Physics 306: Elementary Physics Methods (Fall 1995)

Schedule: Mon, Wed, Fri, 4:00 - 5:00 PM --- PAI 4.42 --- Unique # 53240

Instructor: M.W. Choptuik --- Office: RLM 9.208A --- Office Hours: Tue, Thu 10:00-11:30
Phone: 471-1541 --- E-mail:
WWW Home Page:

Grader: Somdatta Bhattacharya --- Office: TBA --- Office Hours: TBA

Tutorial Sessions:

Text: College Physics (4th Edition) by R.A. Serway & J.S. Faughn (Saunders, 1995). In addition, you should check out the various ancillaries available to you (such as the Student Solutions Manual and Study Guide). I also recommend the Schaum's Outline series, in particular Basic Mathematics with Applications by H. Kruglak and J. Moore (McGraw-Hill, 1973).

Overview: This course is intended for engineering majors who need preparation for Physics 303K. Enrollment is restricted to engineering students who have not taken high school physics, who have a weak mathematics background, or who score less that 600 on the College Board Achievement Test in Mathematics Level I. No prior physics is required. The emphasis of the course will be on problem solving: there will be weekly homework assignments, three in-class (1 hour) tests and a comprehensive final exam. My intention is to cover the following Chapters of the text: 1-10, 13. See below for a syllabus.

Grades, Exams and Homework

Your grade will depend solely on your performance on weekly homework assignments, in-class tests and the final exam. Only your best two marks on the three in-class tests will count towards your final mark. There will be no make-up exams under any circumstances. The computation of your class-grade will be based on the following weighting: The conversion of your class-grade to a final letter grade will depend, in part, on overall class performance. For an average class, 15-25% A's, 25-30% B's, 25-30% C's, and the remainder D's and F's should be expected.

Tests and Exams: The three in-class tests will be given:

Note that the third test is now scheduled for Monday, December 4.

Recall that only your best two grades in the three tests will count towards your final grade.

The compulsory, comprehensive final exam will be held on

Friday, December 15, 1995 --- 7:00-10:00 PM
For both the tests and the finals you will be allowed to bring into the exam one 8.5 x 11.0 sheet of paper with anything written on it, as well as a calculator. No other reference materials may be used in tests or the final exam. Grades for the tests are final after 5:00 PM of the day on which the next test or exam is scheduled. Grades on the final exam are final after January 31, 1996.

Homework: This course will use computer-generated and graded homework similar to that used in Physics 303K and 303L. Details regarding the use of the computerized Homework Service can be found here. A hard copy of the instructions for using the Homework Service will also be provided to you. For each homework assigment, you must either:

I will generally tell you when each assignment is ready to be picked up. Homework will usually be due within a week of when it is assigned, and late work will not be accepted under any circumstance.

Other Information

Tutorial Sessions: From mid-October (October 17) to the end of classes, there will be tutorial sessions held as follows: These tutorials will be problem-solving, practice sessions. You will solve problems at the board with, when necessary, the assistance of the instructor. Bring all old homework and tests to these sessions.

Other Help: The physics department has coaches (physics graduate students) available on the fifth level of RLM from 9:00 AM through 4:00 PM daily. Note that the coaches are there to help you do your work yourself, not to do it for you. Go to them first; if you aren't satisfied with their help, see me during office hours. If you cannot make my office hours, telephone or e-mail me for an appointment.

Calculators: The work in this course requires the use of a calculator. The calculator must be able to do the usual addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; and it must have the capability of taking square roots, finding y to the power x, and of computing the following functions: exponential, logarithm (to bases e and 10), sine, cosine, tangent, arcsine, arccosine, arctangent, factorial. You should be able to use the calculator rapidly and accurately. It should have at least 7 digit accuracy. You may use a more elaborate calculator if you like, or a computer, but computers (even laptops) won't be allowed in the exams.


   Monday               Wednesday              Friday         Homework Due    FTD

                     30 Aug: Chap 1          1 Sep: Chap 1
                         Introduction           Introduction
 4 Sep:               6 Sep: Chap 2          8 Sep: Chap 2     --- H1            601
    LABOR DAY            One-Dim Motion         One-Dim Motion
11 Sep: Chap 2       13 Sep: Chap 3         15 Sep: Chap 3     --- H2            602
    One-Dim Motion       Vectors                Vectors
18 Sep: Chap 3       20 Sep: Chap 3         22 Sep: Chap 4     --- H3            603
    Vectors              Two-Dim Motion         Laws of Motion
25 Sep: Chap 4       27 Sep: Chap 4         29 Sep: Chap 5     --- H4            604
    Laws of Motion       Laws of Motion         Work/Energy  
 2 Oct: HOUR TEST 1   4 Oct: Chap 5          6 Oct: Chap 5     --- H5            605
    Chaps 1,2,3,4        Work/Energy            Work/Energy
 9 Oct: Chap 6       11 Oct: Chap 6         13 Oct: Chap 6     --- H6            606
    Momentum             Collisions             Collisions
16 Oct: Chap 7       18 Oct: Chap 7         20 Oct: Chap 7                          
    Circular Motion      Circular Motion        Circular Motion
23 Oct: Chap 7       25 Oct: Chap 8         27 Oct: Chap 8     --- H7 (Mon 4am)  607
    Circular Motion      Rotations              Rotations
30 Oct: Chap 8        1 Nov: Chap 9          3 Nov: HOUR TEST 2 -- H8 (Mon 4am)  608
    Rotations            Solids/Fluids         Chaps 5,6,7,8
 6 Nov: Chap 9        8 Nov: Chap 9         10 Nov: Chap 10                           
    Solids/Fluids        Solids/Fluids          Thermal Physics
13 Nov: Chap 10      15 Nov: Chap 10        17 Nov: Chap 13    --- H9 (Mon 4am)  609
    Thermal Physics      Thermal Physics        Thermal Physicss
20 Nov: Chap 13      22 Nov: Chap 13        24 Nov:            --- H10 (Mon 4am) 610
    Vibrations/Waves     Vibrations/Waves       THANKSGIVING   
27 Nov: Chap 15      29 Nov: Chap 15         1 Dec: Review 
    Vibrations/Waves     Vibrations/Waves       Chaps 9,10,13
 4 Dec: HOUR TEST 3   6 Dec: Review          8 Dec: Review     --- H11 (Mon 4am) 611
    Chaps 9,10,13                               Class Evaluation
      15 DEC:  COMPREHENSIVE FINAL EXAM  7:00-10:00 PM (Chaps 1-10, 13)