Department of Physics

University of Maryland

Physics 121 Syllabus

Fall 2002

Course Title:

      Fundamentals of Physics I



      Previous work in trigonometry or MATH 115


Course Description:

      While extensive use is made of algebra, trigonometry, and ele-

      mentary geometry, this is a non-calculus based one-semester

      course on mechanics, fluids, heat, vibrations, waves and sound.



      Sylvester James Gates, Jr., Room 4121 (Physics Building),       

      telephone: 301-405-6025,

      e-mail: GATESS@WAM.UMD.EDU 




      PHYSICS, J. Cutnell & K. Johnson, Fifth Ed.,(J. Wiley & Sons,

      Inc., 2002).

      Physics 121 Laboratory Manual (2002 edition)


      Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10:00-10:50, Physics Bldg.,

      Rm. 1412.


Teaching Assistants:

      Haihong Che, Physics Bldg., Rm. 4223,

      301-405-6192, e-mail:

      Lee Elberson, Physics Bldg., Rm. 4223,

      301-405-6192, e-mail:


Office Hours:

      The course instructor is available for scheduled office hours be-

      tween 11:00 p.m. and 12:00 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday im-

      mediately after class under ordinary circumstances.  Students are

      encouraged to contact Prof. Gates to arrange meetings at other

      times as desired. For students with access to electronic mail,

      inquiries may be sent to the instructor at any time via e-mail.

      Office hours for Lee Elberson are Tues. & Thurs. 12 - 1 p.m. and

      additional office hours for the other course teaching assistant

      will be made available shortly.



      The laboratory experiments are a very important part of this course. 

      All assigned experiments must be completed in order to pass the

      course.  Late reports will generally receive a score of zero but

      will be counted towards the requirement of completing all experi-

      ments.  You are expected to arrive at the laboratory well prepared,

      having answered any pre-lab questions.



      The final grade for the course will be determined by the following


             F.G. = (15/100) (H.W.) + (20/100) (LAB RPRT's)

                    + (20/100) (XAM-1) + (20/100) (XAM-2)

                    + (25/100) (Final XAM)



      There will be two examinations given during the semester as well

      as a final at the end of the term.  All examination are closed

      book. The in-class examinations are scheduled for Oct., 04 and

      Nov., 08.   The final is presently scheduled for Tuesday, Dec.,

      21, 10:30 - 12:30.  No makeup exams will be given.  You are re-

      quired to take the final exam.

      You may bring one 3" x 5" formula card to each hour exam.  You

      may write anything you want to on both sides of the card. You

      may bring three formula cards to the final exam.

      Any emergency that might cause a student to miss an examination

      must be rigorously}} documented (doctor's note, legal notices,

      etc.) otherwise a grade of zero will be assigned to the student

      for the missed examination.

      If any conflicts with the examination dates are known to the

      student these must be brought to the instructor's attention

      immediately.  Otherwise, the student risks being assigned a

      grade of zero for the missed examination.  Excuses after the

      fact are not acceptable and will result in an assigned grade

      of zero.


Recitation & Laboratory Sections:

      Section 0101

      W......... 04:00pm - 04:50pm (PHY 1402) Discussion

      W......... 05:00pm - 06:50pm (PHY 3306) Laboratory

      Section 0102 

      M......... 03:00pm - 03:50pm (PHY 1219) Discussion 

      M......... 04:00pm - 05:50pm (PHY 3306) Laboratory

      Section 0103 

      Tu........ 10:00am - 10:50am (PHY 1201) Discussion

      Tu........ 11:00am - 12:50pm (PHY 3306) Laboratory

      Section 0104

      Tu........ 12:00pm - 12:50pm (PHY 4220) Discussion

      Tu........ 01:00pm - 02:50pm (PHY 3306) Laboratory

      Section 0105 

      W......... 12:00pm - 12:50pm (PHY 1402) Discussion

      W......... 01:00pm - 02:50pm (PHY 3306) Laboratory

      Section 0106 

      Th........ 08:00am - 08:50am (PHY 1402) Discussion

      Th........ 09:00am - 10:50am (PHY 3306) Laboratory

      Section 0107 

      M......... 11:00am - 11:50am (PHY 1402) Discussion

      M......... 12:00pm - 1:50pm (PHY 3306) Laboratory

      Section 0108 

      Th........ 12:00pm - 12:50pm (PHY 4220) Discussion

      Th........ 01:00pm - 03:00pm (PHY 3306) Laboratory



      Homework will be given regularly during the semester. It will

      be collected normally at the end of the lecture on each Monday,

      graded and returned to students.  However, it is possible that

      not every problem will be graded.   Instead a randomly selected

      subset of them will be graded.  A record will be kept of each

      student's completed problems.  This tally will be used to cal-

      culate the homework grade.

      Problem solving is an essential part of physics. It is not poss-

      ible to learn the subject without working through the details of

      problems.  There is a strong correlation between doing homework

      and doing well on examinations.  You are very unlikely to do well

      in this course if you do not take the homework seriously.  Late  

      homework will ONLY be accepted with a physician's written note.

      However, points will be deducted from the grade on late homework

      at a rate of 10 points/day.

Homework Assignments PDF

Homework Solution 1 PDF

Homework Solution 2 PDF

Homework Solution 3 PDF

Homework Solution 4 PDF

Homework Solution 5 PDF

Homework Solution 6 PDF

Homework Solution 7 PDF

Homework Solution 8 PDF

Homework Solution 9 PDF

Homework Solution 10 PDF

Homework Solution 11 PDF

Homework SOoution 12 PDF

Homework Solution 13 PDF

Homework Solution 14 PDF

Exam 1 PDF

Exam 1 Solutions PDF

Practice Exam PDF

Exam 2 PDF

Exam 2 Solutions PDF

Practice Exam Questions PDF (FINAL)

Practice Final Exam PDF






A Guide to Doing Homework:

      If you wish to have the best possible grades on homework returned,

      you must

      *1. Staple your papers together.

      *2. Box your answers. 

      *3. Make sure you turn in your homework with the correct section

          clearly indicated on each page.

      *4. Turn in neat homework (points will be deducted other-


      *5. Write your solutions in pencil.

      *6. Always write out your solution in algebraic form BEFORE

          you substitute in numerical values.                   

      *7. Always ``carry along'' correct dimensional units (i.e.

          mass, length, etc.) and give only appropriate numbers

          of significant figures.                    

      *8. Consider whether your answers make ``sense'' by checking

          units etc.

      *9. Draw a picture or sketch for every problem where it is


      *10. Include appropriate diagram WHENEVER possible.

      *11. Describe in words, why and where equations being used

           appear in your write-up.

      *12. SHOW YOUR WORK! Solutions or answers turned in without

           explanation will NOT receive full credit.

      It should be noted that many of the above comments also apply

      to writing your solutions on examinations.


Disability Support Services:

      The UMCP campus offers support in these cases. It is the respon-

      sibility of the effected students to contact the Counseling Center,

      Rm. 0126 Shoemaker Building 301-314-7682 or on-line at

      in order to take advantage of this assistance. After this contact

      the course instructor.


Academic Dishonesty:

      The University of Maryland has an established policy on academic

      dishonesty (see the webpage at


       Students are advised to become familiar with the policy which in

       part states,

         ``The University can function properly only if its members

           adhere to clearly established goals and values.  Essential

           to the fundamental purpose of the University is the commit-

           ment to the principles of truth and academic honesty.  Ac-

           cordingly, The Code of Academic Integrity is designed to

           ensure that the principle of academic honesty is upheld. 

           While all members of the University share this responsibi-

           lity. The Code of Academic Integrity is designed so that

           special responsibility for upholding the principle of aca-

           demic honesty lies with the students.''

      Students who infringe upon this UMCP policy will be subject to

      severe sanction.


Tutorial Assistance:

      Any student seeking additional assistance is urged to contact either

      the course instructor or the T.A.'s as desired.  The Slawsky Physics

      Clinic is also an additional resource to explore.  The Clinic does

      NOT have established specific hours for this course, so check

      with them ASAP about their availability.


Reading Assignments:

      All reading assignments are required. It may occur that examination

      problems will be drawn from material not covered in lecture, recita-

      tion nor homework.