Syllabus for Physics 260 – Spring 2015   v1.01

General Physics: Waves, Heat, and Electricity

 Prof. Ted Einstein – Sections 0201 through 0206

Official Course Description: General Physics: Vibration, Waves, Heat, Electricity and Magnetism Credits: 3 GenEd: DSNL (if taken with PHYS261) Prerequisite: PHYS161 and MATH141. Corequisite: PHYS261. Credit only granted for: PHYS142, (PHYS260 and PHYS261), or PHYS272. Second semester of a three-semester calculus-based general physics course. Vibrations, waves, fluids; heat, kinetic theory, and thermodynamics; electrostatics, circuits, and magnetism. 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. If purchasing used books, additional software may be required.

Modification of Official Course Description: The course will not cover fluids or magnetism. The course will review vibrations, necessary to understand waves, with the assumption that students already were introduced to the topic in PHYS161. This change is in response to complaints that there was too much material in the course.

Co-requisite: MATH241 (Calculus III: Multivariable). If you do not understand math steps done in class or in the text, please ask the instructor in office hours and/or the TA’s in discussion section.

The Team Course Goals: To prepare students for an outstanding successful career in engineering and business based on an understanding of physics and engineering issues: cause and effect based on physics, professional and ethical practices, and an understanding of how physics is relevant to engineering and business practice. The primary way you can help achieve this goal is to ask questions in class, in discussion, and within study groups, which you are strongly encouraged to organize on your own.

Lecture Time:  MW 4:00pm - 5:15pm

Lecture Room: PHY 1412, (PHY 1412 means room 1412 of the John S. Toll Physics Building, at the NE corner of the intersection of Campus Dr. and Regents Dr., the Big-M traffic circle)

Instructor:      Prof. Ted Einstein

                        Office: PHY 2310                 

Class-related email: (This is the address to which ELMS

     will forward messages.)

                        Email for emergencies:


Office Hours:  After class at the lecture hall or just outside; another time to be announced; or by appointment (best made after class). Different times will be tried and posted on ELMS. During the discussion section is also an excellent time for you to coordinate and receive help from the team.


[Graduate] Teaching Assistants (TA’s):

  Kyle Wardlow, kwardlow at, Physical Sciences Complex 3260—Office Hour: W 11am-noon

  King Lam Hui, klhui at, PHY 0104—Office Hour: Tu 2-3pm


Discussion Section #





Tu 11:00–11:50am

PHY 1219

Kyle Wardlow


W 8:00–8:50am

PHY 0405

Kyle Wardlow


W 9:00–9:50am

PHY 0405

Kyle Wardlow


F 8:00–8:50am

PHY 1204

King Lam Hui


Tu 4:00–4:50pm

MTH 0101

Kyle Wardlow


F 9:00–9:50am

PHY 1204

King Lam Hui


Undergraduate Teaching Assistant and Grader: Abriana Height, abrianaheight at


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


Required Textbook:  The required textbook for the course is: Physics for Scientists and Engineers, A Strategic Approach, with Mastering Physics, third edition, by Randall D. Knight (Pearson, 2013). Many of you already have this book from PHYS 161. If you do not, and assuming you plan to continue on to PHYS 270 (the third semester of the sequence), it makes most sense to buy the extended edition, with modern physics (ISBN 978-0-321-73608-6/0-321-73608-7). If you find it burdensome to deal with this weighty tome, you can buy a boxed set of 5 paperback volumes (ISBN 978-0-321-77265-7/0-321-77265-2). If you are sure that you will not take PHYS 270, you can get away with the standard edition (ISBN 978-0-321-75294-9/0-321-75294-5). (If you later decide to take PHYS 270, you can buy paperback Vol. 5 by itself.)  In this course, we will study chapters from Vols. 2, 3, 4, but will review Chap. 14 from Vol. 1, so you could buy 2, 3, 4 and read chap. 14 at a library or by borrowing a friend’s copy. Studying the textbook carefully is crucial to getting through this course successfully.

   You will also need a Mastering Physics access code so you can do the online homework. If you took PHYS161 in the last semester, then you are all set: your Mastering Physics access code from PHYS 161 is good for two years. However, if you are a transfer student, took PHYS 161 more than one year ago, or for some other reason do not have an access code, then you will need to get one. Two options are:

1) Purchase a used book, and buy the Mastering Physics access code at

2) Buy textbook bundles with Mastering Physics directly from . Only one volume needs to be bundled with Mastering Physics; the others can be purchased unbundled.

The access number is needed to get on-line access to the web-based homework collection system called Mastering Physics. Warning: you really do need to get the book and access number to pass the course.


Recommended Textbooks: If you have read a section in Knight a few times and it still does not make sense, you should consult another textbook treating the same material. Fortunately, there are many good, and at times better, physics books, that cover much of the same material as Knight. Early in the semester, you ought to browse several and see which presentation appeals to you.

Current versions of the recommended texts include:

1) Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Raymond A. Serway and John W. Jewett, Jr., 9 th edition, Cengage Learning, 2013; ISBN 978-1133947271.

2) Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Paul A. Tipler and Gene Mosca, 6 th edition, W.H. Freeman, 2007; ISBN:  978-0716789642

3) Fundamentals of Physics by David Halliday, Robert Resnick, and Jearl Walker, 10 th edition, Wiley, 2013; ISBN: 978-1118230725 (Extended).

4) Physics: Extended with Modern Physics by Richard Wolfson and Jay M. Pasachoff, Scott, Foresman/Little, Brown, 1990; ISBN: 978-0673398369.

5) Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics by Douglas C. Giancoli, 4 th edition, Addison-Wesley, 2008; ISBN: 978-0131495081, the text for PHYS 141 and 142, so at a somewhat  easier level.

6) Physics for Science and Engineering by William F. Hornyak and Jerry B. Marion, Saunders, 1983; ISBN: 978-0030628313, highly praised text by two deceased UMD professors, at a somewhat higher level than the class. Hard to find.

These books (or perhaps previous editions) can be found on (2-hour) reserve in the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library (EPSL). There are also earlier editions of these and many other calculus-based physics textbooks printed in the last 20 years that contain much of the same material. They often can be purchased quite inexpensively on the web or at local used book stores or found on the shelves of EPSL.


Grades: Your total numerical score for the course will be computed by summing your scores on the final exam, the three midterms, the homework, the lab, and participation, with the following weights:

            Final exam                                                                   20%

            Three midterm exams    (15% each, best two)            30%

            Homework                                                                  15%

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

            Quizzes & Participation (lecture and discussion)       10%

A histogram of total scores for the entire class will be plotted. Assuming that the distribution is reasonably bell-shaped, a previous offering of the course (by another instructor) announced that letter grades would be assigned so that students with scores in the top 20% will receive an A, the next lower 40% will receive a B, the next lower 25% will receive a C, and the remaining 15% will be split between D and F. For consistency, the grade distribution will be similar this semester. Participation in lecture will be evaluated using web-based responses. You must have a web enabled laptop, tablet, or smart-phone for lecture. If you do not have such a device, please inform the instructor quickly.


*Important Notes:

(1) YOU MUST BE ENROLLED AND COMPLETE ALL THE LABS IN PHYSICS 261 IN ORDER TO PASS PHYSICS 260. There are no exceptions. Students who do not complete all of the experiments in PHYS 261 will automatically get an F in both PHYS 260 and PHYS 261. Don’t believe anyone who tells you differently.

(2) Experiment 1 in PHYS 261 Lab must be completed during the first week of classes. This experiment is a tutorial on Excel, and typically you must complete it on your own. Lab sections typically start meeting the second week of classes, when you will work on Experiment 2. Unlike previous semesters, you will attend lab sections every week. 

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

(4) Scores on one midterm exam, one homework assignment, and one in-class response will be dropped. Missing a homework assignment or exam will not be allowed without a valid documented excuse (medical problem, religious holiday, official university event, or serious family crisis). If you are going to miss an exam or assignment because of a religious holiday, it is your responsibility to inform the instructor of this fact in advance, so that suitable arrangements can be made.


About the course: PHYS260 is the second semester of the three-semester PHYS161/260/270 sequence in introductory physics intended for engineering students. You must also be enrolled in the PHYS261 lab in order to pass PHYS260. The course covers material in a few main areas: Oscillations and Waves, Heat, Electrostatics, and DC circuits. In response to wide-spread complaints that the course covered too many topics, magnetism and fluids will not be treated. This is a Calculus-based sequence and makes extensive use of material in MATH140/141, as well as MATH241 as the course progresses. We 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. Einstein. 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. In other words, material from any part of the course can appear on a test, quiz, or homework, whether or not it was covered in the lectures. However, it is likely that a few sections of the assigned chapters will be excluded; these will be announced explicitly, and you will then not be responsible for their contents.


Problems with registration status: There is nothing that the instructor or the TAs can do aboutsuch issues. You should email .


Exams: There are three midterm exams and one final exam. All exams will be closed book, but a self-prepared paper crib sheet will be allowed. The crib sheet should be on ONE SIDE OF HALF of a sheet of typing/notebook paper (so 8-1/2" x 5-1/2") for each of the midterms (and a whole sheet for the final); you may include important equations and values of fundamental constants but NOT solutions to homework problems.  Calculators are allowed during exams, but you are not allowed to use any device with phone, photo, web, messaging or text display capabilities during an exam. You are expected to take all the exams. Of the three midterm tests, the lowest score will be dropped. If you cannot attend an exam at the scheduled time, contact Prof. Einstein before the exam!  If you miss a midterm exam with a valid excuse, it will count as your dropped lowest score. You must take the final exam to pass the course. Students are responsible for all material, including that covered in assigned reading, lectures and homework. Material from any part of the course can appear on an exam or homework, whether or not it was covered in the lectures.


Excuses: Turning in late homework or missing an exam or quiz is not allowed without a valid documented (in writing) excuse as defined by the University (medical problem, religious holiday, participation in UMD activities at the request of university authorities, or serious family crisis). If you are going to miss an assignment because of a religious holiday, it is your responsibility to inform the instructor in advance so that suitable arrangements can be made. It is UMD policy that for a medical absence from a single event/day, the student can attest by himself/herself to the illness, except for a “Major Scheduled Graded Event” (i.e., an exam). See the undergraduate catalog ( for details.


Homework and Solutions: Homework will typically be assigned weekly. After the first midterm, it will be due at noon on the Monday after the material is covered in class. However, Assignment 1 based on Chap. 16, which we cover the first week, is due on Tuesday, Feb. 3, just before the first discussion session (~10:55am). This policy will insure that you keep up to date. The homework is designed to take about 1½ hours, no more than 2. If it takes you longer, you should seek help in understanding the material better. You must submit your answers for the homework problems over the internet using the Mastering Physics web site. Since we have gotten support for undergraduate TA’s, you are also required to turn in a paper copy of one of the problems every week or two, complete with a prose discussion of your reasoning, a diagram, and an algebraic solution, important aspects of problem solving which cannot be monitored with MasteringPhysics.  If MasteringPhysics provides randomized numbers you should use them for what you do online but the numbers in the textbook for what you submit on paper (so that the TA has only one set of numbers with which to deal).  This will be due at the START of class, on the day after the homework deadline unless otherwise announced.

   Note that the Mastering Physics software will randomize the numbers each time you make a new attempt on a problem, so be careful and remember that other students working on exactly the same problems will have other numbers! Certainly under these circumstances, but more generally, the best way to do physics problems is first to work out carefully a general solution algebraically, then plug in numbers only at the end. For calculating complicated expressions, I strongly recommend using an electronic spreadsheet, such as Excel, rather than a calculator. Note that you will only be allowed 5 tries at a problem, so if you have errors on your first two or three submissions, consult with a study-group partner or TA or instructor before using up your last couple chances.  For problems with true/false or multiple-choice questions, there is a penalty from wrong answers. Take careful note of the deadlines for problem sets.  Once the deadline has passed, there is no way to extend it.


Why You Need to Do the Homework: One of the main ways you can 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 fail in this course is not doing the homework or not giving yourself enough time to work on it. In addition to doing the assigned problems, you should work through some unassigned problems, ideally in tandem with your study group. A key to success in this course is to do lots of problems (DLOP, a phrase used often by one of my best teachers).


Getting started in electronic homework submission: To turn in your homework, you need to go to:


The site is best accessed with an up-to-date browser. If you have problems check the system requirements -  most common problems in the past were due to pop-up blockers, the use of out of date JAVA or an out of date browser. If you have not used Mastering Physics before then you should log on and try the practice homework set before attempting any of the real homework sets.


Registering and Gaining Access to Mastering Physics: In order to turn in your homework, you will need to register at the Mastering Physics website To register, you need two things: an access number and the class ID. The Course ID is: P260TEinsteinSpr15. Your access number will be the same one you used last semester for PHYS 161. If you do not have an access number, then you can get one pre-packaged with a new copy of the Knight textbook if you order it “with Mastering Physics” or by buying an access number at


Students with Disabilities: Accommodations will be provided to enable students with documented disabilities to participate fully in the course. Please discuss any needs with the instructor at the beginning of the semester so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Students who are registered with DSS, and who are planning to take examinations at DSS facilities, are required to give the instructor the pertinent authorization forms in editable electronic format at least one week prior to each exam date.


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


Academic honesty: You are permitted—in fact very strongly encouraged—to get together in small groups to discuss the homework problems and course material in general. However, do not use these discussions as an excuse to copy someone else's solution to the homework or to let someone else copy your solution. Both are cheating! You should first to work through the problems on your own and arrive at a definite answer. With this preparation you can then discuss with others and see if you have missed something. All work you submit must be your own and should reflect your own understanding. Academic dishonesty, including copying homework, Googling for solutions on the web, or cheating on an exam, is a very serious offense which may result in suspension or expulsion from the University. Don’t even think about doing it. Details on the policy can be found at



Discussion Sections:  You must attend your discussion section and you must go to the section you have been assigned. Your TA will cover material (homework and exams) that may not be covered elsewhere. 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 explain things and give help when you are stuck, not to dole out answers. Also, don’t forget that your TA is also a student, in this case a graduate student, and also has to take classes, do homework, and teach other sections. TA’s are still learning, are very busy, and are not highly paid for all their effort. Please be respectful and understanding and expect that they treat you with the same respect and understanding.


Help with understanding the material: Physics and engineering are cumulative: the knowledge learned at each stage builds upon previous knowledge. If you find that you are falling behind, seek help early on, rather than waiting until just before an exam. Help can be obtained by:

·         Attending your discussion section

·         Visiting the Slawsky Clinic, 10 am to 3 pm, M-F, Room PHY 1214 (301-405-5984)

·         Going to the office hours of your instructor or TA

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


If you find that you are having more general academic problems, or are having trouble figuring out what you want to do, you should stop by Room 1120 Physics and talk to Tom Gleason, the Physics Coordinator of Student Services. Tom graduated from Maryland and also used to be an advisor in Letters and Science (undeclared majors). He is now the advisor for Physics majors, but he knows all the University rules and is a great person to talk to because of his perspective on Physics and other programs at the University.



Dear Student:

In this course you will be using MasteringPhysics®, an online tutorial and homework program that accompanies your textbook. If you have joined a MasteringPhysics course before and can still log in:
Save time by following the guide for joining another course by following the guide for joining another course (available from > Tours & Training > Getting Started) instead of this page.

What You Need:

P  A valid email address

P  A student access code
(Comes in the Student Access Code Card/Kit that may have been packaged with your new textbook or that may be available separately in your school’s bookstore. Otherwise, you can purchase access online at  

P  The ZIP or other postal code for your school: _______________

P  A Course ID:   _ P260TEinsteinSpr15 __(Provided by your instructor)

1. Register


–OR– Purchase access online: Select No, I need to purchase access online now. Select your textbook, whether you want access to the eText, and click Continue. Follow the on-screen instructions to purchase access using a credit card. The purchase path includes registration, but the process is a bit different from the steps printed here.

2. Log In

3. Join Your Instructor’s Online Course and/or Open Self-Study Resources

Upon first login, you’ll be asked to do one or more of the following:

To Access MasteringPhysics Again Later

Simply go to, enter your Login Name and Password, and click Log In.

After you have joined a course: You can open any assignments from the Assignments Due Soon area or from the Assignments page. For self-study, click eText or Study Area, if these options are available. 



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