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Physics 273 - Fall 2007

Introductory Physics:
Waves and Optics

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Information on Blackboard/WebAssign links will be posted soon

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Syllabus Weekly Assignments
Solution Sets

Classroom Demonstrations

Course Description

Pre-requisites:  Phys 272 (fields) and Math 241 (multivariable calculus)
Co-requisites:  Math 246  or Math 414 (differential eqns)

Content:  Oscillations and AC circuits, Fourier series and integrals, waves on strings, sound; electromagnetic waves from Maxwell's equations in differential form; physical optics

Phys 273H - Students in 273H will have an object of extra problems on each problem set, or of setting up some course demonstrations*



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Physics 273 - Introductory Physics:  Waves and Optics

Instructor:  Professor E. Williams  (http://www.physics.umd.edu/spg/)
Room 2332 Physics,
Phone 301-405-6156
course web page:   http://www.physics.umd.edu/courses/Phys273/williams07/index.html
e-mail:  edw@physics.umd.edu (include Phys 273 in subject line - otherwise e-mail may not be opened)
Office hours:  Tue 12-2 PM (or see me by appointment)

Teaching Assistant:  tba

Class Location:

M Tu W Th  9:00 AM, Room 0405 Physics


Tipler and Mosca,  Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 5e, Vols. I and II,
W.H. Freeman and Co.  2004.
ISBN:  0-7167-0809-4 and -810-8
or combined volume:  ISBN:  0-7167-8339-8

Recommended Texts:
Hirose and Langren:  Introduction to Wave Phenomena (pub. Krieger)
French:                      Vibrations and Waves (pub. Norton)
Pain:                          The Physics of Vibrations and Waves (pub. Wiley)

Course Outline:  (schedule breakdown tba)

Chapter 29 with additional material on Imaginary Numbers
Chapters 15-16, with additional material on Fourier Synthesis
Electromagnetic waves on a transmission line
    (as per Ch. 9 of Hirose and Langren)
Chapters 30-33, and possibly some of Ch. 34. 
    Final Exam
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1. Problem sets, 1 set per week, due Thursday at or before the beginning of class.
Typically 6-10 problems assigned from the text books. 
STAPLE your multi-page homework solutions. 
2. WebAssign problem sets chosen to encourage study of the basic concepts.
3. Exams:  dates (early Oct and early Nov, tba)
4. Final Exam:  Cumulative examination with an emphasis on material after exam #2.
Date:  The University will formally assign a date later in the semester. 
The most likely time appears to be:  Monday, Dec 17      8:00am-10:00am

Use of a calculator is allowed and expected on examinations, quizzes and problem sets.  Please remember to bring your own to exams.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

The University has a legal obligation to provide appropriate accommodations for students with documented disabilities.   In order to ascertain what accommodations may need to be provided, students with disabilities should inform me of their needs in the first week of the semester. 

WebAssign problems - 10%
Problem sets:          25%  
Exams     Exam 1:  20%
                Exam 2:  20%
                Final:      25%
Regular attendance and class participation is expected, and will serve as a differentiator for borderline grades.  Examples and demonstrations presented in class will be included in the material covered by examinations.  You should keep a well-organized class notebook and bring it with you when you need to discuss course material with the instructor or TA.  

Partial credit will be assigned on problem set and exam problems where work is clearly presented. 

Missed assignments or exams

Late problem sets or quizzes will not be accepted.  The two lowest problem set scores and WebAssign set scores will be dropped.   This is your insurance policy for unforeseen events - don't intentionally skip two assignments and then find yourself without an option when the dog eats your homework. 

 Makeup examinations will only be given for those with a valid documented excuse (doctor's note, accident report, certifiable religious observance,  etc.).  If you know ahead of time that you will miss an exam, you must notify me before the exam.   If you miss an exam due to an emergency, let me know as soon as possible afterwards.   I consider requests for make-ups or any other special consideration to be governed by the precepts of academic honesty. 

Academic Honesty

Working together on assignments is encouraged.  However, each student is expected to do the assigned problems and write the problem sets independently, and hand in his or her own work for grading.  Examinations are closed book and are expected to be worked totally independently.   I consider requests for make-ups or any other special consideration to be governed by the precepts of academic honesty.  

For any questions about academic honesty, see University policies at:



How courses will be continued/completed in case of an emergency that will close the University for an extended period of time

The course outline will be followed using remote teaching to the extent possible in such a situation.  Information on continuing course requirements will be posted on the course web page and/or sent by direct e-mail to all students.  Students will be responsible for material/assignments disseminated in this way. 

In the event that the University-maintained web pages and e-mail service disappear during the closure, the course content will be shortened as needed and grades will be assigned on a pro-rated basis.   The grade of "incomplete" will not be used.

If the closure is extended, it seems possible that the University may institute formal policies to deal with the situation.  In that case, any University rulings will be followed. 

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Assignment 1
-  Aug. 29- Sept.  6

Reading:  Review material on oscillations, such as Tipler Ch. 14
                Review material on circuit components - resistors, capacitors, inductors, Tipler Ch. 24, 25, 28

Recommend WebAssign :  Intro to WebAssign
WebAssign  Set #1:  Due Tuesday, Sept. 4, 9 AM

Problem Set #1
Due:  Thursday, September 6 at the beginning of class


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Classroom Demonstrations

I will occasionally use classroom demonstrations to illustrate ideas in the course.  You should not treat these demonstrations as  opportunities for a nap - the material presented will be included in the material covered on examinations (often a demo gives me an idea for an exam problem).   If you're interested in looking at the demonstration descriptions (and finding some references describing them, you can go to the Lecture Demonstration web site:  http://www.physics.umd.edu/deptinfo/facilities/lecdem/services/demos/mainindex.htm 

Student demonstrations from 2006: 

               Sound into a tube with adjustable length (demo by W. Stem) 

               Amplitude Modulation (C. Mehta)
                Refraction and total internal reflection using microwaves (W. Stem)
                Laser diffraction: finite aperture width, slit and circle (C. Mehta)
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Solution Sets and Handouts
  these will be downloadable files
or web links

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WebAssign Instructions

The " WebAssign  problems are set to allow 10 tries each, with a different set of numbers each time.    They are assigned early in the week to encourage you to go over the basic material early enough to be able to ask questions in class. 

1. Go to http://www.webassign.net/ and hit "login" or directly to https://www.webassign.net/login.html

2. Enter your username, institution, and password. If you have problems, contact me personally, and I will tell you the username and password.
3. You need to pay for access by Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 12:00 noon.  Do not delay payment. The price is about $15.  There are two ways to pay:
4. WebAssign Student Guide is available at https://www.webassign.net/info/guide/index.html

Copyright (2007) University of Maryland, College Park. All rights reserved. 
Permission to redistribute the contents without alteration is granted to
educational institutions for non-profit administrative
or educational purposes if proper credit is given to
the University of Maryland, College Park as the source.