Department of Physics                      PHYS 273 -  Spring 2004                   UMCP


Instructor:      R.F. Ellis

                        Room 0132 Energy Research Bldg., Phone x57369

                        Email :

                        Office Hours: Tuesday 2-3:30 pm, Thursday 2-3:30pm, or by appointment


Schedule :       Lectures :         Tues,Thurs 9:30 –10:45 am  room 1402

                        Discussion :     Fri  9:00 – 9:50 am  room 1402


Text:               Physics for Scientists and Engineers , Tipler and Mosca, Vols. 1 and 2, 5th Edition

                        The Physics of Vibrations and Waves, H. J. Pain, 5th Edition (recommended)

***This Course will use Web Assign. Click here for more info.***


Course Description:  The third semester of a three semester sequence in introductory physics for physics, math, chemistry, or engineering majors.  The subjects covered are oscillations and waves, both mechanical and electromagnetic .  These correspond roughly to chapters 14-16 and 29-33 of the text, though all chapters will not be covered in depth.  This is a calculus based sequence and makes extensive use of MATH 140,141, 241, and some of 246. The course will stress a quantitative understanding of physical phenomena and problem solving as well as a clear qualitative understanding. It is not possible to cover all the course material in lecture and students are responsible for the sections assigned in the text. Lectures will concentrate on covering the major points and providing insight into the material. To get the most out of lecture it is imperative that students read the text before class.


Exams:  There will be two in-class exams during the semester and a cumulative final exam. The schedule of the in-class exams is as follows:      


Thursday March 4

Thursday April 15 


The final exam will take place during the final exam period at the time and place specified in the Schedule of Classes.


Makeup exams will only be given for those with a valid documented excuse (doctor's note, accident report, funeral notice, 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 you can, by any means possible.  I will be very flexible for those with valid excuses who have given timely notification.


Homework: Regular homework is assigned to try to insure that you are keeping up with the course material and to act as a measure of your understanding of the material.  If you are having difficulty with the homework this is a sure sign that you should seek some assistance.  Students are encouraged to work together on homework but simply using another’s solutions will not be helpful. We will be using WebAssign to assign and grade the homework problems on the web. However, the WebAssign grading is just to aid you; it will not be included in your final grade. Instructions will be available soon. The following guidelines will apply:


        Approximately 8 problems will be posted at the website each Thursday and will be due at midnight the following Thursday. You should work those problems to completion and submit the answers on the web. You will be informed immediately if your answer is correct or incorrect and will be allowed 4 retrys (a total of 5 attempts) to get the problem right. If you still do not get the correct answer that is a sign you should seek help.


P273H students will have an additional problem each week; this problem will not be on WebAssign and

will be due in class the next Friday( eight days later ) or in my office by 5pm that day. This problem

 will typically be similar to the more difficult ones in the text.


Quizzes: Each Friday there will be a quiz based on the homework assigned the week before. No quiz on exam weeks. First quiz is Feb 6.  Lowest quiz grade dropped.


Discussion:  Discussion meets once a week on Friday for the purpose of discussing homework problems, reviewing important concepts from the lectures, and administering the quizzes. On occasion, Friday class will be used for lecture but the quiz will remain on Friday.



Help: Help in understanding the concepts and solving problems can be obtained in a variety of ways.  If you have a question or any difficulty, try to take advantage of all the available resources. These include:


   1.  discussions with me before or after class or in my office - please do not be shy about seeing me;

   2.  your discussion section, which is designed for just this activity;

   3.  meetings with the TA.


Bulletin Board: Please check every class day. I will communicate important information there or post solutions.


Grade:  Your grade will be based on the following components:


Two in-class exams                             45%

Final exam                                            35%

Quizzes                                                20%                                        


All grades are subject to "curving" and there is no set correspondence between numbers and letters.  In general, a letter grade is only associated with the final course grade, but I can provide you an estimate of how I think you are doing, if requested.  Active class participation will improve your chances of obtaining the best letter grade given your aggregate numerical total.







           Subject                                              Chapter               



Oscillations                                                      14                              

Traveling Waves                                              15                                       

Superposition and Standing Waves                   16                              

RC and RL circuits                                                    25.6, 28.8                            

AC circuits                                                      29                                       

Maxwell’s equations and EM Waves                 30                                                 

Light                                                                31                              

Geometric optics                                             32                                       

Interference and diffraction                               33