Phys104 - How Things Work
University of Maryland, College Park
Fall 2013

Professor: Ted Jacobson
Room 4115 (Physics Bldg.), 301-405-6020,
Office hours: After class, or by appointment.
Class meetings: TuTh 12:30-1:45pm, Room PHY 0405
Tutoring session: TBA
Grader: Adnan Choudhary,

Textbook: How Things Work, 3rd Edition, by Louis A. Bloomfield (N.B. NOT the 4th or 5th Editions.)
John Wiley and Sons, Inc. ISBN: 978-0-471-46886-8
Textbook companion website (4th edition):
Note: VERY cheap copies are available used at

Course web site :   Homework assignments, class notes, supplements, and solutions will all be posted
at the course web site, .

Piazza course web forum
: : Please use piazza for questions on course material.

:   I will use e-mail and Piazza to communicate with the class. I can often be reached at night or on weekends by email.
Students are responsible for making sure I have their correct email address and checking their email daily. Important messages
will sometimes be sent to the class by email.
You may submit questions about the homework to Piazza and I will usually answer
very quickly, often even at surprising times. Also your classmates may answer your questions or discuss the problems.

Homework:  The purpose of the homework if for you to engage with the material. This is how you will master it,
and it will help you discover what you don't yet fully understand. Discussing physics helps understanding.
You are encouraged to discuss the homework in our Piazza forum, with fellow students, with our grader/tutor, or with Dr. Jacobson.
However, what you turn in should be your own answers. Beware: if you just copy answers, you won't be well prepared for the exams!

+  Usually assigned once weekly.
+  Must be turned in at the beginning of class on the due date (not to the grader).
+  Please make sure you include your name and the homework and course numbers, and staple the pages together.
+  Late homework accepted only under dire circumstances: if you know it will be impossible to turn in an assignment 
    on time you must discuss this with me in advance of the due date. Medical reasons accepted only with a doctor's note.

Exams:  Two mid-terms and a final exam (Thursday, May 16, 1:30pm-3:30pm).  The final will just be a third "mid-term".
If you know ahead of time that you will miss an exam you must notify me before the exam. For emergencies, I will
accomodate those with valid, documented excuses and who have given me timely notification.

Religious Observances: Students are responsible for notifying the instructor of any intended absences for religious observances
within the first two weeks of the semester.

Grading: The course grade will be based on the homework and exams. The lowest two homework scores will be dropped.
The relative weights are adjusted to maximize your total score as follows: either 25% for hw and 15,25,35% for your exams
(in order of increasing exam score), or 15% for hw and 15,35,35% for exams. The letter  grades corresponding to numerical
scores will be determined after reviewing the class performance as a whole, consistent with the grade definitions indicating
mastery of the material: A: excellent, B: good, C: adequate,  D: marginal. The exams are "curved" so that the letters generally
fall close to the standard ranges: A: 100-90%, B: 89-80%, C: 79-70%, D: 69-60%, possibly stretched a little on the lower ends.

Tips for doing well :

Academic honesty:  The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized  Code of Academic Integrity,
administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate
and graduate students.  As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course.  It is very important
for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the
Code of  Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit

The University has adopted an Honor Pledge, which is a statement undergraduate and graduate students are asked to write
by hand and sign on examinations, papers, or other academic assignments not specifically exempted by the instructor.
The Pledge reads: "I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this
assignment/examination." In this course it is assumed that all students have entered the University agreeing to the
honor principle which would apply in general to all campus activities, so usually no specific statement is required.