Instructor: | Professor Henry Greenside | hsg@phy.duke.edu | 919-660-2548 | Physics 097 |
Teaching Assistant: | Mr. Kevin Holway | kevin.holway@duke.edu | 919-660-2682 | Physics 248 |
The single two-hour discussion section will meet on Thursdays from 1:15-3:15 PM in Physics 047. This section is an informal opportunity for students to collaborate in groups on problems and to get help from other students and from the instructor. Most discussion sections will finish with a 30-minute quiz on material covered since the previous quiz.
Note that the first Physics 162 class will be the discussion section on Thursday, January 8, at 1:15 PM. (The first day of spring classes on Wednesday, January 7, is actually a Monday schedule because of the Martin Luther King holiday on January 19.)
Note: if you got a 5 in the AP Physics C electricity and magnetism exam and have taken multivariate calculus or more advanced math courses, you should meet with Prof. Greenside no later than the end of the first week of classes to discuss whether it will be worth your while to take Physics 162. The key issue is whether you will be prepared to take Physics 264L ("Modern Physics") if you don't take 162; 264 is too hard if a student knows only high school AP physics C and high school AP calculus. In the past, most student have found taking 162 worthwhile.
I expect all students to be respectful of each other and of the class. Students should arrive before the beginning of each class and discussion section, and be settled in so that each class can begin on time. You should not start to leave until the end of class.
Cellphones, laptops, and tablets are not to be used during class unless Prof. Greenside gives you permission to do. These devices are highly distracting and substantially weaken the learning experience, not just for a student using one of these devices but for the other members of the class and for the teacher. You are allowed to use your laptops or tablets (but not cellphones) in the discussion sections, but please stay focused on discussing and solving problems.
Various announcements related to the course will be posted on the course Piazza webpage. Piazza is an elegant web-based way for the instructor and for the class to post information, to ask questions and to help one another. For example, if you have a question about the course ("What do I do if one of the books in the bookstore is not yet available?" or "What will be on this week's quiz?" or "I didn't understand one of the arguments given in class, here is where I am confused...", or "I am stuck on Problem 3 of Assignment 4, how do I get started?"), please post your question on Piazza so that other students, the TA, or Prof. Greenside can provide suggestions or comments and everyone can benefit from the discussion. Anonymous posting on Piazza is allowed and encouraged.
I do make one strict request regarding Piazza, which is please do not post detailed solutions to any homework problem. This will short circuit the creative process of figuring out how to solve the problem, which is an essential part of learning how to do physics.
Please read the assigned textbook sections actively. This means you that you should have a pen or pencil in hand with lots of blank paper, and that you should work through the details of the examples discussed in the textbook as you read the book. Also take notes of things you don't understand so you can ask questions in class or post questions on Piazza.
Component | Percent of Total Grade |
Final exam | 35% |
Midterm exam | 25% |
Weekly quizzes | 25% |
Online pre-class quizzes | 5% |
Homework assignments | 5% |
Class participation for clicker questions | 5% |
Here are descriptions of these different course components:
These exams will be closed-book and no electronic devices of any kind will be allowed, including calculators. The midterm will cover all material up to the date of the exam, the final exam will cover material over the entire semester, although with a greater emphasis on the material discussed after the midterm. Questions will be based on examples discussed in class, on examples discussed in the text, on quiz problems, and on homework problems. With a few exceptions, relevant equations and data will be provided with the exams so you will not need to memorize such information. Instead, your goal during the exams will be to demonstrate your conceptual and technical understanding of key topics.
Most weeks, there will be an in-class closed-book 30-minute quiz consisting of some true/false questions, some multiple-choice questions, and some questions that require writing in the form of calculation or verbal explanation. Each quiz will test material discussed since the previous quiz, but are cumulative in that later problems will require skills that you have learned earlier in the semester.
Your lowest two quiz grades will automatically be dropped before determining the total quiz grade for the semester. Because of this policy, you do not need an excuse or permission to skip a discussion section, for example if you are out of town because of some Duke or family event. However, you should try to take all the quizzes since they will help you to understand and to appreciate the material.
There will be approximately ten quizzes over the semester so each quiz will contribute about 3% of your overall grade. This means that you should not feel stress for any of the quizzes; even flunking a quiz or two will have a minor effect on your overall grade. Instead, you should view the weekly quizzes as an opportunity to help you assess and improve your understanding of the course material.
Each week before Wednesday's class, you will need to answer online (via the MasteringPhysics software) some brief mainly conceptual online questions about the assigned reading. The purpose of these questions is to encourage you to come to class prepared with some minimum understanding of the material so you can solve problems together in groups, also to provide some pre-class information to the instructor about what in the reading you found difficult to understand, so that the instructor can spend time in class helping you and others out.
The pre-class questions are graded in this way: for any given week, you get an A if you answer at least 80% of the questions by the designated date and time, whether your answers are right or wrong, otherwise you get zero credit for that week.
There will be a homework assignment about once per week. You will hand
in your assignment by putting it in the Physics 162 slot in the
tall wood set of homework bins opposite the hall from
Rm 141.
Note that
Assignments are intended to take from four to six hours per week to complete, not including reading the text. If an assignment takes more than six hours, something has gone wrong so please post a message on Piazza that the assignment is too long (you can do so anonymously if you like). Prof. Greenside can then email the class about how to reduce the duration of the assignment, e.g., by dropping parts of a problem or an entire problem. You will also have a chance to work on homework problems in groups during each week's discussion section.
Your weekly homework assignments are one of the two most important parts of Physics 162 (the other part being the weekly quizzes) in that this is where you develop and improve your physics intuition and problem solving skills. To get the most out of each assignment, you should try to solve as many problems as possible on your own, before getting help from others. Your creative struggle to figure out what to do, including going down some wrong paths, is the key way that you learn physics and get better at solving problems. You should also try to solve as many homework problems as possible before each week's discussion section, this will help you get more out of these sections.
For most problems, you should work symbolically as much as possible and postpone substituting numerical values of parameters until after you have found a simplified concise mathematical answer.
Since assignments can take up to six hours to complete, it is not wise to start an assignment the night before it is due, that will not give you enough time to think about the problems in a creative and productive way. So please start working on each assignment a few days before the due date. Starting early will also give you time to get help if you need help.
Your lowest homework grade will be automatically dropped before determining your final homework grade for the semester. Either don't do one of the assignments or just let your lowest homework grade be automatically ignored. This also means that you don't have to ask permission or get an excuse to skip an assignment, e.g., if you are traveling out of town because of a Duke or family event.
Since it will not be practical for the grader to grade all the problems of all the students (that would be over 200 problems per week), the grader will grade only two to three homework problems for each assignment. (You will not know ahead of time which problems will be graded.) Although not all problems will be graded, you should make sure to figure out how to solve all the problems so that you will be prepared for the weekly quiz and for the midterm and final exams. Detailed answers will be posted for each assignment after its due date, and you should work through the solutions to make sure you have mastered the ideas and techniques.
You are not allowed to get homework answers from other students or from the Internet where complete solutions for the Knight text (and nearly all other undergraduate textbooks) can be found. This will be regarded as cheating which has serious consequences at Duke. In turn, you are not allowed to give complete answers to your classmates (including not posting solutions on Piazza). If a classmate asks for help, give a suggestion about what to do. You will learn much more if you struggle creatively to solve the problems on your own or by discussing them with your classmates or with the TA or with myself. Also keep in mind that 85% of your course grade will be based on quizzes, the midterm, and final exam for which you will not have access to your textbook, to the Internet, to a computer, or to your classmates.
You are allowed to collaborate with your classmates on an assignment, and I officially encourage collaboration. (This is realistic, scientists collaborate all the time in research.) However, you must write up your homework on your own, in your own words, and with your own understanding. Please also acknowledge explicitly in writing at the beginning of your assignment anyone who gave you substantial help, e.g. classmates or the TA or myself. (Again, scientists usually acknowledge in their published articles colleagues that helped in completing some particular research.) Failure to write your homeworks in your own words (especially copying answers from a downloaded answer book) or failure to acknowledge help when given may lead to severe academic penalties so please play by the rules.
When writing up your assignments, please pay attention to details:
Discussion and answering of questions during class via the iclickers is an important pedagogical part of the course and so part of your grade depends on your attending class and answering the clicker questions. The grade for this part of the course is binary: if you answer at least 75% of the interactive questions over the semester, you get an A for this part of the course, otherwise you get an F. It does not matter if you answer the questions correctly or not, just that you are participating in the class.
Note that you will register your iclicker2 electronically early on in the semester and so your answers will be associated with your name. Also, answering 75% of the questions allows you considerable freedom to miss several classes without penalizing this part of your grade.
Jan 8, Thu | First class (discussion section) | |
Jan 21, Wed | Drop/Add ends at 5 PM | |
Feb 25, Wed | Midterm exam | |
Mar 9-13 | Spring break, no classes | |
Apr 22, Wed | Last 162 class | |
Apr 23-26 | Undergraduate reading period | |
Apr 29, Wed | Final exam, 2-5 PM |
A list of topics by dates is given on the 162-course schedule webpage.
This book will be on reserve in Perkins library, and has many excellent insights about electricity and magnetism. This book especially excels in explaining how electric and magnetic fields are related through Einstein's theory of special relativity. A particular strength of the third edition is that it has many fully solved problems, which is great for increasing your understanding and for preparing for quizzes and exams.
You should dip into the Feynman Lectures from time to time to supplement the classes and Knight text. Feynman, a Nobel-Prize winning theoretical physicist, writes with unusual clarity, enthusiasm, and insight. Note that Volume I has just a few chapters on Physics 162 material (on optics, electromagnetic radiation, interference, and diffraction) while Volume II is mainly about electric and magnetic phenomena.
For those of you want to try more worked examples, look at any of the popular calculus-based intro physics books, e.g., the ones by Young and Freedman and by Tipler and Mosca. I would also encourage you to purchase an inexpensive second-hand copy of one of these books, so that you have a second source of reading and of worked problems.
There is also a growing number of online resources useful for Physics 162, e.g, courses available through Coursera and EdX. Some other examples are: