General Physics: Vibrations, Waves, Heat, Electricity
(Phys 260, 261)


Professor Xiangdong Ji
Office: 4106 & 2102 Physics Building 
Phone: 405-7277


Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30pm-1:45pm; Place: Phys Bldg, Rm 1410

Teaching Assistant:

Wenxi Wu
Office Hours: Mondays, 10:00am-12:00am
Office: Physics Building, 3101

Jordan Horowitz
Office Hours: Mondays, 2:00pm-3:00pm and Thursdays, 11:00am-12:00pm
Office: Chemistry Building, 2228


Physics for Scientists and Engineers, by Randall D. Knight, 1st Edition.

Recommended references:
There are many books that you may find helpful, such as Physics by Paul A. Tipler,Worth and Fundamentals of Physics by David Halliday, Robert Resnick, and Jearl Walker.


There will be weekly homework assignments. These will consist of both electronic homework and a few conventional written problems to be turned in and graded by TAs. We will use Mastering Physics for electronic homework. Instructions for logging onto Mastering Physics are located on a pamphlet included in your text and are listed below for your convenience.

Getting started with Mastering Physics : Choose a User ID and password that is different from prevous semesters if you have used the Mastering Physics online program previously. You will need a new access code for each course, each semester.

  1. Go to
  2. Find the course textbook image (Knight 1st edition) and click on it
  3. Next you will need to register:
    1. User ID (you create)
    2. Password (you create)
    3. Course ID: MPJI19725
    4. 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 Monday (the written problem will be given in class and also here) and due by the following Wednesday: the 1st homework has already been assigned and is due February 6. You must submit your answers for the electronic homework problems over the internet and the written homework in Wednesday's class. Solutions will generally be posted on the web.

There are several advantages to electronic homework submission: (1) you have multiple attempts at each problem to get the correct solution. Thus, you can try more than once and most students keep at it until they get 100%. (2) you will be graded only on your final answers, (3) 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.


We might use clickers in class to record responses to questions. You will need a clicker for this purpose. If you don't have one already, go to to find out how to get one and register it online.

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. Details on the policy can be found at .


There will be two 1h15m long exams during the semester and a final (2h). The first exam is tentatively scheduled on Thursday, March 13 and the second on Thursday, April 24. All exams are closed-book.  Missing exam: If you miss an exam, the other exam is counted twice. You must have a valid, written excuse for missing an exam acceptable by the university. Present this excuse to the Proffessor and not the TAs ASAP. If you miss both mid-terms, they will be replaced with the final.

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.


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%
Homework (Written 10% + Electronic 15%): 25%
Physics 261 Lab: 25% (if all labs completed, F otherwise)

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.

Office Hours:

My official office hours will be 2:00-4:00pm Thursday. However, you can come to my office and ask questions at any time if I am in and not busy.