Sections 0301, 0302 and 0303
General Physics:
Electrodynamics, Light, Relativity and Modern Physics

Fall 2008

MWF 12:00-12:50 PHY 1410

Prof. Steve Wallace
Room 2107, Phone 301-405-7128
Office hours:  Mon., Thurs. 1:30-2:30.
  Feel free to drop in or send e-mail to request an appoitment.

Teaching Assistants :
Matt Severson
Room 0104
Office hours: Tues. 4-5 PM; Thurs. 3-4 PM
Katayoon Saadin
Room 3103B
Office hours: Thurs. 12-1 PM
Grader: Florence Ugboh
Section 0301 (Matt Severson) Weds. 1pm PHY 1402
Section 0302 (Matt Severson) Weds. 2pm PHY 1219
Section 0303 (Katayoon Saadink) Thur. 10am MTH 0106
Section 0304 (Steve Wallace ) Th 9am PHY1219

    Breaking News:
Last MasteringPhysics Assignment it is due Saturday, Dec. 13, 11:59 PM

FINAL EXAM is WEDNESDAY, DEC. 17, 6:30 to 8:30 pm,
ROOMS PHYS 1410 & 1412.

At the end of the web page is an algorithm for estimating your Phys270 & Phys 271 grade. (There is one grade for both.)

I am away from the evening of Dec. 12 until the evening of Dec. 18. Dr. Chen and the TAs will proctor the final exam. If you need to contact me, send an e-mail and if necessary contact my secretary, Loretta Robinette, in Room 2108 Physics, e-mail:,

Fall 2008 Midterm I & Grade distribution   Fall 2008 Midterm II & Grade Distribution  
Final Exam & Course Grades   2007 Final Exam & Solution: page 1   page 2 page 3

Course & Professor Evaluations: Open for business Dec. 2 to Dec. 14, 2008. Please participate.   TA Evaluations

2008 Midterm Exam III and Solution.
  Grade Distribution

Course & Professor Evaluations   TA Evaluations

Mandatory Laboratory Requirement : PHYS 271 is the laboratory component of this course. You must complete and pass PHYS271 (do all the labs) in order to pass PHYS270.

PHYS271 must be taken in the same semester in order to count for the CORE Lab Science requirement. PHYS270 taken alone is not accepted as a non-lab science course for CORE.

Mastering Physics

The Mastering Physics Access Code is good for two years. Normally, students who obtained an access code when they took Physics 161 will not need to purchase a new one. If a new code is needed, beware that a new book purchased at the bookstore does not come bundled with the MasteringPhysics access code. The best options are:

1.) Purchase a used book, and purchase the MasteringPhysics access code at for $44.50.

2.) Buy textbook bundles with MasteringPhysics directly from the publisher at They offer a 10% discount over bookstore pricing, and free FedEx shipping. The upcharge for bundling MasteringPhysics with one book is only a few dollars.

There will be weekly homework assignments using Mastering Physics.

In addition to the web-based homework, a written problem will be assigned each week to be turned in to the TA in your section.

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. You will need a new access code for each course, each semester. Go to Find the course textbook image (Knight 1st edition) and click on it. Next you will need to register by entering:
User ID (you create)
Password (you create)
Course ID: MPWALLACE75530
Your UMID number

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

General course information

Physics for Scientists and Engineers: A Strategic Approach, by Randall D. Knight" Addison Wesley, 10 digit ISBN: 0-8053-8685-8, 13 digit ISBN:9780805386851 (This is the first edition.)

First part of course covers Chapters 32-35 of Vol. 4
Second part covers Chapters 23-24 of Vol. 3
Third part covers Chapters 37-40 of Vol. 5

A good reference book for this course is: Serway and J. Jewett, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Vol. 2, 6 th Edition ISBN: 0-534-40846-X. (Thomson, Brooks-Cole, Belmont, California).

E-mail: I encourage students to make use of e-mail for quick correspondence with me regarding lecture material, homework problems, or whatever. I will also use e-mail to communicate with the class at large.

Homework: Assigned weekly using Mastering Physics and due the following week. Homework assignments all count! The total will be 25% of the course grade. If you provide a written medical excuse for missing a homework assignment, the average of your homework grades will be used for that assignment.

Discussion Sections: One homework problem in each assignment must be handed in to the TA in your discussion section. The grading of your written solution to this problem will be based on a five-point scheme:
1.) 2 points for a clear statement of the concepts and methods needed to solve the problem (complete sentences required);
2.) 2 points for a readable explanation and/or derivation of a formula for the quantity that should be calculated;
3.) 1 point for a correct numerical result.
The emphasis for the problem to be handed in is to write a clear explanation. Discussion sections will assist with this by having a group discussion of what is the best explanation of the physics before the papers will be accepted.

Exam Policies: All exams will be closed book, closed notes. A calculator is allowed but no other electronic devices. A one-page sheet of paper with information of your choosing may be used during the exam.

Exam Schedule:
..........First Midterm Examination Monday, October 13, 2008.  

..........Second Midterm Examination Friday, November 7 2008.  

..........Third Midterm Examination Friday, December 5, 2008.  

..........Final Examination Wednesday, December 17, 2008 6:30pm-8;30pm. Joint exam with Dr. Chen's class. Rooms PHY 1410 & PHY1412  

Grading:  The total course points (800 pts. max) will consist of the sum of points for PHYS270 (600pts. max) and the points for PHYS271 (200 pts. max). The 600 points for PHYS270 will be apportioned as follows: Mastering Physics homework (120 pts.), written homework (30pts.) three mid-terms (270 pts.), final exam (180 pts.)
Note: Final Exam score will be used to decide borderline cases. If the total points is in the A-/B+ area, but the final exam if in the B or lower range, the final grade would be a B+.  

    What is a reasonable projection for my grade in Phys270?
    1.) Calculate midterm exam average percentage times 270 points.
    2.) Calculate MasteringPhysics average percentage times 120 points.
    3.) Calculate your written HW average percentage times 30 points.
    4.) Estimate final exam score out of 180 pts. A reasonable estimate would be 180*midterm average*0.9. The final exam average usually is 10% lower than the average of midterm exams.
    5.) Calculate lab average percentage times 200 points.
    6.) Add these to get your projection for total points.
    7.) Compare your total points to Grades from a previous semester.
    (Note the rule stated above about the final exam deciding borderline cases.)