Physics 115: Contemporary Physics III

Spring 2013


TuTh 11:00 am - 12:20 pm,

Disque 919


W 2:00 - 3:50 pm / 4:00 - 5:50 pm,

Disque 704


Prof. Steve McMillan


Kelly Douglass


Disque 610


Disque 808

Office hours

Th 1:00-3:00

Office hours

TuTh 2:00 - 3:00 pm


(215) 895-2723


(215) 622-1703




Welcome to the home page of Contemporary Physics III. This is your primary resource for information about the course, including homework assignments, recitation programs, exams, and solutions. This web page is also the syllabus for the course. Please bookmark it for future use (no printed copies will be distributed), and check it frequently for updates.

Course Outline

In this final (and coolest) part of Contemporary Physics, we'll delve into the properties of electricity and magnetism. Topics include


1.     Magnetic Fields

2.     Electric Circuits

3.     Magnetic force (including the Hall Effect)

4.     Patterns of EM fields (Gauss's and AmpŹre’s Laws)

5.     Faraday's Law

6.     Electromagnetic Radiation

7.     Waves and Particles (electromagnetic waves are also particles)

Meeting Times and Locations

Lectures will be given on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 am - 12:20 pm in Disque 919. Please be on time. Recitations will be on Wednesdays 2:00 - 3:50 and 4:00 – 5:50 p.m. in the Physics computer lab, Disque 704.

Textbook and Reading Assignments

The text for the course is Chabay and Sherwood, Matter & Interactions II, 3rd edition. In Physics 115, we will cover chapters 18-25. See the course schedule below for the reading assignments. You should do the reading before class, so that you are prepared to ask questions about material that you did not completely understand.


Grades will be based on the following weighting of different components of the course:



30%  (2/3 written problem sets and 1/3 computer assignments)



        Final exam:


        Class participation:  


Course Rules of Conduct

Most of this is common sense, but sometimes we need a reminder.


Š      Electronic distractions: Silence your cell phone or leave it home. Laptops may be used only for taking notes. Web surfing, texting, reading/sending email are prohibited during class. You will be asked to leave if you violate this rule (and I notice).


Š      Don't bring food to class. Coffee and other drinks are OK.


Š      Plagiarism: Use your own very large brain (you're a physicist!) and don't even think about cheating. The usual University rules apply. Also see the homework rules below. Please refer to Drexel's academic dishonesty policies:





and registration policies:




Problem Sets and Computer Assignments

Problem sets will distributed via this page on Thursdays and will generally be due at the beginning of class on the following Thursday (see the detailed schedule below). Solutions will be available here on the same day as the homework is due, so late homework will not be accepted. The lowest homework will be dropped (so you're covered for one and only one hungry dog incident or late homework). Please write your solutions to the problems neatly and accurately. Computer assignments will be given in recitation, will count as one-third of your total homework grade, and will be due in recitation in weeks 3, 5, 8, and 10 (again, see the schedule below).


    Homework 1:

Chabay & Sherwood, Chapter 18, problems P.41, P.59, P.60, P.64, P.68 (due 4/11)     [solutions]

    Homework 2:

Chabay & Sherwood, Chapter 19, problems X.59, P.63, P.64, P.70, P.71 (due 4/18)     [solutions]

    Homework 3:

Chabay & Sherwood, Chapter 20, problems P.57, P.59, X.70, P.83, P.84, P.87 (due 4/25)     [solutions]

    Homework 4:

Chabay & Sherwood, Chapter 21, problems X.35, P.38, P.51, P.72, X.77, X.78 (due 5/2)     [solutions]

    Homework 5:

PDF (due 5/10)     [solutions]

    Homework 6:

PDF (due 5/23)     [solutions]

    Homework 7:

PDF (due 5/31)     [solutions]

    Homework 8:

Chabay & Sherwood, Chapter 25, problems X.18, X.20, P.21, X.24, X.32, X.37 (due 6/7)     [solutions]



    Program 1:

PDF (due 4/17)

    Program 2:

PDF (due 5/3)

    Program 3:

PDF (due 5/22)

    Program 4:

PDF (due 6/5)


You may discuss the homework with your classmates, but you and you alone are responsible for the work you turn in. Please write up your own solutions to the problems and computer assignments. Breaches of this policy will result in homework scores being divided by the number of “participants.” Second offenses may result in failure (of the class, for all involved).


Use of solutions from previous years or any other source without reference constitutes plagiarism. You must attribute (by giving the correct reference) any significant help you receive from outside sources.

Problem Set Solutions

Solutions will be posted on this page on the afternoon of the day that they are due.


The mid-term will be given in class during Week 7 (on Thursday, May 16). It will cover chapters 18 through 21. The final exam will be held during exam week. It will include material from the entire course, but with significantly more weight given to the second half (roughly 30% first half, 70% second half).

Course Schedule

The schedule of readings and assignments follows. Dates are for lectures. This schedule may be revised, so you should recheck this web page from time to time. Homeworks are due on Friday at the start of class. Please do the indicated reading before class.



Class Dates





April 2, 4

ch. 18




April 9, 11

ch. 19

HW1 due (Th 4/11)



April 16, 18

ch. 20

Program 1 due (W 4/17), HW2 due (Th 4/18)



April 23, 25

ch. 21

HW3 due (Th 4/25)



April 30, May 2

ch. 22

HW4 due (Th 5/2), Program 2 due (F 5/3)



May 7, 9

ch. 23

HW5 due (F 5/10)



May 14, 16

review ch. 18-21


Midterm in class 5/16


May 21, 23

ch. 24

Program 3 due (W 5/22), HW6 due (Th 5/23)



May 28, 30

ch. 25

HW7 due (F 5/31)



June 4, 6

catch-up and review

Program 4 due (W 6/5), HW8 due (Th 6/7)






Final Exam, Tuesday, June 11, 10:30 – 12:30, Curtis 452