Recent Courses


PHYS 13 - Thermodyanamics & Statistical Mechanics

Textbook

   Schroeder, An Introduction to Thermal Physics

Syllabus

Day Topic Reading
Jan 20 Temperature, Ideal Gas Chapter 1
Jan 22 Heat, Work, Internal Energy Chapter 1
Jan 27 Heat Capacity, Latent Heat, Enthalpy Chapter 1
Jan 29 Large Systems Chapter 2
Feb 3 Entropy Chapter 2
Feb 5 Entropy, Heat Chapter 3
Feb 10 Equilibrium, Chemical Potential Chapter 3
Feb 12 Heat Engines Chapter 4
Feb 17 Free Energy Chapter 5
Feb 19 Phase Transitions Chapter 5
Feb 24 Dilute Solutions Chapter 5
Feb 26 Chemical Equilibrium Chapter 5
Mar 3 Statistical Mechanics Chapter 6

Assignments

Assignments are due at the beginning of class on Tuesday. Late assignments will not be accepted unless an extension has been granted before the due date (one without good reason, unlimited with good reason). You are encouraged to discuss the assignments with your classmates and with the instructor. Be sure to write up what you turn in by yourself, with no help from others. The SA session is 7 – 9 PM Monday evening in SC L32.

Laboratory

All laboratory work is recorded in a bound, quad-ruled notebook. This includes the pre-lab exercises before coming to lab, along with notes, data, analysis, and results during the lab. Laboratory notebooks are the only reference used during the end of laboratory check-out discussion and are handed in at the end of the laboratory period to be graded.

Grades

Interim and final grades are calculated using the following scheme: Assignments (40%), Examination (35%), Laboratory (25%).


PHYS 15 - Optics

Textbooks

   Pedrotti and Pedrotti, Introduction to Optics, 2nd Edition
   Wolfson and Pasachoff, Physics with Modern Physics, 2nd Edition

Syllabus

Day Topic Reading
Mar 17 Reflection and Refraction W&P, Chapter 35
Mar 19 Mirrors W&P, Chapter 36
Mar 24 Lenses W&P, Chapter 36
Mar 26 Optical Instruments W&P, Chapter 36
Mar 31 Waves P&P, Chapter 8
Apr 2 Polarization P&P, Chapter 14
Apr 7 Jones Calculus P&P, Chapter 14
Apr 9 Superposition P&P, Chapter 9
Apr 14 Interference W&P, Chapter 37
Apr 16 Double Slit Interference W&P, Chapter 37
Apr 21 Multiple Slit Interference W&P, Chapter 37
Apr 23 Diffraction W&P, Chapter 37
Apr 28 Optical Resolution W&P, Chapter 37
Apr 30 Matrix Optics P&P, Chapter 4

Assignments

Assignments are due at the beginning of class on Tuesday. Late assignments will not be accepted unless an extension has been granted before the due date (one without good reason, unlimited with good reason). You are encouraged to discuss the assignments with your classmates and with the instructor. Be sure to write up what you turn in by yourself, with no help from others. The SA session is 7 – 9 PM Monday evening in SC L32.

Laboratory

All laboratory work is recorded in a bound, quad-ruled notebook. This includes the pre-lab exercises before coming to lab, along with notes, data, analysis, and results during the lab. Laboratory notebooks are the only reference used during the end of laboratory check-out discussion and are handed in at the end of the laboratory period to be graded.

Grades

Interim and final grades are calculated using the following scheme: Assignments (40%), Examination (35%), Laboratory (25%).


PHYS 24 - The Earth's Climate and Global Warming

Textbooks

   Archer, Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, 2nd edition

Other Reading

   Grotzinger, Jordan, Press, and Siever, Understanding Earth (GJPS)
   Kump, Kasting, and Crane, The Earth System (KKC)
   Marshak, Earth: Portrait of a Planet
   Ruddiman, Earth’s Climate: Past and Future
   Wolfson, Energy, Environment, and Climate

Syllabus

DWeek Topic Reading
Jan 20 Introduction Chapter 1, KKC-1
Jan 27 Blackbody Radiation, Earth Overview Chapter 2, GJPS-1a
Feb 3 Greenhouse Effect, Systems Chapter 3, GJPS-1b
Feb 10 Greenhouse Gases, Systems Chapter 4, Marshak-22
Feb 17 Atmosphere Chapter 5, KKC-4
Feb 24 Oceans Chapter 6, KKC-5
Mar 3 Feedback, El Nino Chapter 7, Ruddiman-16
Mar 17 Carbon Cycle Chapter 8, KKC-8
Mar 24 Fossil Fuels Chapter 9, Wolfson-5
Mar 31 Ozone, Methane, Carbon Dioxide Chapter 10, Wolfson-13
Apr 7 Climate Records, Modeling Chapter 11, Ruddiman-2
Apr 14 Climate Prediction Chapter 12, Wolfson-15
Apr 21 Climate Policy Chapter 12, Wolfson-15
Apr 28 Wrap-up Chapter 13, Wolfson-16

Assignments

Weekly assignments are turned in each Monday in class, graded, and returned.

Papers

A paper is due on the last day of the semester. It is an in-depth analysis of some aspect of the Earth’s climate and is typically around 10 double-spaced pages in length (not counting figures).

LaboratorySessions (Section 1 Only)

Each student comes to a laboratory session 6 times during the semester. One of the laboratory sessions is a field trip. During each session, students record their results in a laboratory notebook and hand it in as they leave.

Article Summaries (Section 2 Only)

Each student writes a summary of a scientific article three times during the semester. The instructor selects some of the articles to be summarized, but students select at least one of the articles. Article summaries are typically about 4 double-spaced pages (not counting figures).

Examinations

There are two closed-book examinations during the semester and no final examination.

Grades

Final grades for the course are calculated using the following scheme: Assignments (30%), Laboratory Notebooks or Article Summaries (20%), Paper (20%), and Examinations (30%).


PHYS 111 - Analytical Dynamics

Textbook

   S. T. Thornton and J. B. Marion, Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems, 5th edition

Syllabus

Week Topic Reading
Sep 3 Matrices, Vectors, and Vector Calculus Chapter 1
Sep 10 Newtonian Mechanics--Single Particle Chapter 2
Sep 17 Oscillations Chapter 3
Sep 24 Nonlinear Oscillations and Chaos (Q1 due) Chapter 4
Oct 1 Gravitation, Calculus of Variations Chapters 5, 6
Oct 8 Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Dynamics Chapter 7
Oct 22 Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Dynamics (Q2 due) Chapter 7
Oct 29 Central-Force Motion, Systems of Particles Chapter 8, 9
Nov 5 Dynamics of a System of Particles Chapter 9
Nov 12 Non-inertial Frames, Rigid Bodies (Q3 due) Chapter 10, 11
Nov 17 Dynamics of Rigid Bodies Chapter 11
Nov 24 Coupled Oscillations, Waves Chapter 12, 13
Dec 3 Waves, Special Theory of Relativity (Q4 due) Chapter 13, 14

Seminar Meetings

Each meeting of the seminar will be organized in roughly the following manner. First, questions or comments on the assigned reading will be discussed. Second, solutions to the assigned problems will be explored one by one. Third, student presentations will be given.

Assignments

Part of each week’s assignment will be reading from the textbook. This is an important component of preparing for the seminar meeting and must be done diligently. There will also be a common set of problems that everyone will work. Before the seminar meeting, either email an electronic copy to the instructor or make a paper copy of your solutions to hand in. These will be graded and returned the following week. Finally, each week there will be an individual assignment for each student involving a presentation of some kind.

Student Presentations

Each presentation should be designed to be a learning experience for the others in the seminar. To be successful, therefore, the presentation must start at a point where everyone is comfortable, build up the ideas logically, slowly, and completely, reach an answer or conclusion, and discuss the significance and implications of the subject of the presentation. Polished versions of each presentation are due the day after the seminar meeting and are posted on the course website.

Seminar Etiquette

There are two fundamental rules everyone must follow in seminar meetings. First, it is every student’s responsibility to stop the progress of the seminar if he/she has questions or concerns about the material being discussed. Second, it is every student’s responsibility to help others in the seminar when they think they can respond usefully to a question or contribute positively to the discussion.

Examinations

Four of the seminar assignments will contain a question based on prior seminars. Answers to the question will be handed in at the beginning of the next seminar meeting. There will be a time limit involved and only a calculator may be used. There will also be a closed-book final examination at the end of the semester.

Grades

Final grades for the course are calculated using the following scheme: problem solutions, presentations, and seminar participation (60%), examinations (40%).