructors and class to share information and to help each other out. For example, if you have a question about the course ("What do I do if one of the books in the bookstore is not yet available?" or "What will be on this week's quiz?" or "I didn't understand one of the arguments given in class, here is where I am confused...", or "I am stuck on Problem 3 of Assignment 4, how do I get started?"), please post your question on Piazza so that other students, the TA, or myself can provide suggestions or comments. Anonymous posting on Piazza is allowed and do feel free to post anonymously if that will make you comfortable in asking a question.
I do make one strict request regarding Piazza, which is please do not post detailed solutions to any homework problem. This will short circuit the creative process of figuring out how to solve the problem, which is an essential part of learning how to do physics.
Please read the assigned textbook sections and watch the video tutorials actively. This means you that you should have a pen in hand and that you should take notes and think critically about what you are learning.
The different course components have the following weighting and are explained further below:
Component | Percent of Total Grade |
Final exam | 30% |
Midterm exam | 20% |
Weekly quizzes | 25% |
Lab reports | 10% |
Online pre-class quizzes | 5% |
Homework assignments | 5% |
Class participation for clicker questions | 5% |
These exams will be closed-book. The midterm will cover all material up to the date of the exam, the final exam will cover material over the entire semester, although with a greater emphasis on the material discussed after the midterm. Questions will be based on examples discussed in class, on examples discussed in the text, on quiz problems, on homework problems, and on concepts, strategies, and techniques learned in the labs. All relevant equations and data will be provided with the exams so you will not need to memorize such information. Instead, your goal during these exam will be to demonstrate your conceptual and technical understanding of key topics.
Most recitations will end with an in-class closed-book 25-minute quiz consisting of some true/false questions, some multiple-choice questions, and some questions that require writing in the form of calculation or verbal explanation. The quizzes are not cumulative, they will emphasize material discussed since the previous quiz, and will occasionally include questions about the most recent lab.
Your lowest quiz grade will automatically be dropped before determining the total quiz grade for the semester. Because of this policy, you do not need an excuse or permission to skip a recitation, for example if you are out of town because of some Duke or family event. However, you should try to take all the quizzes since they will help you to understand and to appreciate the material.
There will be approximately ten quizzes over the semester so each quiz will contribute about 3% of your overall grade. This means that you should not feel stress for any of the quizzes; even flunking a quiz or two will have a minor effect on your overall grade. Instead, you should view the weekly quizzes as a valuable opportunity for you to determine how well you are understanding the course material.
Information about how to complete lab reports and the policy concerning late and missed lab work will be provided during your first day of lab, with some information posted on the Physics 162 Sakai webpage under the Resources link (on the left side of the 162 Sakai webpage). The teaching assistant, physics graduate student Ms. Huffman, will be grading your lab reports so any questions about lab grading should go first to her. Students will work in groups and produce one lab report per group, and all members of a group will get the same grade. Groups will have one week after their lab to submit their lab report. Each lab report should be written by a different member of the group, with the author being denoted by an asterisk * at the beginning of the report.
The same comments given below for completing homework assignments apply to labs, for example about writing clearly, defining all symbols the first time they are used, giving physical units for all physical quantities, labeling graphs, and using an appropriate number of significant digits (typically no more than two, you will not be doing high precision experiments for the most part). One extra requirement will be to give error bars of data points in plots.
The lowest lab report grade will be dropped before determining your final course grade.
Each week before Tuesday's class, you will need to answer some short simple online questions about the assigned reading and videos via the MasteringPhysics software. The purpose of these questions is to encourage you to come to class prepared with some minimum understanding of the material so you can solve problems together in groups, also to provide some pre-class information to the instructor about what in the reading could benefit from further discussion in class.
The pre-class questions are graded in this way: for any given week, you get an A if you answer at least 2/3 of the questions by the designated date and time, whether your answers are right or wrong, otherwise you get an F for that week.
Note: for those of you who bought used textbooks and then need to pay separately for access to MasteringPhysics, you have the option to skip the preclass questions and have your grade based on all other parts of the course. But do keep in mind that the cost per week for MasteringPhysics is not high (about $5/week), and you will likely benefit from the practice questions, for which you get immediate feedback about your answer. MasteringPhysics also gives you access to the entire textbook in electronic form.
There will be a homework assignment about once per week that you should place in the Physics 162 box near the demo room on the due date. It is your responsibility to put your name and date on your assignment, to staple all pages together, and to hand your assignment in on time. The homework grader has my permission to simply throw out any homeworks that lack a name, that are not stapled, or that are handed in late without a prior excuse approved by me.
Assignments are intended to take from four to six hours per week to complete, not including reading the text and watching any assigned videos. If an assignment takes more than six hours, something has gone wrong so please post a message on Piazza that the assignment is too long (you can do so anonymously if you like). Prof. Greenside can then email the class about how to reduce the duration of the assignment, e.g., by dropping parts of a problem or an entire problem.
The homework problems and labs are the most important parts of Physics 162 in that this is where you develop and improve your physics intuition and problem solving skills. Since assignments can take up to six hours to complete, it is a bad idea to start and try to complete an assignment the night before it is due, that will not give you enough time to think about the problems in a creative and constructive way. So please start working on each assignment a few days before the due date. Starting early will also give you time to meet with me, with the TA, or with your classmates if you need some help.
Your lowest homework grade will be automatically dropped before determining your final homework grade for the semester. Either don't do one of the assignments or just let your lowest homework grade be automatically ignored. This also means that you don't have to ask permission or get an excuse to skip an assignment, e.g., if you are traveling out of town because of a Duke or family event.
Late homeworks are not accepted without an excuse that is approved by Prof. Greenside before the homework's due date. Please be familiar with the information on the Duke webpage about Class Attendance and Missed Work.
Since it will not be practical for the grader to grade all the problems of all the students (that would be over 200 problems per week), the grader will grade only two to three homework problems for each assignment. Although not all problems will be graded, you should make sure to figure out how to solve all the problems so that you will be prepared for the weekly quiz and for the midterm and final exams. Detailed answers will be posted for each assignment after its due date, and you should work through the solutions to make sure you have mastered the ideas and techniques.
You are not allowed to get homework answers from other students or from the Internet where complete solution for almost any undergraduate text can be found. This will be regarded as cheating which has serious consequences at Duke. In turn, you are not allowed to give complete answers to your classmates (including not posting solutions on Piazza). If a classmate asks for help, give a hint about what to do. You will learn much more if you struggle creatively to solve the problems on your own or by discussing them with your classmates or with the TA or with myself. Also keep in mind that 75% of your course grade will be based on quizzes, the midterm, and final exam for which you will not have access to your textbook to the Internet, to a computer, or to your classmates.
You are allowed to collaborate with your classmates on an assignment, and I officially encourage collaboration. (This is realistic, scientists collaborate all the time in research.) However, you must write up your homework on your own, in your own words, and with your own understanding. Please also acknowledge explicitly at the beginning of your homework anyone who gave you substantial help, e.g. classmates or the TA or myself. (Again, scientists usually acknowledge in their published articles colleagues that helped in completing some particular research.) Failure to write your homeworks in your own words or failure to acknowledge help when given may lead to severe academic penalties so please play by the rules.
When writing up your assignments, please be clear and demonstrate insight. Writing clearly means using readable handwriting (no tiny or crowded script) and presenting your thoughts logically. You should strive to use proper grammar, correct spelling, and good sentence structure. For questions that require a symbolic answer, explain clearly how you obtained the answer, showing necessary steps with some brief phrases of explanation. Use plenty of space between symbols, and use blank lines to separate successive lines of equations. Keep in mind that paper is cheap compared to the time for you to solve and write up your answers, and compared to the time for the TA and myself to read and grade your homeworks. You will get partial or no credit if the TA or myself can not easily understand your answers.
Demonstrating insight means using complete sentences or detailed phrases that explain what you are doing and why. Cryptic brief answers like "yes", "no", or "4π" will not be given credit. Your written answers must show that you understand how you got your answer and that you appreciate the significance of your answer. A simple criterion for a well-written answer is that you will be able to understand the answer yourself several weeks after you have written your answer, even without remembering what the original question was. Writing clearly especially pays off when it comes time for you to review your assignments in preparation for the quizzes, midterm and final exam. Writing clearly is also one of the most valuable skills you can develop at Duke.
When writing your homework assignments, please pay attention to details. All symbols should be given names the first time you introduce them. For example, you should say "the magnetic field strength B" or "the angle θ" instead of just using the symbols B and θ. Physical units should be given for any numerical answer that corresponds to a physical quantity. For example, you should say "the distance was d=0.02 km", "the angle was a=5.3 radians", or "the magnetic field strength B had the value 2.3 T". Graphs should be carefully drawn and have their axes clearly labeled, and you should give the symbols and physical units of quantities associated with the horizontal and vertical axes.
Numbers obtained from a calculator or from a computer mathematics program like Mathematica should be rounded to the appropriate number of significant digits. For this course, two or fewer digits will suffice for most answers, and in some cases you will only be required to estimate a magnitude to the nearest power of ten (no significant digits). Thus if you obtain a final answer 7.48752103E-03 by combining numbers such that one of the numbers had only two significant digits, you should write this answer in your homework, quiz, or exam as 7.5×10^{-3}. Excessive significant digits will lead to points being taken off on homeworks, quizzes, lab reports, and exams.
Discussion and answering of questions during class via the iclickers is an important pedagogical part of the course and so part of your grade depends on your attending class and in answering the questions. The grade for this part of the course is binary: if you answer at least 75% of the interactive questions over the semester, you get an A for this part of the course, otherwise you get an F. It does not matter if you answer the questions correctly or not, just that you are participating in the class.
Note that you will register your iclicker2 electronically early on in the semester and so your answers will be associated with your name. Also, answering 75% of the questions allows you considerable freedom to miss several classes without penalizing this part of your grade.
Jan 9, Thu | First class; no recitation, no labs this week. | |
Jan 22, Wed | Drop/Add ends at 5 PM | |
Mar 5, Wed | Midterm exam during recitation 1:15-3:15 pm; | |
Mar 10-14 | No classes, spring break | |
Apr 23, Wed | Last 162 class of the semester | |
Apr 24-27 | Undergraduate reading period | |
May 3, Sat | Final exam, 2-5 PM |
A list of topics by dates is given on the 162-course schedule webpage.
This book has many excellent insights about electricity and magnetism and especially excels in explaining how electric and magnetic fields are related through Einstein's theory of special relativity. A particular strength of the third edition is that it has many fully solved problems, great for increasing your understanding and for preparing for quizzes and exams.
All three volumes are available for free online, click here, then click on the link "Read" in the vertical left column.
All members of the class should occasionally dip into the Feynman Lectures to supplement classes and the Knight text. Feynman, a Nobel-Prize winning theoretical physicist, writes with unusual clarity, enthusiasm, and insight; his lectures succeed more than any other introductory physics book in giving a sense of what it is like to think like a physicist and why physics is fun and neat. Note that Volume I has just a few chapters on Physics 162 material (on optics, electromagnetic radiation, interference, and diffraction) while Volume II is mainly about electric and magnetic phenomena.
For those of you want to try more worked examples, look at any of the many popular calculus-based intro physics books, e.g., the ones by Tipler and Mosca, by Giancoli, or by Halliday and Resnick. I have put the fourth edition of the Giancoli book also on reserve for your easy access.
There is also a growing number of useful online resources useful for Physics 162L. Some examples are: