Physics 190 Course Instructions


Lecture:  Gordon Jones (gjones, x4697, Office: Science G071  Lab: Science G074)

Labs:  Tuesday (J. Schreve, x4708, Science G066) and Wednesday (G. Jones)

Class Time:

Lectures:  MWF, 10:00 – 10:50, Science G041

Labs: MTW or R, 1:00-4:00, Science G030

                     Final Exam:  Friday, Dec. 16, 7pm-10pm


Primary Text:  Halliday, Resnick, and Walker; Fundamentals of Physics.  9th ed., Wiley.  Note: a copy of any edition will also work for most cases.


This course is an introduction to mechanics, including kinematics, circular motion, momentum and energy, and angular momentum, and fluids.  In addition, we will introduce special relativity for kinematics, energy, and momentum.  We will focus on conceptually understanding the laws of physics and translating this understanding into the language of mathematics.


Two exams 15% each, Cumulative final 25%. Problem sets 25%, Labs 20%.

The lowest problem set grade will be dropped.  Any lab that is not made up will drop your course grade by one letter grade.





Homework will be due in class most weeks, probably on Friday.  You are encouraged to discuss questions with classmates, but what you write must be your own words and must reflect your own understanding, and you must cite classmates or anyone else who contributes significant ideas.  Please remember the honor code.  You absolutely must cite anything you find online, even if you only used an idea.  Late problem sets will be marked down 15% if they come in after I begin class, and will not be accepted after I have given out the solutions (often the next class period). I will drop the lowest homework grade.

The process of problem solving is more important than getting the right answer.  Homework is not an exercise to get the right answer, it is a presentation, convincing me that your answer is correct.  Show your work in some logical fashion and make notes at steps where the reasoning might not be clear.  Write down where you got a value or how you solved an integral (Schaum, Maple, etc.).  No credit is given for mere correct answers, but for each problem, 20-40% may be deducted if it is unusually difficult to follow your logic.  Underlining or highlighting key steps and results can make your reasoning clearer.  Always include units and significant figures!



My office hours are posted on my door.  Please try to come during these times.  If necessary you can set up a time to see me, call ahead to see if I am in, or find me in my office or my lab.


Labs will meet in Science G030.  Makeup labs will be provided only in special cases.  Lab books and lab grades will be discussed in your lab section, but also labs feature prominently on my exams.


Two exams will be given during the lab period as noted on the syllabus.  Material for the midterms and final will draw heavily on the homework, since that is the material that I find important.  The final will cover the whole course but will emphasize the material covered after the last midterm.  You will be given an equation sheet before each exam including equations that you should know how to use, but which you will probably look up if you need them in practice.  The most basic equations will not be listed since you should know them already.

Equations are tools used in physics, but physics is not about memorizing equations.  The equation sheet is to emphasizes that studying for exams does not consist of merely memorizing equations.



Physics 190