Physics 142 - Principles of Physics
Syllabus and Schedule

Spring 2010

Course description

The second of a two-semester series in general physics. This survey course will use algebra, trigonometry, and calculus and is recommended for chemistry and zoology majors. It also satisfies the requirements of medical and dental schools. The course is a continuation of PHYS 141, and covers waves, electricity and magnetism, optics and modern physics.


PHYS141 or equivalent.  Students are expected to be comfortable and proficient in algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.


MATH141 or MATH221


Prof. Arpita Upadhyaya
Department of Physics
Institute of Physical Science and Technology
1115A IPST (building #085)
(301) 405 9939 (on campus x59939)

Office hours: Wednesday: 1:00 – 2:00 pm


and go to the class page for 142. HW assignments will be posted here.


The syllabus and schedule can also be found here:


·         Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics, Volume 2, seventh edition; Serway and Jewett

·         PHYS142 Laboratory Manual (UMCP), first edition


·         4 credit hours

·         Credit will be granted for only one of the following: PHYS 142, PHYS 260 and PHYS 261, or PHYS 272.


Physics 1201, MWF 11:00-11:50 am


Students are required to attend lectures, where homework assignments will be given and collected, exams will be announced and administered and the course material will be presented. Lectures will consist of prepared video presentation, calculations done on the chalkboard, live demonstrations and student participation. The video component of lectures will be available on this web site in Adobe pdf format on the day that the lecture is given.



Teaching Assistant

Meeting Time and Place


 Rian You



12:00 – 12:50 pm

PHY 1402



1:00 – 2:50 pm

PHY 3314

Office Hours


9:00-10:00 am

IPST 1102


Jiehang Zhang



2:00 - 2:50 pm

PHY 1402



3:00 - 4:50 pm

PHY 3314

Office Hours


3:00 – 4:00pm

PHY 0220


 Jiehang Zhang



12:00 – 12:50 pm

COL 0102



1:00 – 2:50 pm

PHY 3314

Office Hours


3:00-4:00 pm

PHY 0220


You will do a total of 11 laboratory assignments. Lab sections will be conducted by a Teaching Assistant. You are required to do the designated lab section each week and complete the assigned experiment. You should read the lab description beforehand. For each lab, you must give your TA a completed “check sheet” and written answers to the questions at the end of the laboratory write-up.  Your lab grade will be based on these questions.  The TA will deduct points if your handwriting is illegible, or if your answer is hard to understand because of poor grammar.  Each lab must be turned in before the end of the laboratory period.  You will do all your work in class. If you cannot attend a session for an excusable reason you may attend another section given the same week with the permission of the Instructor. Or you may attend a scheduled makeup session. In general, it will only be possible to perform a single experiment during the makeup session.

Discussion sections

Discussion sections will be conducted by Teaching Assistants, and are a forum where students can ask questions about the course material and where problems will be worked with student participation


The Physics Department has a free tutoring service, the Slawsky Clinic, run by a group of retired senior physicists. It is located in Room 1214 in the Physics building. You can usually get help at any time they are open, from10 AM until 3 PM Monday through Friday. See


Not all material will be directly covered in lectures. Students are responsible for reading and understanding all material in assigned chapters, whether or not this material is explicitly treated in the lectures.


Homework assignments will be given in class, and will have to be done in writing and turned in at the start of class each Friday unless otherwise specified.  I believe that the best way to learn physics is to sit down and work out problems on a piece of paper. 


The grading of the homework assignments will be done by a TA.  The TA will score all problems with a 1 or 0, depending on whether the right final answer was obtained and work was shown.  One or two problems will also be randomly chosen to be graded in detail. The total homework score will then be calculated out of these. To get full credit, you must show all your work.  When answering the "questions", please use complete sentences. If the question is a true/false, a multiple choice, yes/no, or other similar question, explain why the answer you chose is the correct one. Your TA will deduct points if your answer is hard to understand because of poor grammar. Late homework is accepted only in exceptional circumstances.  If you turn in your homework late, 2 points per day will be deducted from your score.


There will be three 50-minute exams and one final exam.  You may bring one 4x6 index card, with whatever you want written on it, to the first exam.  You may bring the cards from the previous exams plus one additional card to each subsequent exam.   The exam will include problems and conceptual questions.  You are responsible for showing up on time with a working calculator.  The exam sheets will contain any numerical constants you will need.  Make up exams will be given only under extraordinary circumstances, and if arrangements are made with me ahead of time.


There will be a 10 minute quiz every week on Wednesday, unless otherwise announced. The quizzes will start at 11:40 be collected at 11:50 AM. The quiz may be a traditional problem or a conceptual one.  The two lowest quiz grades will be dropped.  Makeup quizzes are not allowed.  If you miss a quiz due to illness, that will be one of the quizzes that is dropped.  There will be no quizzes during exam weeks.

Final Grade

The final grade will be based on the components below, with the following tentative distribution:






First Exam


Second Exam


Third Exam


Lab Reports


Final Exam



The final grade will be set at the end of the semester after all work is completed. In assigning the final grade, I will be guided by the University of Maryland grading policy, quoted below:

  • A denotes excellent mastery of the subject and outstanding scholarship.
  • B denotes good mastery of the subject and good scholarship.
  • C denotes acceptable mastery of the subject and the usual achievement expected.
  • D denotes borderline understanding of the subject.  It denotes marginal performance, and it does not represent satisfactory progress toward a degree.
  • F denotes failure to understand the subject and unsatisfactory performance.

I will decide where to put the dividing line for various grades after looking at the distribution of points in the class. 

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities should meet with the Prof. Upadhyaya at the beginning of the semester so that appropriate arrangements can be made to accommodate the student's needs.

University Closure

In the event of a University Closure the department will do its best to accommodate students by scheduling make-up sessions or revision of the lab schedule.

Academic Integrity

Along with certain rights, students also have the responsibility to behave honorably in an academic environment.  Academic dishonesty, including cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, and plagiarism will not be tolerated.  Any abridgement of academic integrity standards will be referred directly to the Assistant Dean and forwarded to the University’s Office of Judicial Affairs.  Confirmation of such incidents can result in expulsion from the University.  Students who are uncertain as to what constitutes academic dishonesty should consult the University publication entitled Academic Dishonesty. 

Of course, you must work by yourself on exams and quizzes.  You are allowed to work with other students, the physics clinic, your TA and your instructor on your homework and on the labs.  However, you should not just directly copy from them.  Doing so is not only dishonest, it will hurt your ability to do the problems on the quizzes and the exams.


You should also be aware of the University of Maryland Honor Pledge.  Information can be found at


The Honor Pledge is a statement undergraduate and graduate students should be asked to write by hand and sign on examinations, papers, or other academic assignments not specifically exempted by the instructor. The Pledge reads:


"I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment/examination."


The pledge was adopted by the University Senate on April 9, 2001, and approved by the President on May 10, 2001. Full implementation is effective throughout the University on the first day of the Spring 2002 semester.



Lecture Schedule

Tentative Lecture Schedule (subject to change as the Semester goes on)

Week of

Chapter in Serway and Jewett

January 25

Chapter 23

February 1

Chapter 23

February 8

Chapter 24, 25

February 15

Chapter 25, 26

February 22

Chapter 26, Exam 1 (Friday)

March 1

Chapter 27

March 8

Chapter 28

March 15

Spring Break

March 22

Chapter 29

March 29

Chapter 30

April 5

Chapter 31, Exam 2 (Friday)

April 12

Chapter 32, 34, 35

April 19

Chapter 35, 36

April 26

Chapter 36, 37

May 3

Chapter 39, 40, Exam 3 (Friday)

May 10

Chapter 40


Lab Schedule

The schedule of labs is as follows


Experiment #


January 25, 26

No Lab


February 1, 2



February 8, 9


 Equipotentials and Fields

February 15, 16


 Light bulbs

February 22, 23



March 1, 2


Ohm’s Law

March 8, 9

Make up

Make-up Lab 1-5

March 15, 16

No Lab

Spring Break

March 22, 23


Magnetic Fields

March 29, 30


The Oscilloscope

April 5, 6


Faraday’s Law

April 12, 13


RC and RL circuits

April 19, 20



April 26, 27


Photoelectric Effect

May 3, 4

Make up

Make-up Lab 6-11