M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) and Moon

Course Web Site and Preliminary Syllabus

Introductory Physics Algebra-Based

Physics 111/112, General Physics I, Section 2, 3 credits: University of Idaho: 2008 Fall

Don't Panic   and   This is so cool   and   Unchain your inner nerd.

The course mottos: very reassuring I think.


  1. Instructor Information
  2. Syllabus Items
  3. Tentative Schedule I: This is for Physics 111.
  4. Tentative Schedule II: This is for Physics 112.
  5. University Sites of Relevance

Warning: This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Any changes will be announced in class as well as made on this page.

  1. Instructor Information
  2. Instructor: Dr. David Jeffery, Engineering/Physics Building, Rm 315, Tel: 208-885-6099, Email: jeffery AT nhn.ou.edu, Office hours: as on schedule,
    instructor's schedule. (If you need to see the instructor for sure, make an appointment. I'm usually happy to see students at any time that I'm relatively free.)

  3. Syllabus Items
    1. Jump in with questions? at any time, of course.

    2. Course Web Site: The course web site URL is


      which is the page you are maybe viewing right now. This page is the preliminary syllabus and includes syllabus items and Tentative Schedule II.

      This page is/will be/may be linked from the official physics department course web page.

    3. Place and Time:

      1. Section 1: Engineering/Physics (EP) 122, MWF 2:30--3:20 (Physics schedule)

      2. Note physics laboratories are separate courses with separate instuctors---I have no responsibility for them.

        They are only approximately coordinated with lecture class.

        No labs in 1st week.

      3. But there is a voluntary recitation period with the course.

        Recitation, Thursdays, 5:00--6:00, EP 214, Leader: Jamie Hass.

          Unfortunately, the recitations are NOT marked on any UI schedule that I can find.

        The recitation period is in the regular classroom as you can see.

        But the course instructor may also be present for some recitation periods for awhile.

          The instructor is also available for help with things whenever you can catch him such as his office hours as given in the instructor's schedule.

        I don't know how Jamie will run things: I've not had a chance to consult with her.

        Probably there will be a concentration on getting homework problems answered.

        Group study among students both in recitation and out is great.

        As always students are encouraged to help each other with material and homework problems.

        But the there should be NO straight copying from each other---helping a person through all the steps and comparing answers is good---straight copying is bad.

        Homeworks will usually be due on Wednesdays, but the due dates for particular homeworks may have to be set to other days to accord with where we are in the material.

        Students ideally should get most/all problems done BEFORE the recitation, but undergraduates pioneered just-in-time delivery before anyone else.



    4. Tutoring Help Available: The Physics Department runs tutoring in EP 309 according to the TA Office Hours which may still need updating for this semester.


      There is also the Tutoring and Academic Assistance Programs (TAAP), Commons, Room 322 and 327. This program offers small group tutoring for students. You can sign up for a group or request a new group. Intro physics courses typically have existing groups after a short period into the semester.


      This is really a pretty good deal. Group work is very effective and social.

      Ideally students should have their own informal groups in addition to any formal group, but sometimes it's hard to get to know people and TAAP supplies a warm, fuzzy tutor.

    5. Prerequisites/Corequisites: As specified in the online Physics course descriptions.

        For Physics 111.

        1. Math 143: Pre-Calculus Algebra and Analytic Geometry: Algebraic, exponential, logarithmic functions; graphs of conics; zebras of polynomials; system of equations; induction. See the online Math 143 description.

        For Physics 112.

        1. Physics 111: General Physics I: Kinematics, forces and dynamics, conservation laws, thermodynamics (omitted?), waves. See the online Physics 111 description.

    6. Breaks: No breaks for 50-minute lectures.

    7. Textbook: Cutnell & Johnson, 2007, 7th edition Physics (hereafter CJ or just the text).

        This semester department has decided to use the online text for course. Student can purchase registration access at the bookstore and should then be able register online at the Wiley URL.

        Nota bene: For this course section, NO special features of the online book and resources will be required. The online book is just required as a textbook for readings. The students with online access can, of course, make use of the online self-tests and other resources.

        We will NOT be using online homeworks for example---though one got created by way of example and I'm working on how to delete.

        Therefore if a student wishes to just buy a hardcopy textbook and use that for the course that will work as well.

        A new hardcopy is about $170 and the online book from the bookstore is about $90. You can buy access code online too---and that is cheaper than at the bookstore.

        Online access is good for 12 months.

        You can actually print out the whole textbook from the online version and put it in binder.

        Cheap used hardcopies may be available.

          It is also true that any ordinary introductory physics textbook of the last 30 years has much the same content as course text. With enough adaptation on the student's part any such book would do as well for any course I teach. As is discussed below homework problems are NOT drawn from the textbook for courses I teach---but that may change. This may not be true for courses taught by other instructors.

        The Cutnell book is pretty good.

        It has lots of words and boxes and examples and stuff.

        To old-timers (e.g., yours truly), it's a bit over-busy.

        For Physics 111, we are planning to cover chapters 1--8, 11, and 16 and possibly 9. See the Tentative Schedule I below.

        For Physics 112 we are planning to cover chapters 18--22 and 24--27 and possibly 17 and 23. See the Tentative Schedule II below.

    8. Nature of the Course: This is a course of intro physics algebra-based.

      We will learn a little physics.

      At this level physics is rather abstract and idealized.

      We deal with ideal motions, ideal point masses, ideal surfaces, ideal monkeys, ideal systems, ideal circuits, ideal optical systems.

      Many real everyday motions and systems are much more complex than the cases we deal with: just think about walking, bike riding, skipping rope.

      In particular, real everyday motions usually involve resistive media and surfaces. We discuss those resistive forces a bit and the special case of surface friction is treated quantitatively.

      The point of studying such ideal systems is to grasp the very basic laws of classical physics---pre-20th century physics in terms of discovery, but still very useful in practice.

        Those basic laws are NOT obvious---they are usually hidden in the complexity of everyday motions and systems that we deal with empirically---learnt by trial and error to oversimplify---and usually very effectively.

        You don't need know intro physics to walk, ride a bike, or play catch---or to turn on your lights.

        Moreover, the oceans were sailed west by Columbus, east by the Polynesians, and pyramids and cathedrals were build and all without knowing intro physics.

        But you do need to know it---and whole lot more---to design a rocket ship or a CD player.

        You can only get so far by empirical means alone.

        Note the ``alone'': empirical means are still essential.

      Using these basic laws, systems much more complex than ideal ones can be analyzed---they can be analyzed from first principles---or at least basic principles.

      Now many in this course will never go on to advanced physics or engineering.

      But you will go on to advanced something---and an improved understanding how to analyze and predict from basic principles will be a boon---for many students, it may be the most important feature of this course.

      That is the empowerment of intro physics.

      Of course, studying intro physics is enlightening.

      It helps understanding eternity and infinity.

      ../../astro/astlec/lec000/infinity_eternity.png Eternity and infinity from our small platform.

      As well as understanding home.

      Earthrise Earthrise from Apollo 11, 1969jul16. Credit: NASA.

      There is some math in this course.

      Quite a bit actually---but that's good.

      You-all are all in programs that need math skills.

      Alien consigning math to the flames Not in this course.

      It's no surprise to you that this is a pretty hard course.

      But as I always say, it's nothing like organic chemistry.

    9. Homeworks: There are homeworks for each chapter.

      They are/will be posted along with their due dates online on the Tentative Schedule I/Tentative Schedule II below.

      Usually the due dates will be Wednesdays (unless this has to be changed).

      The due dates are subject to adjustment during the semester. These will be announced in class as well as on the Tentative Schedule I/Tentative Schedule II.

      The course grader will mark all multiple-choice problems and probably one full-answer problem chosen at RANDOM.

      All questions are out of 5 points: there are part marks for full-answer problems, but none for multiple-choice problems.

      All homeworks count the same no matter what they are marked out of.

      The solutions will be posted on the Tentative Schedule I/Tentative Schedule II eventually.

      Typically about 50 to 70 % or more of the exam questions will be drawn from the homeworks or, in the case of the FINAL, past exams also.

      Questions that reappear on the exams might be tweeked a bit from previous versions.

      Homeworks will count 10 % or less of the final grade.

      Handed in homeworks should be stapled, UNFOLDED, and your NAME should appear on the front.

    10. Exams: There will be 2 or 3 in-class exams and a 2-hour COMPREHENSIVE FINAL.

      The in-class exams cover the material up to some cut-off point that will be announced in class and on the course web on Tentative Schedule I/Tentative Schedule II.

      The final is about 50 % weighted or more on material since the last in-class exam and about 50 % weighted or less on all the material that came before the last in-class exam.

        The last material may receive less weighting on the final if the time from the last in-class exam is short.

      Nota bene: Even though exams are formally restricted to set exam topics, intro physics is intrinsically cumulative and earlier topics are assumed known insofar as they are needed for the exam topics.

      If you are in Physics 112, then earlier topics includes all topics from Physics 111.

      The tentative dates for the exams are:

            Exam        Date     Solutions (posted post-exam)
            Exam 1      Sep26 F   Exam 1 solutions
            Exam 2      Oct29 W   Exam 2 solutions 
            Exam 3      Nov14 F   Exam 3 solutions May be omitted.
            Final Exam  Dec17 W   Final Exam solutions
                                  The final is Dec17, W, 3:00--5:00 in the regular class room
                                  as specified by Final exam schedule for 2008 Fall. 

      The in-class exams will consist of some tens of multiple-choice questions and one or a few full-answer questions.

      Most of the multiple-choice questions are NOT intended to be hard or tricky; they are intended as a warm-up. There might be a few harder mathematical ones in lieu of a full-answer questions. No SCANTRONS are needed---but this might change.

      The final (for academic-year courses) will be like a double-class exam in terms of questions of various kinds.

      The exams are closed book.

      Calculators are permitted for calculational work only. No stored solutions or formulae.

      Cell phones MUST be turned off and be out of sight.

      An equation sheet will be provided with the exams. This is the same equation sheet that comes with the homeworks.

      There are NO scheduled review days. But students can keep the instructor busy answering questions on the day before exams. There are recitation periods recall. And there might be time for a review day before the final.

      Make-up exams are possible, but students must ask for them promptly and avoid knowing anything about given exams.

    11. Evaluation and Grading: The 3 grading categories, their weightings, and their drops are:
            Academic-year courses
                homeworks                  10 % or less     1 drop
                2 or 3 in-class exams      45 % or more     no drop
                1 comprehensive final      45 % or more     no drop
                    Each in-class exam is worth 22.5 or 15 % of final grade.
            Summer courses
                homeworks                  10 % or less     1 drop
                3 in-class exams           90 % or more     no drop
                    Each in-class exam is worth 30 % of the final grade.
      Attendance is NOT kept and NO marks are assigned for attendance.

      Students are encouraged to keep good attendance.

        Like any course, just showing up 3 times a week for session of physics keeps you moving forward in the course.

      There are absolutely NO extra credits.

      Letter grades will be assigned following the UI catalog---which allow instructors some freedom of interpretation.

      The instructor uses a curve to automatically assign letter grades during the semester---if there are enough students to make a curve meaningful---if there arn't the instructor just decides on letter grades. There is NO fixed scale.

      The final grades are decided on by the instructor directly---any curve is NOT used, except as a guide.

      Students can always ask the instructor for their current mark record and letter grades. Queries by email are probably best for this.

      The instructor will submit midterm grades and final grades as scheduled in the academic calendar---which doesn't specify any midterm grade dates for summer courses.

      Remember that after an instructor has submitted FINAL GRADES, any adjustments (except for purely clerical errors) are NOT allowed by university policy.

        See Policy on Grades from the UI Catalog. Note that E-6 states that grade changes after instructor submission are only allowed for clerical corrections, not for reweighting or additional work. There is another avenue for grade emendation: the Academic Hearing Board (1640.02 C-4) can have a say on grades---but it's not very promising.

      Students should make any queries about their final grades before the instructor submits them.

      Aliens and Grades Beware of aliens bearing grades.

  4. Tentative Schedule I of Topics from CJ
  5. No dated schedule has ever been adhered to by the instructor.

    So there are no dates in this tentative schedule.

    However, we have 15 weeks in the semester (not counting spring/fall recess) and we may lose about two weeks of classes for in-class exams and holidays: e.g., in the fall, Labor Day and in the spring Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day.

    So about 13 weeks and 39 lecture class hours.

    Since we are planning on 12 chapters (chapters 1--11 and 16 and possibly omitting chapter 9), we will be covering about a chapter per week with a bit of a safety margin.

    Some parts of chapters may be omitted.

    The instructor will follow CJ pretty closely with only occasionally (and hopefully advertized) deviations.

    So CJ is pretty close to being the course notes.

    In any case, if you knew the book really well you'd hardly need the notes.

    1. Chapter 1: Introduction and Mathematical Concepts: Some of this material should be review.

    2. Chapter 2: Kinematics in One Dimension:

    3. Chapter 3: Kinematics in Two Dimensions:

    4. Chapter 4: Forces and Newton's Laws of Motion:

        Notes html version.
        Homework 4: Due Oct08, Wednesday
        Solutions 4:

        1. Force and Mass
        2. Newton's 1st Law
        3. Newton's 2nd Law
        4. The Vector Nature of Newton's 2nd Law
        5. Newton's 3rd Law
        6. Types of Forces
        7. The Gravitational Force Near the Earth's Surface
        8. The Normal Force
        9. Static and Kinetic Friction Forces
        10. The Tension Force
        11. Equlibrium Applications of Newton's Laws
        12. Non-Equlibrium Applications of Newton's Laws
        13. newton.html: Online references, images, and animations

    5. Chapter 5: Dynamics of Uniform Circular Motion:

    6. Chapter 6: Work and Energy:

    7. Chapter 7: Impulse and Momentum:

    8. Chapter 8: Rotational Kinematics:

        Homework 8: Due Nov14.
        Solutions 8:

        1. Rotational Motion and Angular Displacement
        2. Angular Velocity and Angular Acceleration
        3. The Equations of Constant-Angular-Acceleration Kinematics
        4. Angular Variables and Tangential Variables
        5. Centripetal and Tangential Acceleration
        6. Rolling Motion
        7. The Vector Nature of Angular Variables (for fun and off homewks and tests)
        8. rotk.html: Online references, images, and animations

    9. Chapter 9: Rotational Dynamics: Omitted.

    10. Chapter 10: Simple Harmonic Motion and Elasticity:

        Homework 10: Due: Dec01, Monday: This is the last marked homework.
        Solutions 10:

        1. The Ideal Spring and Simple Harmonic Motion
        2. Simple Harmonic Motion and the Reference Circle
        3. Energy and Simple Harmonic Motion
        4. The Pendulum
        5. Damped Harmonic Motion
        6. Driven Harmonic Motion and Resonance
        7. Elastic Deformation (omitted)
        8. Stress, Strain, and Hooke's Law (omitted)
        9. sho.html: Online references, images, and animations

    11. Chapter 11: Fluids:

        Notes Handwritten and marginally legible.
        Homework 11: Due: Not handed in or marked.
        Solutions 11: Already posted. Problem 35 is now corrected.

        1. Mass Density
        2. Pressure
        3. Pressure with Depth in a Static Fluid
        4. Pressure Gauges (possibly omitted)
        5. Pascal's Principle
        6. Archimedes's Principle
        7. Fluids in Motion
        8. The Continuity Equation
        9. Bernoulli's Equation
        10. Bernoulli's Equation Applications
        11. Viscous Flow
        12. fluid.html: Online references, images, and animations

    12. Chapter 16: Waves and Sound:

  6. Tentative Schedule II of Topics from CJ
  7. No dated schedule has ever been adhered to by the instructor.

    So there are no dates in this tentative schedule.

    However, we have 16 weeks in the semester (not counting spring/fall recess) and we will lose about two weeks of classes for in-class exams and holidays: e.g., in the fall, Labor Day and in the spring Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day.

    So about 14 weeks and 42 lecture class hours.

    Since we are planning on 9 to 11 chapters (chapters 18--22 and 24--27 and possibly 17 and 23,) we will be covering about a chapter per week and bit.

    In some cases, parts of chapters will be omitted.

    The instructor will follow CJ pretty closely with only occasionally (and hopefully advertized) deviations.

    So CJ is pretty close to being the course notes.

    1. Chapter 17: The Principle of Linear Superposition and Interference Phenomena: This chapter will be omitted initially, but it might be done at the end of the semester if time permits.

    2. Chapter 18: Electric Forces and Electric Fields:

        Homework 18: Due:
        Solutions 18:

        1. The Origin of Electricity
        2. Charged Objects and the Electric Force
        3. Conductors and Insulators
        4. Charging by Contact and by Induction
        5. Coulomb's Law
        6. The Electric Field
        7. Electric Field Lines
        8. The Electric Field Inside a Conductor: Shielding
        9. Gauss's Law (omitted)

    3. Chapter 19: Electric Potential Energy and Electrical Potential:

        Homework 19: Due: Feb06, Wednesday
        Solutions 19:

        1. Potential Energy
        2. The Electric Potential Difference
        3. The Electric Potential Difference Created by Point Charges
        4. Equipotential Surfaces and Their Relation to the Electric Field
        5. Capacitors and Dielectrics
        6. Biomedical Applications of Electric Potential Differences (omitted)

    4. Chapter 20: Electrical Current and Circuits:

        Homework 20: Due: Feb22, Friday
        Solutions 20:
        Exam 1 Solutions: Feb27, Wednesday

        1. EMF and Current
        2. Ohm's law
        3. Resistance and Resistivity
        4. Electrical Power
        5. Altnerating Current (AC)
        6. Kirchoff's laws
        7. Internal resistance
        8. Measurement of Current and Voltage (omitted)
        9. Capacitors in Series and Parallel (omitted)
        10. RC Circuits (omitted)
        11. Electrical Safety

    5. Chapter 21: Magnetic Forces and Magnetic Fields:

        Homework 21: Due: March 19 Wednesday
        Solutions 21:

        1. Magnetic Fields
        2. Magnetic Force on a Moving Charge
        3. The Motion of a Charged Particle in a Magnetic Field
        4. The Mass Spectrometer
        5. The Magnetic Force on a Current Segment
        6. Torque (skirted) on a Coil
        7. Magnetic Fields Produced by Currents
        8. Ampere's Law (omitted)
        9. Magnetic Materials

    6. Chapter 22: Electromagnetic Induction:

        Homework 22: Due: Apr02, Wednesday
        Solutions 22:
        Exam 2 Solutions: Apr04, Friday

        1. Induced Emf and Induced Current
        2. Motional Emf
        3. Magnetic Flux
        4. Faraday's Law of Induction
        5. Lenz's Law
        6. Applications ... to Sound (omitted)
        7. The Electric Generator
        8. Mutual Inductance and Self Inductance (omit self inductance and inductors)
        9. Transformers

    7. Chapter 23: Alternating Current Circuits: I.e., AC circuits. Omitted.

    8. Chapter 24: Electromagnetic Waves: i.e., electromagnetic radiation or light.

        Homework 24: Due: Apr16, Wednesday
        Solutions 24:

        1. The Nature of Electromagnetic Waves
        2. The Electromagnetic Spectrum
        3. The Speed of Light
        4. The Energy of Electromagnetic Radiation
        5. The Doppler Effect for Electromagnetic Radiation
        6. Polarization (omitted)

    9. Chapter 25: The Reflection of Light: Mirrors:

        Homework 25: Not handed in or marked.
        Solutions 25:

        1. Wave Fronts and Rays
        2. Reflection
        3. Mirrors
        4. Spherical Mirrors
        5. Image Formation with Spherical Mirrors
        6. The Mirror Equation and Magnification

    10. Chapter 26: The Refraction of Light: Lens and Optical Instruments:

        Homework 26: Not handed in or marked.
        Solutions 26:

        1. Refraction
        2. Snell's Law
        3. Total Internal Reflection
        4. Polarization and Reflection and Refraction (omitted)
        5. Dispersion
        6. Lenses
        7. Thin Lens Equation and Magnification
        8. Lenses in Combination (omitted)
        9. The Human Eye (omitted, except for near point and far point, p. 832)
        10. Angular Magnification and the Magnifying Glass
        11. The Microscope (omitted)
        12. The Telescope
        13. Lens Aberrations

    11. Chapter 27: Interference and the Wave Nature of Light: Omitted.

        Homework 27: Not handed in or marked.
        Solutions 27:

        1. Principle of Linear Superposition
        2. Young's Double-Slit Experiment
        3. Thin-Flim Interference
        4. Michelson Interferometer
        5. Diffraction
        6. Resolving Power (omitted?)
        7. Diffraction Grating
        8. Compact Discs, etc. (omitted)
        9. X-Ray Diffraction (omitted?)