General Physics II

Spring 2002

PHYsics 1361G (lecture)

Room 2153

0800 - 0850 M W F

Dr Doug Davis, Room 1114, 581-6346

Office Hours: 1100 M, W, F

Notes & Calendar

Physics includes everything. In PHY 1350 (PHY 1351/1352), we studied Mechanics, the part of Physics that describes and explains Motion. You should be very familiar with Newton's Laws of Motion and with the ideas of Conservation of Energy, Momentum, and Angular Momentum. You went into PHY 1351 with experiences and mental images of the situations discussed in Mechanics. You could draw on those experiences and mental images. The course itself provided details and insights to situations with which you were already familiar.

In this course, PHY 1361, we will begin with Heat and Thermodynamics and finish with Electricity and Magnetism. A word of caution or warning is appropriate: Many students find the topic of Electricity and Magnetism the most difficult part of the entire three-semester sequence of General Physics. We will study and understand E&M at the same level as Mechanics. However, most of us do not have experience and mental images and backgrounds to draw upon as we did with Mechanics. Therefore, it is even more important to stay up with the course and to ask questions as soon as things are not clear!

Next semester, in PHY 1371, we will study Waves and Optics and Modern Physics. "Modern Physics" includes Special Relativity and Quantum Physics. While both of these areas are nearly a century old, they reman "Modern Physics" because they deal with situations that are drastically different from our ordinary, everyday, common experiences. From our own observations, we have some "physical intuition" or "gut feeling" of how things behave if they're about the size of a bread box and traveling at about 100 km/hr. The Space Shuttle, traveling at 24,000 km/hr behaves about like a car at 100 km/hr. But we have NO first-hand experience with anything traveling at 60% the speed of light! We know how a piece of chalk will behave or how much energy or momentum it can have. But we have NO first-hand experience with a single atom of calcium. Someone has said that Relativity does violence to our intuition. And so does Quantum Mechanics. I know you will find "Modern Physics" either fascinating or frustrating. I hope you will find it fascinating. Plan on following Alice and the White Rabbit down another rabbit hole where things are NOT at all as you expect. "Modern Physics" should be FUN!

Click here for tentative General Schedule


You should already have a copy of the textbook, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Fifth Edition, by Serway and Beichner. This is a good textbook. Please read the material before it is discussed in class. Saving a textbook as a last resort before an exam or before looking at homework problems makes the course more difficult than it needs to be. Make life easy for yourself; read the textbook. Take a few class notes over this familiar material. Work all the assigned problems -- and a few more. Then relax for the exams will be easy; there should be no surprises on the exams.

The textbook is certainly the most complete resource associated with the course. I think it is your most useful resource! Use it! Always!


Physics labs are quite different from, say, chemistry labs. While care must be taken in making measurements, finding the value of an unknown to a tenth of a percent is not the main reason for doing a intro Physics lab. The labs are designed to go along with the lecture and the textbook and to demonstrate principles discussed there. Understanding is the key idea. Think of why you are doing various steps in the lab. Never just blindly follow the procedure. Understand why you are doing this or that and what it will tell you.


There will be four hour exams. Tentative dates for these exams are listed on the course callendar. The lowest score will be omitted; there are no make-ups for missed hour exams.

The final exam is comprehensive; it provides a good way to review and pull all the ideas together at the end of the semester. The final exam will count as two hour exams. That means a lot of your grade is determined in the last two weeks of the semester.

The fourth hour exam will be during the week before finals so more than half of your grade is determined during that last week of the semester. Please don't wait until that last week or so to prepare for those exams. Learn, study, question, work, prepare right from the start and continuously throughout the semester. The exams will not be tricky. The exams will contain no surprises. The exams should be dull. The exams should contain no surprises.


Homework is vital in Physics!!!! I can not stress that too much. Physics is like scuba diving -- it requires participation and practice and learning from your own errors. You may be able to understand the Civil War by listening to lectures. But you can not successfully learn to scuba dive only by listening to lecture -- you have to get wet! Physics, too, requires that you "get wet", that you get your hands messy in the mire of homework problems and laboratory work. There simply is no other way to learn Physics. The exams will not be strikingly different from the homework. Diligence with the homework will make the exams easy but ignoring the homework will make the exams impossible! Struggling with and learning from doing the homework is vital! You must do the homework -- just to survive. Solutions are posted on the world wide web. Homework will not be turned in and graded; this requires great maturity and responsibility on your part.

Physics is like SCUBA diving.

It requires participation and practice and learning from your own errors.. There simply is no other way to learn Physics.

Diligence with the homework will make the exams easy but ignoring the homework will make the exams impossible! You must do the homework -- just to survive. Solutions will be posted on the world wide web or the internet. Homework will not be turned in and graded; this requires great maturity and responsibility on your part! Homework is vital in Physics!!!! I can not stress that too much.

I love to watch old Jacque Cousteau specials on television. Cousteau makes scuba diving look so easy (after all, he invented scuba diving!). But I would (literally!) die if I tried to scuba dive. Learning how to scuba dive is not the same thing as watching Cousteau while he scuba dives! Homework is like that.

You have to do the homework yourself!

A common and reasonable "rule of thumb" for any three-semester-hour course is that you must put in six to nine hours a week reading the material and thinking about and working on and answering the homework -- on your own, outside of class. It is probably not possible to survive (or pass) this course with a smaller time committment.

Click here for HOMEWORK assignments


Your grade for PHY 1361G (lecture) will be determined by the following:

Hour exams        3 @ 100 pts          300 pts
Final exam                             200        
Total                                  500 pts

Homework is important. Homework is necessary. Homework is VITAL.
But only the exams count directly in determining your grade.

In my opinion, there are two objective methods of grading.

One can determine grades strictly "on a curve" (e. g., 15% will get A's; 20%, B's; 30%, C's; 20%, D's; and 15%, F's).

One can also determine grades strictly by a predetermined number

(e g, 100 - 91,   A
       90 - 81,   B
       80 - 71,   C
       70 - 61,   D,  etc)

The first method requires a perfect distribution of students. The second requires that the instructor be able to write perfect exams. I have never found either condition met.

Therefore, my grading "system" is some mixture of the two. You may consider the above grading scale a sort of "guaranteed minimum". An 82 will be a B. But a 79 -- or even a 78 -- may also be a B. That is, I will not raise grade requirements but I may lower them.


Internet: Classroom lecture notes, the general course calendar, homework assignments, homework solutions -- everything about this course -- are all available on the internet (or the world wide web). The home page for PHY 1361 is located at

Please do not use the online course notes as a ready excuse to skip class.

Bulletin Board: From the general course calendar page, there is a link to a Bulletin Board where you can post questions or respond to questions or comments others have posted. Please use this Bulletin Board freely and often. Okay, so what is a Bulletin Board Posting anyway? You can ask a question on the Bulletin Board. You can respond to someone else's question on the Bulletin Board. In general, I will try to avoid making quick answers to your Bulletin Board questions so other students can respond. If you need an answer from me quickly, send me an eMail note -- or, better yet, stop by my office and ask me in person.

The Mechanical Universe (TMU) video tapes are available in the Self-Study Materials Center (SSMC) of the library. I hope to show several TMU tapes in class. Other pressures of the course may reduce this. These are excellent tapes made a few years ago at CalTech and include short historical sketches, wonderful computer animations, and scenes that may be difficult or impossible to duplicate in the classroom. They were made for a PBS audience but they also include extensive references to calculus. Don't let the references to "integrals" or "derivatives" frighten you; watch and listen for the ideas and the demonstrations and the conclusions. Besides, this is a calculus-based course so it will even be good for you to see these references to calculus!

Office Hours: Please come see me as the course goes along when questions arise or when you have trouble with the homework.

My "official" office hours are at 0900 on M, W, F. However, please feel free to drop by whenever you like.

Tutors: Sometimes it helps to have the same thing explained by someone else in different words. Physics majors volunteer their time several hours a week to act as tutors. The tutor schedules will be posted in a week or two. Make use of this valuable resource. But come see me, too.

UIUC web resources: The University of Illionois at Urbana-Champaign has long been a leader in the development of computer technology and in using that technology for educational purposes. The Physics Department at UIUC has been on the very cutting edge of educational technology for many, many years. You may simply enjoy browsing around their web site.

Their break in courses is somewhat different than ours.

Our PHY1351/1352 covers Mechanics; this is comparable to UIUC's phys111. You can find more information about that at

Our PHY1361/1362 covers Heat and Thermodynamics and Electricity and Magnetism. UIUC's Physics Department covers this in two courses. You can find out about Heat and Thermodynamics at

They cover Electricity and Magnetism in their phys112; you can find that at

UIUC's Tycho for additional homework problems: Perhaps one of the most useful things for you will be Tycho, their online homework program. Tycho will ask a homework question and then try to evaluate your answer. If you have trouble, Tycho will give you "hints" along the way. Tycho is very useful. Look at Tycho for additional homework problems. Working additional homework problems -- from any source -- is always a good idea.

You will need a sign-in and password to use Tycho. As a sign-in, use guest/phyug . As a password, use guest . As motivation, I will try to use one or more homework questions from Tycho on each hour exam and the final.

You can get to Tycho's homework problems from here:

for Heat and Thermodynamics;

for Electricity and Magnetism;

I am in the process of adding some QuickTime movies to my web site. These will be indicated with this QuickTime logo in the corner of a still image. When you click on that image a QuickTime movie will be downloaded and will play. For this to work, your computer must have the QuickTime plug-in installed in your web browser. If you use a computer on campus the connections are fast enough that the QuickTime download should not take very long. If you do this from home, the download time may be long. Please give me feedback concerning this. I need to know if you are using a computer on campus which does not yet have the QT plug-in. I need to know what you think of the QT movies.

You can get your QT plug-in by clicking here.

COPYING someone else's ideas or creative talents is called plagiarism. Presidential candidates have had careers ruined because of plagiarism. Pulitzer prizes have been taken back because of plagiarism. Students have been expelled because of plagiarism. Unauthorized copying of computer programs is also called theft. We have licenses for all the software you will encounter in this course. University policy is that you should not illegally copy computer software. I expect you to abide by that.

Click here for tentative course schedule.

(c) Doug Davis, 2002; all rights reserved