Physics 104 - How Things Work - Spring 2003

Course Policies

Last update: Feb. 10, 2003

Class Meetings: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 2:00-2:50 - Room 1201 Physics
Required Reading: How Things Work: the Physics of Everyday Life, 2nd ed. by Louis A. Bloomfield
Instructor: Ted Einstein, Professor of Physics 
Office: Physics Bldg., Room 2307 
Office Telephone: 301-405-6147 
FAX: (301) 314-9465
Office Hours: The best time to catch me is immediately after class. I do not post specific office hours, but I am generally around from 9 am until 5:30 pm. Feel free to stop by my office on the second floor of the physics building. I will note when students stop by and set up formal office hours if that seems helpful.
Teaching Assistant: Ricardo Pizarro
Office hour: after class Monday and Wednesday, if needed
Course Work: Homework Problem Sets (14% of Course Grade) 
2 Mid-Term Tests (each 18% of Course Grade) 
1 Term Paper (20% of Course Grade) 
1 Final Exam (30% of Course Grade) 
A. Problem Sets:

Homework questions will require independent thought on your part in order to answer them correctly and earn full credit. You are encouraged to discuss homework problems with one another, but must write up your answers separately and in your own words. Points will be deducted from your homework grade if you use someone else's words or allow them to use your words.

Due dates and deadlines: Students are automatically (without special request) granted a one-lecture extension from the due date to turn in the homework. This policy allows students to postpone turning in their homework in case of sickness, family calamity, religious holiday, official school event, tests in other classes, "dog ate my homework", etc., on the due date. The deadline is firm, and any [written-on-official-stationery] excuse for missing it would have to cover the entire period from the due date through the deadline.  No homework will be accepted after the solutions are posted.

B. Term Paper: An original discussion of how something works. Term paper may be written individually or by a group of 2 or 3 people. 
Length for Individual Term Paper: 1500-1750 words (approximately 5 typed, double-spaced pages of text). 
Length for a Group Term Paper: 3000-3500 words (approximately 10 typed, double-spaced pages of text). 
Additional pages detail what is expected in a term paper, a list of topics used by previous students, a list of topics that are not permitted, and a sample grading sheet for the term paper. 
You do not need to get my permission when selecting a topic, but I will be glad to assist you up until Monday Apr 14, 2003. The term paper deadline is Monday Apr 28, 2003, 5:00pm. 
C. Mid Term Exam: There will be two 50- minute, closed-book, in-class tests given during the semester.  The tests will emphasize understanding of concepts, so that memorization will be far less valuable for answering the questions than basic insight into how things work. 
D. Final Exam: A two-hour, closed-book examination given on Tuesday, May 20, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, probably in the usual class room 1201 Physics. 
The final exam will be cumulative.  It will emphasize understanding of concepts so that memorization will be far less valuable for answering the questions than basic insight into how things work.
Honor Pledge: Students are expected to write by hand and sign the University of Maryland Honor Pledge on the three exams and on the term paper (but not on each homework assignment). The specific wording is "I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment/examination." Students should visit the online homepage on the Honor Pledge, which includes a link to a FAQ page.
Late Policy: Specific grade deductions for late work and final deadlines are discussed on the list of course rules. Exceptions for illness, family illness or death, or religious holidays must be obtained in advance. You must contact me before something is due or before you miss an examination. 
Grading Information: Course grades will be based strictly on your numerical scores for the semester. 
Work not turned in or tests not taken will receive a zero (0 pts), far worse than a failing grade (typically 30 pts or more).