Syllabus for Physics 260 - Spring 2010

General Physics: Oscillations, Fluids, Waves, Heat and Electricity

 Professor Kaustubh Agashe - Sections 0201, 0202, 0203, 0204 and 0205

             (Check here frequently for important announcements related to the course)

Official Course Description: PHYS260 General Physics: Oscillations, Fluids, Waves, Heat, and Electricity; (3 credits) Grade Method: REG/P-F/AUD. Prerequisite: MATH141 and PHY161. Corequisite: PHYS261. Credit will be granted for only one of the following: PHYS142; PHYS260 and PHYS 261 (Formerly: PHYS262) or PHYS272. Formerly PHYS 262. Second semester of a three-semester calculus-based general physics course. Oscillations, waves, fluids; thermodynamics; electrostatics and circuits. PHYS260 and PHYS261 must be taken in the same semester and the grade for the courses will be combined into a single grade for both. To pass, students must complete passing work in both PHYS260 and PHYS261. CORE Physical Science Lab (PL) course only when taken concurrently with PHYS 261. If purchasing used books additional software may be required.


Instructor:           Professor Kaustubh Agashe                                           Phone:    (301)-405-6018

                             Office:   4119 Physics Building                      e-mail:

                             Office Hours:       Tuesday 2.30-3.30 pm. and Thursday 2.30-3.30 pm. (or by appointment.)


Teaching Assistants: 
Shaon Chakrabarti for sections 0201 and 0202 (email:, Phone: (301) 405-), Office hours 9.00-11 am. Wednesday
in 1102 Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST) Building (located by the intersection of Regents and Stadium Drives).
Kyle Wardlow for sections 0203, 0204 and 0205 (email:, Phone: (301) 405-6191), Office hours: 1-2 pm.
on Monday and 3-4 pm. on Wednesday in 3101 Physics Building.



Lecture Time:                      Tu-Th.......12:30-1:45 pm.

Lecture Room:                    Room 1412, John S. Toll Physics Building

Discussion Sections:           

Section #





Tu........ 11:00- 11:50am

PHY 4208

Shaon Chakrabarti


W........ 8:00-8:50 am.

PHY 4208

Shaon Chakrabarti


W........ 9:00- 9:50am

PHY 4208

Kyle Wardlow


W........ 10:00-10:50pm

PHY 4208

Kyle Wardlow



PHY 4208

Kyle Wardlow


Lab sections: You must enroll in Physics 261 and complete all the labs in order to pass Physics 260.


Required Textbook:  Physics for Scientists and Engineers,  by Randall D. Knight (2nd Edition): volumes 1-4. Note

that we will cover chapters 14 and 15 also in this course which are in volume 1.


Recommended Textbooks: There are many books that you may find helpful when Knight is not, including Physics for Scientists and Engineers, by Serway and Jewett , Physics by Paul A. Tipler, Worth and Fundamentals of Physics by David Halliday, Robert Resnick, and Jearl Walker. There are also many earlier editions of these and other calculus based physics textbooks printed in the last 10-20 years that contain much the same material and can be purchased quite inexpensively on the web or at local used book stores or found in the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library.


Grades: Your total numerical score for the course will be computed by summing your scores on the final exam, the two midterms (out of three), the homework (electronic and written) and the lab with the following weight:

               Final exam                                                                                          20%

               Two midterm exams             (15 % each)                                          30%

               Quizzes (lecture and discussion)                                                             5%

               Homework (Written 5% + Electronic 15%)                                       20%

               Physics 261 Lab                                                                                 25% (if all labs completed, F otherwise)



Your final grade will be based on your total numerical score (more details will be available later).


*Important grading notes:

(1) Students who do not complete all of the lab experiments will automatically get an F in both Physics 260 and Physics 261 - YOU MUST BE ENROLLED AND PASS PHYSICS 261 IN ORDER TO PASS PHYSICS 260. 

(2) You must take the Final exam in order to pass the course.

(3) No homework will be dropped for any reason. Turning in late written homework will not be allowed without a valid documented excuse (medical problem, religious holiday, or serious family crisis). In all cases, the makeup written assignment will still need to be completed in a reasonable amount of time. The new due date and assignment must be arranged by consulting with Dr. Agashe as soon as possible after it becomes apparent that there will be a problem. If you are going to miss a written  assignment because of a religious holiday, it is your responsibility to inform the instructor of any intended absences for religious observances in advance, so that suitable arrangements can be made. For electronic homework, there will be an automatic deduction of your score for submissions after the due date.

(4). For full credit for any written homework or exam problem you must show your work. Therefore, in addition to the correct answer, you must justify your approach, if possible.


About the course: Physics 260 used to be called Physics 262. It is the second semester of the three-semester 161/260/270 sequence in introductory physics intended for engineering students. You must also be enrolled in the Physics 261 lab in order to pass Physics 260. Physics 260 is a CORE physical science course with a lab. The course covers material in three main areas: (i) Oscillations and Waves (Chapters 14 and 20-21) (ii) Fluids and Heat (Chapters 15, 16-19); and (iii) Electricity through dc circuits (Chapters 25-31 of Knight). This is a calculus-based sequence and makes extensive use of material in Math 140 and 141. We also will use some vector calculus, mostly line and surface integrals, but nothing too complicated. The course will stress qualitative understanding of physical phenomena as well as quantitative analysis through problem solving. If you miss a lecture, get notes from a classmate or see Dr. Agashe. Students are responsible for all assigned material, including reading, homework and labs. Students are also responsible for material that is discussed in class but is not in the textbook. What this means is that material from any part of the course can appear on a test, quiz or homework, whether or not it was covered in the lectures.


Class notes will be posted here. Please attend every class and try to read up the relevant chapter(s) of the textbook before coming to the class.

Mid-Term Exams: All exams (including the final) will be closed book, with no crib sheets allowed, either electronic or paper unless otherwise announced. There will be two midtems,. There will be no make-up for the midterms, unless there is a strong documented excuse (medical problem, religious holiday, or serious family crisis).

You may need a calculator during the quizzes and exams, especially one with "scientific" capabilities, i.e., trig, log, exponential, roots, and powers. Memories, parentheses, radian/degree conversion, etc., are also very helpful. We reserve the right to clear all memories on your calculators at the start of any exam. For that reason it is best to use a simple inexpensive calculator for the exams. Solutions to the exam questions will be posted. Sample exams from previous semesters will be made available for viewing. Review sessions for the mid-term exams will be announced in class and on the web.

Final exam: You must have a strong documented excuse (medical problem, religious holiday, or serious family crisis) acceptable by the rules of the university to make up if you miss the final exam. The excuse must be presented to the Professor and not the TA at the first opportunity. How the missed exam will be made up will be decided by the professor at that time, assuming the excuse is acceptable. A review for the final exam will be held during the last  class.

Homework: There will be weekly homework assignments. These will consist of both electronic homework and a few

conventional written problems to be turned in. We will use Mastering Physics for electronic homework. You will need

a code (which comes with the book) to access the electronic homework.


Mastering Physics student codes should be valid for about a year (or even more). So, if you had used  Mastering Physics within this

period, then you might be able access it this semester using the same login credentials (just go to “Returning User”).

If you purchased a used book or only new volumes 2-4 (which might not come with Mastering Physics access code), then you

can purchase access to Mastering Physics (for $44.50) from


Or, you can purchase a new volume 1 (along with the code) directly from the publishers at might
offer a discount over bookstore price (and on shipping). You will have to figure out what's the best price according to your 


Getting started with Mastering Physics: Instructions for logging onto Mastering Physics are located on a pamphlet

included in your text and are listed below for your convenience.


  1. Go to


2.  Find the course textbook image (Knight 2st edition) and click on it


3. Next you will need to register.


(a) Login ID (you create)


(b). Password (you create)


(c). Access code


(d). Course ID:   MPAGASHE27354


(e).Student ID (and User ID): your UMID number


For any technical problems please contact the mastering physics support team by phone: (888) 547-4415 between normal business hours or by email:


Homework will generally be assigned on Tuesday (the written problem will be given here) and due by the following Thursday. You must submit your answers for the electronic homework problems over the internet and the written homework in class. Solutions will generally be posted here.

               There are several advantages to electronic homework submission (please check the grading policy before starting the online homework):

(1) you have multiple attempts at each problem to get the correct solution with a (small) penalty for wrong answers.

(2). hints are available for some problems with a (small) penalty for using them.

(3) you will be graded only on your final answers,

(4) grading is almost immediate.

Note that the software will randomize the numbers for each student, so be careful and remember that other students working on exactly the same problems will have other numbers!  The best way to do physics problems is to first work out a general formula for the answer and then plug in the numbers at the end. This is especially true if the numbers are being randomized so everyone has different numbers.


Students are advised to make a copy for themselves of the written homework before submitting it.


Why You Better Do the Homework: One of the main ways you will understand Physics is by doing the homework.  Do not wait until the night before it’s due to start working on your homework. The homework is supposed to be hard and it counts a lot for your grade.  A sure way to get an F in this course is to not do the homework or not give your self enough time to work on it.


Academic Honesty: Note that although you are encouraged to discuss homework and class material with other students, any work you submit must be your own and should reflect your own understanding. Academic dishonesty, such as cheating on an

exam or copying homework, is a serious offense which may result in suspension or expulsion from the University.


The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the 
Student Honor Council.  This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate 
students.  As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course.  It is very important for you to be 
aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of 
Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit
To further exhibit your commitment to academic integrity, please sign the Honor Pledge (which covers all examinations and
Assignments) and turn it in as “Homework 0”: 
"I pledge on my honor that I will not give or receive any unauthorized assistance on all examinations, quizzes and homework assignments in this course."


CourseEvalUM: As a member of our academic community, you as a student have a number of important responsibilities. 
One of these responsibilities is to submit your course evaluations each term though CourseEvalUM in order to help faculty
 and administrators improve teaching and learning at Maryland. Please make a note now of the dates for Spring 2009 
(Tuesday, April 28, through Wednesday, May 13) and the link at which you can access the submission system at that time 
(  If you submitted all of your evaluations in the fall or are a new student, you can also access 
all posted results from Fall 2007 to the present via Testudo under CourseEvalUM Reporting. To retain this access, you must 
submit all of your evaluations each semester. If you do not have access right now, you can gain it in future semesters by 
submitting all of your Spring 2009 evaluations once they are available. More information is at:



Note on Discussion Sections:  You must attend the discussion section to which you are assigned. Your TA will cover material (homework and exams) that may not be covered elsewhere.  There will be quizzes during the discussion sections. Please come prepared so you can ask questions, i.e. read the assigned chapter and work on the homework problems.  Remember, the TA is there to give help when you are stuck, not to dole out answers.


Help with understanding the material: Physics and engineering are cumulative: the knowledge learned at each stage builds upon previous knowledge.  Do not fall behind!  If you find yourself in trouble, seek help early on.  Contact the instructor or one of the TAs.  Attend the discussion sections and ask questions, or go to office hours.  Don’t wait until just before an exam. Help can be obtained by:

·        Attending your discussion section. 

·        Visiting the Slawsky Clinic, in room 1140 Physics Building.

·        Going to the office hours of your instructor or TA.

·        The Learning Assistance Service (2201 Schoemaker Bldg., 301-314-7693) helps students with time management, reading, note taking, and exam preparation skills. 


(TENTATIVE) schedule of Physics 260 topics, exams, and holidays



Main Topics

Chapter in Knight


Jan. 26-28


Chap. 14


Feb. 2-4

Fluids and Elasticity

Chap. 15


Feb. 9-11

              Traveling Waves

Chap. 20


Feb. 16-18

Superposition, Macro. Description of Matter

Chap. 21, 16


Feb. 23-25

Macro. Description…Work, Heat…

Chap. 16, 17


Mar 2-4

Work, Heat…Micro/Macro Connection

Chap. 17, 18


Tuesday, Mar. 9

Exam I

Chap. 14,15, 20, 21


Mar. 11

Micro/Macro Connection, Heat Engines…

Chap. 18, 19


Spring break




Mar. 23-25

Heat Engines, Electric Charges and Forces

Chap. 19, 26


Mar. 30-Apr. 1

Electric Charges and Forces , Electric Field

Chap. 26, 27


Apr. 6-8

Gauss’s Law

Chap. 28


Apr. 13-15

Electric Potential

Chap. 29


Tuesday, Apr. 20

Exam II

Chap. 16, 17, 18, 19, 26


Apr. 22

Potential and Field

 Chap. 30


Apr. 27-29

Potential and Field , Current and Resistance

Chap. 30, 31


May 4-6

Current and Resistance , Fundamentals of Circuits

Chap. 31, 32


May 11

Fundamentals of Circuits

 Chap. 32


May 12, 13 afternoon (tentative)

Review sessions



May 14 (Friday) 6.30-8.30 pm.

1407 Chemistry

Final Exam