Changes and additions to this document will be necessary throughout the semester. Please refer to the electronic version on ELMS for the most up-to-date version.


Physics 122
Fundamentals of Physics II
Sections 0301-0305


Nick Cummings

Office Hours

My office hours will be Wednesday 10-11am in my office (PHY4207A) or by appointment. TA office hours will be arranged.

Course Description

This course builds on the content of PHYS121 (Fundamentals of Physics I) to develop an understanding of oscillations, waves, optics, and electricity and magnetism. Understanding the nature and behavior of light will be a major theme. This is an algebra-based course, and an understanding of calculus is not required. An understanding of the content of PHYS121 will be required, as all the material of this course builds upon that material.

In addition to the lecture, this course has a laboratory and tutorial component described below.

Meeting Times

Lecture meets MWF 9:00–9:50am in PHY1410. Laboratories all meet in PHY3312 and tutorials all meet in PHY3301. The meeting times for these portions of the course are given in the schedule of classes and reproduced per section in the following table:

Section Lab Tutorial (a.k.a. discussion)
0301 Th 10:00am–11:50am Th 9:00am–9:50am
0302 Th 2:00pm–3:50pm Th 1:00pm–1:50pm
0303 M 2:00pm–3:50pm M 1:00pm–1:50pm
0304 M 10:00a–11:50am W 4:00pm–4:50pm
0305 Tu 8:00am–9:50am M 2:00pm–2:50pm

Labs and tutorials will not meet on the first week of classes.

Quizzes, Exams, and Final

There will be two midterm exams and a final exam in this course. The first midterm will occur on March 4th and the second on April 8th. The final exam will be cumulative but focus more on the material from the after the second midterm. The final is scheduled for May 16th 8–10am.

There will be quizzes for students to complete individually. Quizes will usually be given in-class on Friday, though they may occasionally be given electronically as a take-home. Quizzes will always be announced in advance. There are no pop quizzes in this course.

Required Materials

We will start from Chapter 14 in the text. Unfortunately Volume 2 starts in Chapter 17. There is an e-text included with the Mastering Physics Software. In many ways this is not as nice as having a physical text, but if you find this sufficient and do no wish to purchase the physical text that is perfectly acceptable.

Labs and Tutorials

The laboratories in this class are different from the traditional protocol labs where you are told exactly what to do and expect to get a result that agrees with some theoretical prediction. These are design labs — labs in which your job is to design a lab to answer a question. In these you will get the opportunity to explore how the design of the equipment effects what you measure and to consider how certain you are of your answer. An important part of the lab is the discussion at the end where you present and discuss your results to the other members of your class. You are required to complete all labs. Due to the nature of the labs in the course, it is very difficult to make them up, and make-ups will generally only be given for documented, University-recognized excuses. See the syllabus for the lab portion of the course (linked below) for more details.

Discussion sections in this class are run as group tutorials. In these tutorials you will work in groups to discuss and think through various physics problems. This will help you develop your conceptual understanding of the underlying principles and analyze your own thinking. They will also help you learn how to discuss science with your peers, which is actually one of the key skills of a scientist. While this format might seem unusual, it may be one of the most useful tools you have for gaining the understanding of the course material that you need to succeed. Material from tutorial will form the basis for homework, quiz, and possibly exam questions.

Your TA will lead your laboratory and tutorial sessions. All the laboratory and tutorial sections are overseen by Prof. Eun-Suk Seo (, who can answer questions about that part of the course if your TA cannot. There is a separate syllabus for that part of the course at


The final grade for the course will be computed from the individual component grades as follows:

Homework 20%
Labs 20%
Quizzes 10%
Midterms 20%
Final Exam 25%
Participation 5%

Nominally grades will be assigned by a 15 point grading scale:

A 85–100%
B 70–85%
C 55–70%
D 40–55%
F <40%

Curving: If the median grade on an exam is too low, I may curve the grades upward. If the final distribution of grades is too low, I may also curve that upward. Neither of these will ever be curved downward. Work that is graded separately by TAs (e.g. labs) may be curved to make the section averages equal, in order to balance out any differences in TA grading style.


During lectures there will be questions that you will answer using your clicker. Your clicker activity will be recorded and you will receive a participation grade based on what proportion of clicker questions you have answered. You will not be graded on the correctness of these answers, although you are expected to try your best to answer correctly. You are responsible for obtaining a clicker and bringing it to class in order to get these points. Any technical difficulties should be brought to the instructor's attention immediately after class.

If you are absent for a University-excused reason, such as illness or a qualifying University activities, then you will not be penalized for missing participation in lecture, but if it is something you know about in advance you must give me documentation in advance of the absence. For lab or tutorial you should make arrangements with your TA and Prof. Seo for a make-up. The University policy on attendance and excused absences can be found at

Academic Integrity

Any instances of academic dishonesty will be treated very seriously in this course and referred to the Office of Student Conduct. The code of academic integrity can be found at

While on examinations every student is clearly expected to work independently, on homework assignments it is acceptable (even encouraged) to discuss how to solve problems with other students (unless specifically directed otherwise); however, you should never directly copy the answers or work that someone else has written down.

Students with Disabilities

The necessary accommodations will be made for students with disabilities. Please see me to make arrangements at the beginning of the semester.

Rescheduling for Missed Classes

If class is canceled for some unplanned reason (e.g. weather), unless instructed otherwise you should assume that any class activities that were missed (including exams) will occur at the next class meeting unless you are instructed otherwise. For more serious schedule disruption you will be contacted via email to make arrangements.


Thanks to Profs. Hu and Redish for offering their course materials as a basis for materials in this course.