Atoms to Galaxies

PHY 102 Section 3/4

Fall 2017

Instructor: Mr. Raymond Zich

Office: 310 Moulton Hall

Office hours: Tuesday 11:00 am (after class) and Thursday 9:00 am (before class)


Telephone: 438-7009

Class Meetings: MLT 214 TR 9:35 — 10:50 pm

Lab Meetings: Room: MLT 202/204 Lab room hours: TWRF 10:00 am — 4:00 pm (TA Ms. Amber Sammons)

Open Lab: "Arrange" means come to the lab and complete the scheduled Activity during open hours. No appointment necessary.

Texts: Physics Matters, James Trefil & Robert Hazen, required

In Search of Schrodinger's Cat, John Gribbin, required

Hands-on Activities Manual, J. Ansher & S. Goderya, required

Needed for class: scientific calculator, Turning Point Response Card


The aim of this course is to help you to develop a measure of scientific literacy. We begin by exploring what science is, and examining the history of science. We continue by looking at classical topics in physics, and will finish by looking at modern physics: relativity and quantum mechanics. This course is designed to provide you with an active learning experience, so your participation through exercises and the Hands-on Activities plays a critical role in the course.


The class will consist of
Lecture, in which we will cover material from the text and supplemental material. The lectures will include examples, demonstrations, videos, material from the Internet, and discussions. There will be occasional in-class quizzes or activities, so reading the appropriate material before the lecture is strongly suggested, and will make the lectures more meaningful. Ipods, cell phones, and laptop computers are a distraction, so, as a courtesy to others, please leave these devices off during class. During each class period we will cover a lot of material, and some material presented will not be part of the textbook. I will occasionally make announcements of changes to the class schedule or requirements in lecture. For these reasons attendance is required. If you miss a class you cannot make up any exams, or in-class activities, and it is your responsibility to get class notes and announcements for that day.
Labs These are the Hands-on Activities, in which you will complete and write up activities related to the course topics. There are ten laboratory activities, plus other activities as announced. Your attendance at lab is required, and you must bring your lab manual to do the the Activities. Each lab must be completed during the week it is scheduled. The schedule is on this syllabus. Your Lab report must be completed and submitted in lab. You may not submit a Lab report late or make up a missed lab. Atoms to Galaxies has an open lab, which means that during the hours the lab rooms are open you may choose your own time to come in and complete the activity. The Lab rooms are Moulton 202 and 204, and the room(s) are are open TWRF 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The labs are not open on Monday. Please straighten up your lab station when you are finished.
When no experimental laboratory activities are scheduled other activities such as videos may be scheduled.


There will be three exams and a comprehensive final exam. The lowest exam score of the first three will be dropped; however, you must take the final exam. The final exam score will not be dropped. Missing two exams or the final exam is grounds for failing the course. Each exam will cover material from the book, lectures, internet reading, and the homework. Questions will be split between conceptual and math-based problems. Pay close attention to the examples, Tutorial Quizzes, and the end-of-chapter questions/problems. Exams will be closed book and closed notes. No Ipods, cell phones, or devices other than a calculator will be allowed during the exams. Exams (except the final) will generally be 50 minutes.
There will be homework assignments and Reading Quizzes that will be handled online through Expert TA (see below). No homework scores will be dropped.
There will be unscheduled quizzes and activities in class.
There will be ten laboratory activities during the semester (and perhaps additional activities). The equipment changes from week to week, so no makeups are allowed, but your lowest lab score will be dropped.
I do not assign letter grades to individual assignments or exams. Letter grades will be estimated for Academic Progress Alert (APA) grades, and assigned at the end of the course according to the scale below.
There is no extra credit in this course.

Credit will be divided as follows:


Three one-hour exams






Activities & Quizzes





90 % and above


80 - 89.9 %


70 - 79.9 %


60 - 69.9 %


below 60 %


Course Topics, Reading, and Hands-on Activities



Hands-on Activity

Aug 21 - 25

What is Science?


Aug 28 - Sept 1

Early Science-Astronomy


Sept 4 - 8

Intoduction to Mechanics

Act. 1: Graphical Analysis

Sept 11 - 15

Newton's Laws

Act. 2: Computer Interface

Sept 18 - 22
Sept 21

Exam 1

Act. 3: Free Fall

Sept 25 - 29

Work and Energy


Oct 2 - 6

Temperature and Heat

Act. 4: Projectile Motion

Oct 9 - 13
Oct 12

Waves/E & M
Exam 2

Act. 5: Newton's Second Law

Oct 16 - 20

E & M

Act. 6: Conservation of Energy

Oct 23 - 27



Oct 29 - Nov 3


Act. 7: Coulomb's Law

Nov 6 - 10


Act. 8: Wave Addition

Nov 13 - 17
Nov 16

Quantum Mechanics
Exam 3

Act. 9: Wave Nature of Light

Nov 20 - 24

Thanksgiving Vacation


Nov 27 - Dec 1

Quantum Mechanics

Act. 10: Light from Atoms

Dec 4 - 8

Quantum Mechanics



Final MLT 214


Expert TA Login:

The best way to learn physics is by working problems and answering questions. To this end you will be asked to complete homework assignments which will be handled online by Expert TA. This is a Web-based system. You can do the work anytime and anywhere you have access to the Internet. Start your homework assignments early, as I am not responsible for computer or connectivity problems (server down, Resnet down, slow access, or interruptions due to heavy use). To sign up for and use Expert TA, go here and register using the Student Class Code 3BF92C-1M0
Registration is $32.50
Look for assignments on the Assignments Page. The due date for assignments will be shown next to the assignment.

Physics and Math Tutorials:

These tutorials will give you some extra help in understanding and using some of the physics and mathematical concepts used in this course. They are supplements of, and not replacements for, the text.

University of Guelph:

Mostly math, but some physics material, like free body diagrams.

DC Physics Help Pages:

Help on many physics topics especially Practice Problems.

The Physics Hyperextbook:

Online physics textbook.

Physics 2000:

Explanations of Modern Physics topics with lots of animated illustrations.

Kenny Felder's Math and Physics Help

General policies:

A working knowledge of algebra is expected. If you're a little out of practice check out the University of Guelph site. A scientific calculator is required for this class. You are responsible for any material covered in class whether or not you are present. If you have questions or problems come see me during my office hours or other times you can find me. If you read the associated text material before the lecture, and attempt (not just read) the examples the homework will be much easier. If you have difficulty with understanding concepts or completing assignments come see me. You should expect to spend a minimum of two hours outside studying for each hour of lecture.
You are adults in a college setting. Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated. Anyone found cheating will automatically receive a failing grade for the course.

Classroom behavior:

Regular attendance is part of the educational process and you are expected to attend all lectures and labs. If you are forced to miss due to an emergency I will try to help you figure out what you have missed, but you are responsible for material covered and announcements made even when you are absent.
Plese come to class ready to learn and participate, and focus on the class. Ipods, cell phones, and laptop computers are a distraction, so, as a courtesy to others, these (and similar) devices must remain off during class. Please exhibit good manners during class. Avoid coming to class late or leaving early. Please do not read newspapers, etc., talk with others, or eat during class. Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated, and persons disturbing the learning environment will be asked to leave. Any behavior that disrupts the class or detracts from the learning experience of your classmates may reduce your grade in the course. Repeated disruptions or refusal to correct such behavior at the request of the instructor may result in serious reduction in your grade, even to the point of failure in the course.
Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated. Anyone found cheating will automatically receive a failing grade for the course. Use of cell phones, tablets, ipods, or hand held computers during a test or quiz is cheating.

Tentative Class Schedule:

This is a tentative class schedule and significant deviations may occur as announced in class.