Spring 2009








Instructor:  Giridhar Nandikotkur (Giri), giridhar@umd.edu
Office: Physics 3102, Phone (301) 405-5997 . (Click here for Office hours info)

Teaching Assistants:

Section 0502:              YongSing Your(asliman@gmail.com)
                                    Office: 0352, CNAM. (301) 405-7670

Section 0503:               Sylvia Zhu (sjzhu@umd.edu)
                                    Office: 3103, Physics. (301) 405-6189
Section 0504 & SES1 : Tung-Chang Liu (tcliu@umd.edu)

Course Website: www.physics.umd.edu/courses/Phys122/giridhar/spring09/phys122-s09.html
 or you could go to www.physics.umd.edu/courses/Phys122 and click on our class.

Lectures    Tues: 7.00 – 8.50 pm, Thu: 7.00 pm- 7.50 pm in Physics 1410

The tentative schedule of lectures can be printed here
Discussions and Labs: There are two sections in this course that meet at the following times



Lab (Room 3312)

Section 0502

Wed: 5.00-5.50 pm (Room 0220)

Wed: 6.00-7.50 pm

Section 0503

Tue: 4.00-4.50 pm (Room 0220)

Tue:  5.00-6.50 pm

Section 0504

Mon: 5.00-5.50 pm (Room 0220)

Mon: 7.00-8.50 pm

Section SES1

Thu: 6.00-6.50 pm (Room 0220)

Thu: 8.00-9.50 pm

About the course
Welcome to PHYS 122!  This course, the second of a two-semester series in general physics, covers the fields of electricity, magnetism, waves and optics.

Required Texts
Text: Knight, Randall D. , Jones, Brian. and Field, Stuart. Faughn, College Physics, ISBN 978-0-8-0530634-7
Lab Manual: 122:LAB MANUAL & TUTORIALS (SP'05 ED)
Both texts are available at the University Book Store and the Maryland Book Exchange.

MATH 112 or MATH 115 is a prerequisite for this class. Knowledge of basic Algebra and geometry is assumed. We understand that due to the varied background that students come from, not everyone is equally equipped with the skills required.  Hence, we will try to hone your skills by addressing these topics when the need arises.

Course requirements

Course requirements serve three functions.  First, and most importantly, they help you to learn the material.  Second, they help us to better teach the material in lectures, discussions, and labs by providing feedback on what is well and not so well understood.  Finally, they aid us in evaluation. 



Your grades will be based upon the following components:

Mid term exams Will be announced, Best 2 out of 3; 12 % each 25%
Final Exam Will be announced 22%
Quizzes Possibly announced (best 4 out of 6) 10%
Laboratory Dept Rules: You get an F even if you miss One 15%
Homework The lowest 3 will be dropped 20%
Participation based partly effort, engaging in discussions in tutorial, completing the tutorial, active participation in the lab, asking questions in the lecture, attendance, etc. 8%


Effort & Attitude

This is a 4 credit class and you are expected to put in lot of effort. It is possible that there will be times when you will get frustrated. But that is the nature of learning Physics. It takes a while before you begin to see the returns. We (the TAs and me) want you to do well, and learn Physics at the same time. In order to prevent you from getting lost, we will just assign you 2 effort points just as a feedback to you which indicates whether you are putting in the expected effort or not. The scale will be 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5 and 2. These will not count towards your grade. But if you get 0.5s and 1s then clearly you are not spending enough time. We are not talking about results here, just effort... The results will come. If you get a score of 0.5 or 1 and you tell us that you spend A LOT OF TIME, then clearly your time is being wasted. It means that you should feel free to come by office hours an talk to me or the TAs so that we can guide you in the right direction. We respect your time! So let us make sure that your efforts are channeled in the right direction.

Assigned Problems: The surest and best way to learn physics is to work through as many problems as possible.  However, it is not feasible to grade each and every problem.  Hence, we will select and grade in detail two problems from every homework; each of the two problems are worth 5 points each.  The rest of the problems are graded out of 2 points each.  An correct solution gets 2 points, a valiant attempt "almost there" gets 1.5 points, while a good attempt (right method with the correct equations, correct picture) could get 1 point, some attempt gets 0.5 points. The problems graded in detail are marked in bold red, on the homework page.

Homework assignments are due at the beginning of the lecture.  No homework grades will be dropped and no late homework will be accepted unless accompanied by written documentation of a University-recognized excuse (documented illness, documented family emergency, religious observances, participation in the University activity at the request of a University official).

Guidelines for homework assignments: 

  • All homework assignments should be neatly written with answers to questions presented in numerical order.  Be sure that your name is clearly written at the top of all pages and that you have stapled all pages together. You are responsible for misplaced or lost pages. The TA will NOT grade any homework that does not meet this criterion and you will get a 0 on that homework.
  • Be sure to answer all parts of each question.
  • You are encouraged to work with your peers. But plagiarizing is strictly prohibited. Your TA can call the students with identical homeworks to his/her office and ask them to explain the homework.

Please follow the detailed instructions given in class on how to solve homework problems. Some them are also listed below.

  • Make sure that you attempt problems starting at the top of the sheet proceeding downward. If you have the habit of solving problems with sequential steps proceeding horizontally, then you cannot have 2 problems next to each other (horizontally). If you are in the habit of having sequential steps below each other, then you can have more than one problem next to each other ONLY IF there is a clear partition between the two. These instructions are probably not very clear. If you do not understand these instructions, please clarify with the instructor.
  • Have enough empty space between one problem and the next.
  • Your problems must contain words and explanations for your steps. THIS IS A MUST.
  • Any answer must be explained with physical principles or concepts. A SIMPLE YES OR NO WILL NEVER DO.
  • If you can draw a diagram or a picture of the situation, then you must draw it.
  • All answers must have units.
  • Each student is allowed to turn in homework late ONLY 2 times during the semester. But these will be graded for 20 % less credit for every day that they are later. No credit will be given if they are turned in after the solutions are posted on the web.


Suggested Problems:Often, I may suggest work problems that may help students to better understand some concepts.  These problems are not due in class or will not be graded, although it would be extremely beneficial to work through them. These solutions to these problems will be put up on the website. These problems are marked green italics in on the homework page.


Six 15-minute quizzes, consisting of 3 multiple choice questions and 1 problem, will be conducted through the course of the semester; the quiz problem could be similar to one of the homework problems.  These quizzes will be right after or during the lecture hours.  The best 4 will be counted towards your final grade. The multiple choice questions will be based on the questions given at the end of each chapter and/or concepts discussed in the class. Please refer to the website for the dates.

There will be three closed book and closed note exams midterm exams and one final exam.  You can drop one of the midterms.  No makeup exams for any of the mid terms are allowed; if you miss one of the mid-term exams, it will count as your dropped exam.  The exams will be of one hour duration and a mixture of conceptual (multiple choice questions) and work problems.
(Exam 1: will be announced)
(Exam 2: will be announced)
(Exam 3: will be announced)


You are fortunate to experience the most recent results on Physics Education research conducted by the highly ranked Physics Education Research Group (PERG). The traditional discussions are replaced by the tutorial system where will be run as group activities with tutorial worksheets that you will be given when you arrive. You cannot miss more than two tutorials. You will lose a letter grade for EVERY two tutorials after that.

Getting help: Course Center, Slawsky Clinic,
If there is ever anything that you do not understand, get help immediately!  Do not fall behind because you were afraid to ask questions.  We view seeking help as a sign of your commitment to the course, and this will be considered when grading time comes around.  You have many options available: you may ask me during or immediately following class, meet me in my office hours. We also encourage you to draw on the strengths of others in this class to learn the material by forming study groups—however, plagiarizing will not be tolerated. The best place to seek help is theCourse Center in room Toll 0208. The course center hours will be put up soon and is monitored by TAs who may or may not be from your course. You are strongly encouraged to come there, to work with other students, and to ask the course center TA questions that will help you understand the problem and eventually solve the problem. The more you think about a problem, the better you are equipped to face the next one. Don't expect the TAs to show you how to do the problems, however. Problems are best solved when you learn by thinking about them, not by memorizing them or watching someone else show you how to do them. The TAs are encouraged to ask you questions first, and then to give you suggestions and hints on how you might proceed. You might have to talk to the TAs many times during the same problem. It is natural to get stuck while solving a problem. But developing the art of thinking about it and finding your way out is where the learining lies!

The Department of Physics also offers help at the “Slawsky Clinic” which is in room 1214 (check their door for their hours). This is a voluntary service and is run by individuals familiar with Physics, who are not associated with the course directly.

Office Hours

Here are the final office hours for the semester.

  • Giri:
    • Monday 5.00 pm - 8.45 pm
    • Friday    2.00 pm - 5.00 pm (By appointment)
  • Yong
    • Thursday 5.30 pm -6.30 pm (0208 - Course center)
    • Tuesday 3.00 pm- 4.00 pm (0352 CNAM By appointment)
  • Sylvia
    • Thursday 4.00 pm - 5.00 pm (0208 Course center)
    • Wednesday 4.00 pm - 6.00 pm (3103 B)
  • Tung-Chang
    • Monday 4.00 pm - 5.00 pm (0104 NEAR course center)
    • Tuesday 5.30 pm - 6.30 pm (0104)
    • Thursday 4.30 pm -5.30 pm (0104 By appointment)

My office hours are in room 2357 Computer and Space Sciences (CSS) building. (The map shows the path from Physics Lecture Hall 1410 to the CSS building marked # 224 on the map). See this map for approximate location of my room. You will have to go one floor up if you enter where shown. If you are walking up the hill, you should enter through the last entrance. I will be in on Monday's from 4.15 pm - 8.45 pm. I can be availble on Wednesday from 4.00 pm-6.00 pm (but only if you make an appointment). You can try your luck if you don't.

The laboratory schedule is mentionedin your Tutorial manual.

Please keep the following in mind.

  • Students have to complete ALL the laboratories and turn in all the lab reports to be eligible for a passing grade in the course.  You will be given one pportunity to make up a labs. The department rules state that you will get an F grade if you miss even one lab irrespective of how well you perform in the rest of the course.
  • The lab report is due at the end of the lab.  You will not be given extra time to turn in the report.  So, it is a good idea to prepare for the lab by making all the necessary tables before coming to the lab and bringing the necessary supplies (pencil, ruler, graph sheets etc) with you.

 It is very important that you try to contribute as much as the others when you are in a Tutorial or a lab Try to explain your train of thought. And be prepared to listen, for you might be wrong. No "free riding"!

Rescheduling of lectures, discussions, or lab hours
Some of the lab, discussion and lecture hours may have to be rescheduled.  We will have some exams or quizzes during lecture period and during days when there are no labs (specific announcements later).  Please refer to the website for any changes.

A 4 credit complete Physics course is extremely fast paced and demanding!  You will be learning new concepts every lecture and missing even one lecture can make you fall behind simply because the concepts build on the ones covered in earlier sessions.  Hence, attendance (lectures, discussions, and labs) is mandatory and will be taken almost during every lecture* and discussion.  Please send a note to me or the TA if you have a valid medical reason for not attending.  Absence without permission/a valid reason or walking out of lectures/Tutorias will count towards negative points that could make your participation points zero. The fact that you are able to register for the course means that you do not have a conflict with any other course at UMd. It also means that you have adjusted your work/exercise/recreation/socializing schedules to be present during ALL lectures, Tutorials, labs. If you decide not to show up, it means one of two things: a) you are confident that you understand the material and you don't need to waste your time in a lecture/Tutorial. b) You feel that you are so lost that lecture/Tutorial will not help you. If it is the latter, then please contact me the day you beging to feel this and I will try to do my best to address your specific problem and try to suggest a solution. Remember, the TAs and I are not your enemies. Nothing would give us more happiness than you doing well. So feel free to talk to us about your concerns. If you belong to category a, then remember, it is your responsibility to create an atmosphere in the lecture and Tutorial that is promotes a healthy spirit and is conducive to learning. Thinly attended lectures do not help in building the confidence of those who are a little behind and are lost. We should move forward as a group. It is commendable that you are balancing 13-18 credits/ or a full time job with taking Physics. But do not forget your responsibility towards the course.

*Your name might be called out during the lecture at random and if you are absent during that lecture, then it is noted as an absence.


Academic Honesty
Giving/receiving help on exams or plagiarizing homework and other assignments is not acceptable behavior in this class.  Please refer to the student academic honor page www.shc.umd.edu for details.  As mentioned earlier, you are allowed to discuss with your peers while attempting homework problems, but the work that you turn in must be your own.  Any cases of suspected cheating will be immediately referred to the Honor Council; this is to protect your right to due process and a fair hearing.