Physics 102: Introductory Physics II (section 2), Spring 2011

Bryn Mawr College, Department of Physics
Physics 102: Introductory Physics II (section 2), Spring 2011
Lecturer: Xuemei (May) Cheng
Office: 343 Park Science Center
Office phone: (610) 526 - 5357
Lecture (243 Park Science Center): 9-10am M, W, F.
Laboratory (Park Science Center): instructed by Prof. Mark Matlin (
PLI sessions (243 Park Science Center): 8-9pm T, Th, led by Leigh Schaefer (
Office hours: 12-1pm M, W, F and 4-5pm Th, or by Email appointment.
College Physics: A Strategic Approach, 1st ed., Knight, Jones, & Field.
Student workbooks and other texts/materials are on reserve in the Science Library.
Course description:
This second semester of the Physics 101‐102 sequence will cover a wider range of topics, but in
correspondingly less depth, than was the case in the first session. This session will begin with an exploration
of oscillations, waves, and optics, followed by an extended investigation of electricity and magnetism. The
last part of the semester will be spent (time permitting) looking at a variety of topics in modern physics,
including quantum theory, relativity and nuclear physics. (Specific course topics are listed in the preliminary
course outline below.)
The good news about this semester of physics is that you’ve already learned (in Physics 101 or its
equivalent) many of the fundamental concepts that you’ll need to understand the new material, and this
material probably will be more interesting than that of Physics 101. The bad news is that some of the
mathematics may seem a bit more sophisticated since some of the systems we’ll look at will be fully
three‐dimensional in a way that the purely mechanical systems you’ve studied previously were not. So,
you’ll probably feel at least as challenged as you did in Physics 101 to master the subject matter of this
semester. The course will make heavy use of algebra, geometry and trigonometry, but no calculus.
Student learning goals:
• You will gain a knowledge of the principles and methods of physics in oscillations and waves, light
and optics, electricity and magnetism, and some modern physics topics;
• You will understand how those principles and methods relate to reality;
• You will be able to apply and communicate the principles and methods of physics;
• You will develop and appreciate scientific and analytical thinking.
Blackboard website:
To help save trees, I will limit the paper version handouts. Instead I will post announcements, reading
assignments, homework assignments and solutions, exam solutions and other information on the Blackboard
course website. It is your responsibility to check the Blackboard website after and before each class
meeting. This Blackboard website also aims provide an interactive communication platform for this class.
You can also post your questions, comments and feedback on the discussion board.
Course format:
This course emphasizes active learning in the belief that "you learn by doing" and that you can't really
understand some concept unless you can apply it and discuss it. With this in mind, the course has several
important features:
• Reading: The reading assignment for each class will be posted on the Blackboard website. You are
expected to have thoroughly read all of the assigned material before coming to each class meeting.
You need to submit your reading notes at the beginning of each class meeting. These notes can be
used for your exams. The reading notes will count 5% toward your final grade. No late reading note
will be counted toward your grade.
• Lecture: The class time will be spent bringing the material in your textbook to life through a
combination of lecturing and active-learning activities, such as pair-sharing, group discussion, and
demonstration when appropriate. To get most out of the class, it will be very important for you to
stay on top of the reading assignment and participate actively in the class activities. Please remember
to bring your “choice card” for each class.
• Laboratory: The laboratory is run independently, but is a required part of this course. You must
satisfactorily perform 11 experiments in order to pass this course. Please note that if you fail to meet
this requirement, you will fail the course. If you were not in lab during the fall semester and you
haven’t contacted Prof. Matlin about lab, you should speak with him as soon as possible.
• PLI: To help you gain additional perspectives on the course materials as well as additional practice
thinking about physics and solving problems, PLI (Peer-Led Instruction) sessions will be offered
twice weekly by physics major Leigh Schaefer. PLI sessions are voluntary, but they are strongly
• Homework: Homework has three main purposes: (1) Gives you practice applying concepts to
problems, which leads to deeper understanding; (2) Provides both you and me with feedback about
how well you are mastering material; (3) Helps you develop your technical communication skills.
Homework will be assigned weekly and will be due in class on Wednesdays. Late homework will
NOT be accepted unless prearranged with the instructor and only for rather good reasons (i.e. sick,
family emergency…). You are encouraged to discuss homework problems with your classmates, but
you must write homework problems up independently. Collaboration with others on writing up of
homework problems will be considered a violation of the Honor Code. Correctly showing the
detailed steps about how to get the final answer is necessary to get full credit for problem solving in
homework. Since physics is conceptual and often visual, it is appropriate to write about concepts or
procedures in concise and precise words and to draw pictures or diagrams.
• Exams: There will be two 50-minute in-class midterm exams on February 14 and March 23. The
final exam will be a 3-hour self-scheduled exam during the final exam period. All the exams are
closed-book with your own reading notes. No equation sheet will be provided by me. You will finish
the exams all on your own (BMC Honor Code) and turn in the finished exams as well as the reading
notes you used for the exams.
• Team project (wiki pages and mini-conference): Collaborations and presentations are important in
any field. The team project including wiki page and mini-conference is designed to give students the
opportunity to practice collaboration and presentation skills. Three students will team up and study
one topic selected from the bracketed sections in the below course outline or any topic related to this
course. Each team will create a Wiki page on the selected topic and give an oral presentation on that
topic. You will also comment on other’s wiki-pages and presentations. More detailed instructions
will be posted on Blackboard.
• Reading: 5%
• Homework: 25% total
• Midterm exams: 30% total (15% for each of the two exams)
• Final Exam: 20%
• Mini-conference: 15%
• Wiki page: 5%
Course outline:
The following is a tentative outline of the course; it might be adjusted depending on our progress and
your feedbacks. Sections in ( ) are just to be skimmed and are possible topics for your wiki pages and miniconference.
Week of
Jan. 17
14:1-4, (5-7)
Introduction; Oscillations; Resonance
Jan. 24
15:1-2, (3), 4-7; 16:1-2
Traveling waves; Superposition of waves
Jan. 31
16:3-4, (5), 6-7; 17:1-3
Superposition; Physical optics
Feb. 7
17:4-6; 18:1-4
Physical optics; Geometric optics
Feb. 14
18:5-7; 19: (1-7)
Geometric optics; Optical instruments
Feb. 21
Electric fields and forces
Feb. 28
21:1-5, (6), 7-9
Electrical potential; Capacitors
Mar. 7
Fun, Relaxation!
Mar. 14
Current; Resistance; EMF
Mar. 21
23:1-7, (9)
DC circuits; Capacitors in series
Mar. 28
24:1-7, (8)
Magnetic field and forces
Apr. 4
EM induction; EM waves
Apr. 11
Special relativity
28:1-7, (8); 30: (1-7)
Quantum mechanics; Nuclear physics
Wiki pages due
Apr. 25
Apr.30May 3
It is your show time!
Review Period
Final Exam Period
Labs begin
Exam 1 [Mon.]
Spring Break
Exam 2 [Wed.]
Final Exam
Students who think they may need accommodations in this course because of the impact of a
learning, physical, or psychological disability are encouraged to meet with me privately early in the
semester to discuss their concerns. Students should also contact Stephanie Bell, Coordinator of Access
Services (610-526-7351 or, as soon as possible, to verify their eligibility for
reasonable academic accommodations. Early contact will help to avoid unnecessary inconvenience and