Topic outline

  • General

    General Physics II (Spring '11)

    NSC 262 - 4 credits - Introductory

    Course Information:
    • Times: MWF 11:30 - 12:50
    • Place: Sci117A
    • Text: handouts
    • Faculty: Travis Norsen

    Course Overview: Second half of the year-long introductory physics sequence. Two great pre-20th century physics theories (Newtonian gravitation and the atomic theory of matter) serve as integrating themes for topics including rotational dynamics, astronomy, thermodynamics, and the structure of the atom.

    Assignments and Grading:
    Weekly homework assignments will ask students to engage the "Projects" from the book. These assignments will be worth 50% of the overall grade. (I will automatically drop your lowest homework score before averaging.) A final exam (and maybe one or two short midterm quizzes) will be worth 30%. Class participation (including appropriate preparation for class meetings) will be worth 20%.


    Course Policies:
    • Attendance is mandatory. (Let me know in advance if, and why, you will miss a class.)
    • Late work will not be accepted without prior arrangement.
    • In addition to being fully present in class and handing in all the assignments, to really succeed in the class you should expect to spend several hours each week (outside of class) interacting with the readings.
    • Students are encouraged to work together on the homework assignments (and to get help from me or the tutor). However, your final write-up of the solutions must represent your own understanding; copying another person's work is plagiarism and will result in no credit for that assignment (and possibly worse). If there is any question about a specific case, simply cite your sources as you would in any kind of research paper (e.g., "I worked with Joe Schmoe on this problem.").
  • Topic 1

    Week 0: 1/19 - 1/21

    • Intro Course: Wednesday 9:00, Sci117A
    • First real class: Friday 11:30, Sci117A
    • Homework for Friday: get the textbook (see below, and/or I can give you a hardcopy), look at the TOC and read chapter 1, and pick one QTD to discuss/answer (orally) in class
    • Topic 2

      Week 1: 1/24 - 1/28

      Chapter 1
      • For Monday: finish studying chapter 1, bring questions
      • Homework 1 due in class, Friday, 11:30
    • Topic 3

      Week 2: 1/31 - 2/4

      Chapter 2: Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler

    • Topic 4

      Week 3: 2/7 - 2/11

      Chapter 3: Newton's law of universal gravitation
    • Topic 5

      Week 4: 2/14 - 2/18

      Chapter 4: mathematical developments and rotational mechanics
    • Topic 6

      Week 5: 2/21 - 2/25

      Chapter 5: astrophysics applications
    • Topic 7

      Week 6: 2/28 - 3/4

      Chapter 6: numerical solutions of DEs
    • Topic 8

      Week 7: 3/7 - 3/11

      Individual student projects (from chapters 5 and/or 6... or in principle 1 or 2 or 3 or 4). The main goal here is to give yourself enough space and time that you can really work something through fully to completion -- then write it up in a self-contained, clear way (say, roughly 3 pages) and present your findings to the class (roughly 10 minutes). This will be graded not as a regular homework, but as a "midterm quiz" -- worth one third of the 30% of your grade that is based on exams/quizzes (i.e., this will be worth 10% of your overall grade -- about twice a normal homework assignment).

      • Topic 9

        Week 8: 3/29 - 4/2

        Chapter 7

      • Topic 10

        Week 9: 4/5 - 4/9

        Chapter 8

      • Topic 11

        Week 10: 4/12 - 4/16

        Chapter 9
      • Topic 12

        Week 11: 4/19 - 4/23

        Chapter 10
      • Topic 13

        Week 12: 4/26 - 4/30

        Finish chapter 10, tie up loose ends, reflect...
      • Topic 14

        Week 13: 5/3 - 5/7

        • Reading Days Th/F
        Perrin Experiment, Review, etc.

        Useful info for Perrin experiment analysis:
        • T = room temperature = 300 K
        • Diameter of particles: D = .935 microns
        • Density of particles: rho = 1.05 g/cm^3
        • The "effective mass" that should be used in the analysis is actually the mass of the particle minus the mass of the water it displaces. See equation 10.104 in the text.
        • Rather than plotting N[h] vs. h and doing a curve fit with N[h] = N(0)*exp(-mgh/kT), compute the natural log of your N[h] values. A plot of ln[N[h]] vs. h should be a straight line whose slope is -mg/kT. By finding the slope of your best fit line (assuming a line is a good fit!) you can then solve for Boltzmann's constant k by using known values for m, g, and T.
        • You can convert your value for k into a value for Avogadro's number N_A by using N_A = R/k, where R is the ideal gas constant. The value of R is given in the text in Equation 8.38, though you might find it more useful here in the following units: R = 8.3 J/(mol * K).
        • Topic 15

          Final Exam

          Details TBA

          • Topic 16