PHYS 114

Contemporary Physics II

Winter 2017-2018

Instructor: Professor Gordon Richards  Lecture: MWF 10-10:50pm; Stratton 101
Office: Disque 812 Phone: 215-895-2713
e-mail: (subj: PHYS114) Office Hours: W 3:30-4:30pm, Th 2-3pm (or by appt.)
TA: Christopher Brown Recitation: W 2-4pm, 4-6pm
TA Office: Disque 923 TA Phone: x2732
TA e-mail: TA Office Hours:TBD (TR 10-11am?) (or by appt. in advance)
Grader: Eli Worth Grader
Text: Matter and Interaction (4th Ed.),, Chabay & Sherwood

Course Description:
The course description, credit hours, and enrollment restrictions can be found at this link.

Purpose and Learning Goals:
This is the 2nd of a 3-quarter sequence in Contemporary Physics, which is the backbone of the physics undergraduate program. Students will learn the basic principles of mechanics, thermodynamics, and electricity and magnitism and will be assessed on this knowledge using standard concept inventories. There is a strong practical component to the course using VPython as a tool for exploring solutions to problems that do not have a simple analytic form.

The text for this class is Matter and Interaction (4th Ed.) by Chabay & Sherwood. Students should complete the readings for each lecture before class (see schedule below) in addition to reviewing the material after the lecture. Note that while we are very supportive of the non-traditional approaches taken by this text, some students may benefit from having one of the more standard texts as an additional resource. For example: Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick, & Walker; or Principles of Physics by Serway & Jewett.

We will meet three times a week for 1 hour. As the Contemporary series is the core of the Physics program you are required to attend all lectures and are expected to have completed the reading before class (see below for reading assignments). Pop quizzes will be given in class if it is necessary to enforce these requirements. There will be an explicit class participation component to your final mark; in other words, ask questions and be prepared to participate in discussion. To facilitate class discussion we will be using Socrative. Please download the app to your phone or laptop before the first lecture.

Recitation sections will meet in the Physics computing lab for 2 hours each week. The recitations will consist of two parts. The traditional component of recitation will involve discussion of homework problems, review of exams, and discussion of material that may have confused you in class. Since the material on the homeworks is quite challenging, I strongly encourage you to try working on your homework well ahead of time, and bring your questions to recitation. For the second part, in order to understand physical concepts, and get a grounding in numerical coding, you will be required to write 5 programs over the course of this term. These will employ the Visual Python programming language and will allow you to create moving realizations of physical concepts.

Homework problems will be assigned at the end of each lecture, so that you may attempt them at the time that the relevant concepts have been taught. The collective problems from each MWF lecture will be due at the start of class on the next Friday. The problems will primarily be taken from your book, though there will be some which are not.

Discussion is strongly encouraged when working through problem sets, but the work you turn in is expected to be your own. Generally speaking, verbal collaboration is OK, but visual collaboration is not. Here's a guideline: if a friend verbally describes how to go about solving a problem to you without specically writing equations, then you are fine. If, however, you directly transcribe the work of another, you are plagiarizing their work.

Prior to starting the first homework assignment, please review the homework guidelines that the TA/grader will be using when marking your homework.


The grading scale will be a standard 10-point scale (e.g., 90 is the lowest A-). The breakdown is as follows:

Additional Help:
Besides the course staff, this year we have three Physics Fellows:

Drexel's policies on Academic Integrity and Course Dropping apply to this course.

You may not copy one another's exams, homeworks, or recitation codes. All of these are considered cheating and will be dealt with in the following manner. The first infraction will result in a zero for all parties involved. The second infraction will result in an F for the course and a report to the office of academic affairs.

Changes to the parameters of the course may need to be made during the quarter. In the case of such events, students will be notified by the instructor through their official Drexel e-mail.

Student with disabilities requesting accommodations and services at Drexel University need to present a current accommodation verification letter (AVL) to faculty before accommodations can be made. AVL's are issued by the Office of Disability Services (ODS). For additional information, contact ODS at, 3201 Arch St., Street, Suite 210, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 215.895.1401 (V), or 215.895.2299 (TTY).

Schedule of Topics

Lecture Subject Chapter Reading Due
1 (1/8) Angular Momentum Principle & Cross Products 11 [4.10, 5.1-5.8], 11.1, 11.5,
and for recitation: 11.10
- (1/10) Class with TA 11 Chapter 11
2 (1/12) Rotational Angular Momentum 11 [9.2], 11.2, 11.3, 11.9
- (1/15) University Holiday
3 (1/17) Torques 11 11.4, 11.5, 11.6 Program 1
4 (1/19) Conservation of Angular Momentum & Gyroscopes 11 11.7, 11.8, 11.12 Week 1 HW
5 (1/22) Statistical Mechanics 12 [7.4, 8.4], 12.1, 12.2
6 (1/24) Thermal Equilibrium; Entropy; 2nd Law 12 12.3, 12.4
7 (1/26) Temperature 12 12.5, (12.7 for recitation) Week 2 HW
- (1/29) Class with TA? 12 Chapter 12
8 (1/31) Heat Capacity 12 12.6 Program 2
9 (2/2) Boltzman Factor 12, S1 12.8, 12.9, S1.1, S1.2, S1.3 Week 3 HW
10 (2/5) Ideal Gases S1 S1.4, S1.5
11 (2/7) Carnot Engines S1 S1.6, S1.7
12 (2/9) Make-up/Review Lecture (or Midterm) Week 4 HW
13 (2/12) Midterm In class
14 (2/14) Electric Fields 13 13.1-3,9 Program 3
-- (2/16) No Lecture
15 (2/19) Superposition 13 13.4-6
16 (2/21) Dipoles 13 13.1-8,15.9
17 (2/23) Electric Interactions 14 14.1-3 Midterm Corrections
19 (2/26) Conductors and Insulators 14 14.4-6
20 (2/28) Charging and Discharging 14 14.7-8, 20.10 Program 4
21 (3/2) Intro to Distributed Charges 15 15.1-2 Homework 6
22 (3/5) Charged Rods 15 15.1-3
23 (3/7) Charged Rings/Disks 15 15.3-5
24 (3/9) Charged Spheres and Capacitors 15 15.6-8, (16.8 for recit) Homework 7
25 (3/12) Electric Potential 16 16.1-4
26 (3/14) Non-Uniform Fields 16 16.5-7 Program 5
27 (3/16) Paths 16 16.8 Homework 8
TBD Review Session 13-16

Final Exam:
Thursday, 22 March, 8-10am, Lebow (Engineering) 241
Rescheduled for Thurs. 22 March, 3:30-5:30pm, Curtis 250A

If you have read this far, please send the instructor an e-mail (prior to the first lecture) for one unit of extra credit. Your e-mail should indicate an understanding of the attendance requirements and that you have downloaded the Socrative app.

Last Modified: 21 March 2018