Physics 195 is the second semester of a four semester sequence that provides a solid foundation to the topics and methods of physics for students intending to major in physics or in closely related fields.

Course Information and Supplies


Brian Collett
Office: G070
Phone: 4703
email: bcollett

Gordon Jones,
Office: G053
Phone: 4697
email: gjones

Seth Major,
Office: G052
Phone: 4919
email: smajor


Fundamentals of Physics 8th Extended Edition
Halliday, Resnick, and Walker
Published by John Wiley

An Introduction to Error Analysis, 2nd Edition
John R. Taylor
Published by University Science Books

Advaned Mathematics
Murray R. Spiegel
Published by McGraw-Hill in the Schaum's Outline Series

and you may also find useful (and will need to buy if you go in physics)

Mathematical Handbook of Formulas and Tables
Murray R. Spiegel
Published by McGraw-Hill in the Schaum's Outline Series

You will need a scientific calculator and will need to bring it to every class and lab. We quite often use it in class so you should get into the habit of bringing it to every class. You will use it in lab all the time. If you have a graphing calculator then that will be ideal. If not, then an inexpensive scientific model that can handle trig functions, logs, and exponentials will be sufficient.

You will need a laboratory notebook that you should bring to every lab. This must be a bound notebook. You need to get this ahead of time. You will need it for the first lab!


You are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the following policies. They outline your responsibilities in the course. I will go over this material on the first day of class but you should make sure that you have read this carefully.


Homework assignments will be posted on the web site at least one week before the assignment is due. They will NOT be handed out in class but I will send an email notification. I will follow the model of 190 with homework due at the start of every other class, starting on the first Friday.

There will normally be short quizzes each week, usually at the end of class on Friday. These will be closed book quizzes designed to check that you have been remembering the key points of the previous week's classes and labs. There will be guides to the material on the quizzes published on the web by Thursday of each week when there is a quiz.

Laboratory handouts will be posted on Blackboard and an email announcement made. They start right way—there is a lab the first week of classes! After the first week, you will be responsible for printing out the handout, doing any pre-lab, and bringing the handout and pre-lab with you to the lab. Note that failure to complete a pre-lab before the start of lab will result in a grade penalty for that lab.

There will be two mid-term exams held approximately one-third and two-thirds of the way through the semester (see the schedule) as well as a final held on Friday, May 13th, from 2 am to 5 pm. These will be two-part exams, a closed book part and an open book part, that will cover the material to that point in the course. Normally the exams will include questions based on work done in the labs.


The complete course grade will be divided between all the activities according to the following formula

    Running Total
Problem Sets 30% 30%
Quizzes 12% 42%
Labs 25%


Midterms (2) 20% 87%
Final Exam 13% 100%

We cannot grade what we can't read and we can't give grades to unidentifiable work. You are responsible for presenting your work clearly, for marking it clearly on the first page with your name and the assignment number, and for making sure that you work stays together.

The problem sets are graded on their logical flow of ideas and calculations, not on final answers. This doesn't mean that we don't check the correct answer, but it does mean that the answers by themselves are not worth anything, even if they are correct. You are being graded on the thought that leads to those answers and all such work must be presented clearly and legibly, with all assumptions made clear, all non-trivial steps explained, and any non-standard notations clearly defined. Except in rare cases, a clear, well labeled, diagram is an essential part of all valid answers. Such diagrams should be large enough that all information can be presented without crowding. You should use my own solutions as a guide to what I expect your solutions to look like (well, except that I don't expect you to type yours).


I do not take attendance in lectures. However, I do use them for a lot of different things and you will be held responsible for those things whether you are in class or not. In addition to the obvious lectures, demonstrations, and discussions, these may include announcements, in-class assignments, and quizzes. If you know that you must miss a class then it is only polite to let me know in advance (this is especially true of scheduled absences such as sports travel, group performances, or field trips for another course). If you do miss a class then it up to you to find out from your classmates what you have missed and to make up any missed work. In particular, if you are going to miss a class with a quiz or a class when homework is due then you must make arrangements with me to do the quiz or hand in the homework at an other time. This must be done in advance and I will usually ask you to do the work early rather than after the fact.

Attendance at laboratories is mandatory. If you must miss a laboratory then a) you must inform us ahead of time except in the most exceptional cases (such as acute illness) and b) you must arrange ahead of time to make the lab up. In the exceptional case that you miss a lab without prior arrangement then you must contact your lab instructor or me as soon as possible to discuss your reasons and to make arrangement to make up the work. There will be only one opportunity to make up a missed lab. Two or more labs missed and not made up will normally result in failure of the whole course.

Collaboration of All Kinds

Most students find that it is extremely helpful to work together in various ways to study physics, especially to do homeworks. This is normal and we strongly encourage it. Similarly, the college provides a number of important resources to help you learn the material and apply it in the homeworks. These range from my office hours to the resources provided through the QLit center. You should get used to talking about physics among yourselves, with your friends from other classes, and with your professors, QLit tutors, and with students in other physics classes. All of these have something to teach you and you have something to teach them. Similarly, in lab you will be working in groups (usually of two) and will be expected to work very closely together, sharing ideas, checking answers, discussing the meaning of what you are doing.

All this collaboration is a good and vital part of the normal workings of physics. However, you have to exercise some good sense and good manners. In all circumstances, not just in physics, it is good manners to thank someone when they help you. In academic life it is not just good manners, it is a fundamental duty. When you get help, from whatever source, you must acknowledge that help. What does this mean to you? Well, if you do some problems as part of a group working session then indicate that fact on the homework and acknowledge your collaborators by name. If you work with a tutor on some problems, then note that on your work. If you get a particularly good idea from your lab partner mention that specifically in your write-up. (The write up must always list the lab partners name at the beginning anyway, this an extra courtesy.)

So, collaboration is a good thing in physics. Copying, however, is as strictly forbidden here as in all academic work. A common effort that results in a set of answers with clear indication that you worked with others is great for homeworks and labs, though obviously not for quizzes and exams. However, work that you claim for your own but which is actually taken from another or done with another without proper acknowledgement is plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious offence. It was responsible for the resignation of Hamilton's last president. Don't let it ruin your life too. Make sure you understand the Honor Code and its supporting materials because you can be quite certain that I do. If I see indications that you are not being careful in this matter then I will raise it with you and help you understand how it applies to you. But, whether or not I have done that, if I see clear indications of actual dishonesty, such copying on homework or cheating on a quiz or exam, then I will take the matter straight to the honor court. Teaching involves a relationship of trust between the the teacher and the student. I take that trust extremely seriously myself and I will take strong action against anyone that I feel has violated that trust.

Late and Missed Work

Assignments will normally be due at the beginning of a specified class and I will accept assignments up to the start of the next class with only a minor penalty. After that time the solutions will have been posted and any assignments arriving after that time will be accepted, commented as usual, and returned with information about what the grade would have been, but the grade will be recorded as zero. If you can see that you are not going to make one of these deadlines then it is up to you to talk and work out some other arrangement before the deadline (this might, for example, result in some kind of extension).

These policies have been adopted after a number of years experience to make expectations clear and to help avoid problems before they begin. However, things happen. They happen to all of us from time to time. That being the case, exceptions can be made if you come talk to me as soon as possible. In almost all cases this means before the deadline. In exceptional cases where that is not feasible it means as soon as possible afterwards. What is as soon as possible? Well, for example, if you are struck down by strep throat on the morning of class and get impounded by the health center to stop you spreading your nasty germs then 'as soon as possible' means email or a note sent with a friend that day and getting in direct touch with me within the next day or so.

Physics 195