Physics 101: Major Concepts of Physics Fall
Instructor: Prof. Peter Saulson, email@example.com, 3-5994,
Physics Bldg. Rm. 263-4.
Co-Instructor: Prof. Jen Schwarz,
firstname.lastname@example.org, 3-3887, Physics Bldg. Rm. 215
Course Secretary: Ms. Arlene Johnston, Physics Bldg. Rm. 111,
PHY 101 is an introductory course in physics. The course
a survey of introductory physics and its application to other sciences,
around the theme of energy.
Energy is important because there is a law of nature
called the 1st Law of Thermodynamics) that states that the energy of
isolated system always remains the same, neither increasing nor
This is an astonishingly powerful idea. Energy is perhaps the single
important unifying idea in physics, and it is the reason that physics
throughout chemistry, biology, engineering, economics, geography,
and exercise science. By exploring the concept of energy, we can follow
chain of connections from physics out into the world at large.
No prior knowledge of physics is required, although
previous knowledge may help you to see certain concepts in a richer
PHY 101 is on the Basic List in Natural Sciences and
Mathematics of the Liberal Arts Core, and satisfies the requirement for
a course with laboratory.
Course Fee Rationale
To support the laboratory, you have been charged a course
of $25. This fee helps pay for (i) handouts and lab manuals which are
to you, and (ii) supplies, small pieces of apparatus, and maintenance
Our goal in PHY 101 is for you to learn
essential about how the world works. More specifically, you should
to learn the following:
Numbers carry a lot of the meaning of the concept of
energy. We won't do complicated mathematics, but we will speak the
language of numbers.
You will need to be fluent in the use and interpretation of graphs, and
will need to memorize and use a few simple formulas.
- What are the basic objects out of which the world is made, what
govern their behavior, and how are the parts related to one another?
will take us through some high points of mechanics, electricity and
magnetism, chemical energetics, thermodynamics, ecology,
physiology, earth science, and power engineering.
- What are the key numbers that describe the scale of important
the world? By the end of the course, you should know how much
you use each day, how much it costs, and why; you should also be able
express (in the same units of measurement) how much you eat and why.
- How does the concept of energy enable a unified understanding of
a wide range of subjects?
- What does it mean to have a scientific
understanding of the world? Are there limits to scientific
The text for PHY 101 is Energy:
Physical, Environmental, and Social Impact, by Gordon J. Aubrecht.
Lectures will meet in Stolkin Auditorium in the Physics
Building on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:00 a.m. until 9:20
a.m. Most of the lectures will be given by Prof. Saulson, and the rest
will be given by Prof. Schwarz.
Most weeks, your studio section will meet. In PHY
101, studios serve the function of a combined laboratory and
recitation. This is a key time to go over difficult concepts, work
with the key ideas of the course, and discuss the homework. In other
studio time is designed to solidify your understanding.
Each week there will be a homework assignment. Working the
problems is one of the most important activities of PHY 101, since that
where you clarify concepts and test your understanding. The homework
will be due each week at your studio, and your work will be graded.
will be drawn to a very large extent from the homework problems, so
the homework each week is also the best way to prepare for exams.
At the end of each week's studio, you will also hand in
to a few questions based on the lab activity of that week's meeting.
is the other most important learning activity of the course. It will be
Mid-term and Final Examinations
There will be two short mid-term exams, held in lecture on
days given in the Course Calendar. No make up exams will be given. If
have to miss a mid-term exam for a legitimate reason, you will need to
an oral examination with Prof. Saulson.
The Final Exam will be held on Thursday December 14 from
12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
No make-up Final Exam of any form will be offered for any reason.
Every member of the staff of PHY 101 is committed to
giving you every opportunity to succeed in the course. If you need
help, please speak
to one of us. We would also be happy to discuss any course topic in
Prof. Saulson will hold weekly office hours on Tuesdays
from 9:30 - 11:00 a.m. in Room 263-4, Physics Building. If those
turn out to be inconvenient for you, please send an e-mail message to
or call 3-5994 for an appointment.
Prof. Schwarz will offer weekly Problem Sessions on
Mondays and Tuesdays from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m., at a location to be
The other members of the course
will announce their Physics Clinic hours shortly.
Ms. Arlene Johnston is available in Room 111, Physics
Building, from 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. weekdays. She is the person to
see for signatures on add/drop forms, or for other administrative
matters. If she is ever unavailable,
please go to the Physics Department Main Office, Room 201 Physics
Grades will be calculated based on your scores on various
activities, in the following proportions:
Mid-term exam #1: 15%; mid-term exam #2: 25%; Final Exam 35%; homework
lab reports 15%.
Your course grade will be determined from your total score
the end of the semester. The grade limits will not be stricter than the
60% for a C-, 80% for a B-, and 90% for an A-. More detailed breakdowns
be determined at the end of the semester.
A note about working with friends
Working with friends can be very helpful in learning a
difficult subject like physics. We encourage you to find other
classmates with whom to study. However, when it comes time to write up
your homework, you must work on your own. You should never copy anybody
else's work, or even paraphrase it. We will be strict about enforcing