Physics 104 - How Things Work - Spring 2005

Course Policies

Last update: Jan. 25, 2005

Class Meetings: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 2:00-2:50 -- Room 0405, Physics Building
Text and  

Required: How Things Work: the Physics of Everyday Life, 2nd ed. by Louis A. Bloomfield 
Also recommended: The Cartoon Guide to Physics by Larry Gonick & Art Huffman (cheap & helpful on physics ideas) 
Another presentation: The Physics of Everyday Phenomena by W. Thomas Griffith (expensive, borrow it!!)

Instructor: Ted Einstein, Professor of Physics 
Office: Physics Bldg., Room 2310; mailbox in room 2323
Office Telephone: 301-405-6147 
FAX: (301) 314-9465
Office Hours: The best time to catch me is immediately after class and to be determined. 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.
Teaching Assistant: Chris Lombardo .................................E-mail:
In case of questions about the grading of homework assignments, please contact the TA by e-mail. He will respond promptly and arrange a meeting if necessary to clarify matters.
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 April 13, 2005. The term paper deadline is April 29, 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 Thursday, May 19, 1:30 - 3:30 pm in a room to be determined.
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. You will be allowed to bring a sheet onto which you may copy formulas and other useful information of your choosing.
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 almost entirely 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).