College Physics II, PHY112
Spring 2017

Instructor:  Dr. David R. Burgess
Office:  Office hours are posted on my door.
Phone:  603-897-8264 (office)
Internet: (E-mail) (To Class Homepage)
Textbook: You should be able to use the same texbook that you used for Phyics I. Homework, etc. will be the same as last semester. If you are new to our class read the following textbook guide from last semester. 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

This course will provide an opportunity for each student to learn about electricity and magnetism, nuclear physics, and how light interacts with matter (QED, optics, etc.). These topics have been carefully chosen to provide an introduction the basic concepts in second semester physics and to provide an opportunity to sharpen critical thinking and problem solving skills. Indeed, the main objective of this course is not to learn all of physics, but to learn how to investigate and approach problems in a sound, logical manner.

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 electricity and magnetism.
  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 nuclear physics.
  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 how light interacts with matter.

Physics II is an excellent opportunity to work on the college-wide competencies. 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.

Quizzes will be given over the homework problems at the beginning of laboratory periods. Five exams will be given. The lowest quiz score and the lowest exam score will be dropped when calculating the quiz and exam averages. 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 ( specific statements have been extracted, from the policies common to all undergraduate courses at Rivier College (, 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

9 Jan - 23 Jan Electric Charge, Electric Field, and Electric Potential
16 Jan Martin Luther King Holiday
23 Jan Exam 1
25 Jan - 20 Feb Current, Resistance, and DC Circuits
20 Feb Exam 2
22 Feb - 13 Mar Magnetism, Electromagnetic Induction
6 Mar - 10 Mar Spring Break
13 Mar Exam 3
15 Mar - 3 Apr Nuclear Physics and Elementary Particles
3 Apr Exam 4
14 April Easter Break
5 Apr - 24 Apr Light, Geometrical and Physical Optics
24 Apr Exam 5
As Scheduled Final Exam


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.

Spring 2017

Instructor: Dr. David R. Burgess
Office: ST239
Phone: 603-897-8264 (office)

The second semester physics laboratory will provide each student the opportunity to re-enforce the topics covered in lecture and extend their physics knowledge base by doing hands-on experimentation in physics. Experiments will be assigned as the semester progresses as was done last semester. The following list gives some of the student learning outcomes for the course.

  1. Students will learn how to develop and carry out experiments in Coulombic forces, EMF, DC circuits, radioactivity, and optics.
  2. Students will learn to use common physics laboratory equipment such as protractors, metersticks, amp meters, volt meters, light benches, etc. throughout the course.
  3. Students will develop a better understanding of how to complete lab reports for each of the laboratory experiments performed.
  4. Students will learn how to better work in groups to create and perform physics laboratory experiments.

A tentative list of hands-on experiments to be done by the class during the semester is given below. General outlines of the experiments will be provided, but the specific details will be developed by the students. For each experiment you will need to identify the variables involved and use the best methods available to minimize the uncertainty in each variable's measurement. Individual reports are due one week after completion of the experiment.

Each person will individually hand in a report on each laboratory exercise. Most of the exercises will be laboratory experiments done in class, but some may involve computer simulations, internet activities, or other activities as assigned. Each activity will be given equal weight.

Each student is individually responsible to get, understand and complete the assignments on time, even when working in groups or when absent. You are encouraged to help each other understand the material, but don't hand in identical lab reports. Identical homework is a form of plagiarism and cheating and will be handled according to the academic honesty policy.

Late assignments: There will not be any penalty for up to three late lab assignments. If there are four or more late assignments at the end of the semester, all of the late assignments, including the first three, will be penalized one point (10%) when calculating the final grade. Only the late assignments will be penalized and this will be done when final grades are calculated, after the assignments have been graded (all assignments will be graded as if they came in on time).

Tentative experiments:

  1. Columbic forces
  2. EMF and Batteries
  3. Creating simple circuits
  4. Investigating amps and volts in DC circuits
  1. Magnetism and electromagnetic induction
  2. Radioactive decay
  3. Light and color
  4. Optics

Most laboratory reports should be organized as follows:

  1. Date, Name, Title
  2. Objective or Purpose of the Experiment
  3. Theory (What principles are needed in order to understand this lab?)
    1. Underlying Concepts
    2. Mathematical Models
  4. Materials Needed
  5. Procedure
  6. Tabulated Data and Result
  7. Error Analysis (How confident are you in the result?)
    1. What is the +/- value?
    2. Where does the uncertainty come from?
  8. Implications (Where could this be used?)