College Physics I, PHY111
Spring 2018

Instructor:  Dr. David R. Burgess
Office:  Office hours are posted on my door.
Phone:  603-897-8264 (office)
Internet:  dburgess@rivier.edu (E-mail)
 http://chemistry.rivier.edu/ (To Class Homepage)
Textbook: To cut down on the cost of a textbook the bare-bones material for this course is on our website, but each student is encouraged to purchase an algebra-based College Physics textbook. The material for this introductory course hasn't changed in the last 20 years, so any edition of a standard text will work. There are some new online texts that look promising as well. I recently looked at Perfection Learning's Kinetic Physics digital textbook. It looked good, but I wasn't sure about the amount of time to work through all of the material. Schaum's Outline of College Physics is another possibility. Here are some of the texts I have used in the past.
  • Physics Algebra/Trig 3rd Edition, by Eugene Hecht
  • Principles of Physics by Frank J. Blatt
  • College Physics by Serway and Faughn
  • College Physics by Buche

Course Context

Physics is the fundamental science. At some point all other physical and biological sciences merge into physics. In addition, physics is used to describe the motion and interaction of everyday objects. There is no other discipline that can better help to gain a fundamental understanding of the world we live in.

Physics is also an excellent opportunity to work on the college-wide competencies listed on the page titled Academic Assessment at Rivier. The nature of physics requires you to apply an understanding of course content to solve a variety of problems. In the process you will need to think critically and synthesize concepts. It is also an opportunity to make judgments about the appropriateness of solutions, not only in a physical sense, but often in more global ways. The ability to communicate will be important when explaining concepts and working in groups.

Since it would be impossible to cover all of the topics associated with physics, this course will concentrate on a few of the most basic concepts. They will be chosen carefully to provide an introduction to the basic concepts in physics and to provide an opportunity to sharpen critical thinking and problem solving skills. Indeed, the main objective of this course in not to learn all of physics, but to learn how to investigate and approach problems in a sound, logical manner. This will provide you with some basic physics and other skills that will enable you to make sound scientific judgments.

Course Goals

Specifically, this course will provide the opportunity:

  1. To obtain a sound background in physics that will allow further study in the sciences and provide a basis for sound scientific judgments.
  2. To investigate and learn to use the problem solving techniques and tools used in physics.
  3. To further develop communication skills using scientific terminology.
  4. To gain a sense of satisfaction from being able to solve difficult problems.

One of the main tools of a scientist is logical reasoning. This course will emphasize logical reasoning as a means of investigating and understanding physical systems.

The heart of physics, especially this first semester, is problem solving. Many problems from your book and other problems are available for practice. It will require diligent effort to understand the concepts that will enable you to do the problems.

Remember that it is the logical investigation of the problem, not the specific answer that is important in this context. Test your understanding of the concepts by doing problems.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to solve problems competently by identifying the essential parts of a problem and formulating a strategy for solving the problems concerning kinematics.
  2. Students will be able to solve problems competently by identifying the essential parts of a problem and formulating a strategy for solving the problems concerning statics, dynamics, and centripetal Force.
  3. Students will be able to solve problems competently by identifying the essential parts of a problem and formulating a strategy for solving the problems concerning work, energy, momentum, and conservation laws.
  4. Students will be able to solve problems competently by identifying the essential parts of a problem and formulating a strategy for solving the problems concerning rotational motion, equilibrium, and dynamics.
  5. Students will be able to solve problems competently by identifying the essential parts of a problem and formulating a strategy for solving the problems concerning harmonic motion/pendulums.

Other Notes

Quizzes will be given each week over the homework problems. One quiz will be dropped when determining the quiz average and the quiz average will count toward the lecture grade. Four exams will be given. Exams will not include true-false or multiple choice questions but will include problems similar to homework problems and exercises done in class and in the laboratory. There will also be a comprehensive final exam.

Final grades will be determined using the following weighting scale:

Exam Average 65%
Quiz Average 15%
Comprehensive Final Exam 20%

Raw scores will be converted to letter grades as established by the college (see the page titled Academic Assessment at Rivier). For example, if a student had a quiz average of 86%, an exam average of 82%, and earned a 77% on the final exam, she would have an overall score of

(.15)(86) + (.65)(82) + (.2)(77) = 81.6

and receive a B- for the course.

The class homepage also has a link to Academic Policies at Rivier and for this class. On our class policy page (http://www.rivier.edu/chemistry/policies/) specific statements have been extracted, from the policies common to all undergraduate courses at Rivier College (http://www.rivier.edu/undergradcoursepolicies.), on Attendance, Habitual Non-Attendance, Academic Assessment, Academic Honesty, Classroom Behavior, Electronic Devices and Students With Disabilities. You are expected to be familiar with these policies and adhere to them.

Course Schedule

15 Jan - 1 Feb Introduction and Kinematics
2 Feb Exam 1
5 Feb - 22 Feb Statics, Dynamics, and Centripetal Force
23 Feb Exam 2
26 Feb - 22 Mar Work, Energy, Momentum, and Conservation Laws
23 Mar Exam 3
25 Mar - 26 Apr Rotational Motion, Equilibrium, Dynamics, Harmonic Motion/Pendulums
27 Apr Exam 4
2 May Comprehensive Final Exam

Homework

Because we are not all using the same edition of the same book, the homework for this class is on the class website. I have accumulated these problem sets over the years and you will see that the problems are very similar to those found in your individual textbooks.