Physics II  Phy 252  Winter-spring, 2012

Donald F. Collins
Class schedule, due dates are posted here.

Old 2011 weekly schedule (for reference).  

The major goals in Physics I and Physics II are to:

  1. Learn substantial contemporary physics.
  2. Experience substantial electrical and electronic techniques in the laboratory.
  3. Practice critical thinking through interactive engagement activities.
  4. Learn skills valuable in other scientific disciplines.  These "transferable" skills include computational skills with computer packages, problem solving skills, and laboratory analytical skills, especially relating to the analysis of experimental uncertainties.

In addition to the above, Physics II emphasizes:

  1. Thermal phenomena
  2. Harmonic motion, sound and waves
  3. Optical phenomena (light, diffraction, quantum optics, lasers, holography)
  4. Electro-magnetic fields and forces
  5. x-rays
  6. Quantum phenomena - phenomena which are not explainable with classical or Newtonian physics.
  7. Astrophysics and color photometry of stars
  8. The application of calculus to physics analysis.
  9. Practice in problem solving skills

 The students will experience the learning of physics mainly through active participation in class, laboratories, and simulations.  Lectures will be minimized except when students want further explanations.


Textbook: Text for Physics I and Physics II:  Fundamentals of Physics - 9th Ed, by Halliday, Resnick and Walker.

Lab Notebook (Required): Each student will need a quadrille-ruled laboratory notebook for entering laboratory descriptions, data, and summary drafts (no spiral bindings).  In addition, the laboratory notebook will be used for problem solving related to each laboratory assignment and occasional in-class peer writing.  The student must have the lab notebook for every class and laboratory session, otherwise the student will be required to retrieve it.

Internet account: Each student is required to maintain his/her WWC server account on which to save data.  A number of simulations will gain access through the WilsOnLine MOODLE course-management system.  The student must have an active WWC e-mail account in order to access this essential part of the course. 

Physics Activities and Evaluation

Laboratory - 35% (notebooks for 15 experiments: 15%;  5 lab reports: 20%)

Due dates: Notebooks due before following Tuesday - no late notebooks;
Lab reports due on following Tuesday.  Late reports accepted with 10% penalty for one week.  No reports accepted after one week beyond due date

Exams - 45%.  Monday, Feb. 6; Mon, Mar 5; Mon, Apr 9; Mon, May 7.
Problem solving - 20% - collected Mondays and Wednesdays
Simulations and on-line activities - Bonus.  Each quiz closes on a Thursday.
Attendance - see classroom protocol below.

The laboratory material is the primary material regarding the course material. Each week the class activities will be centered around a particular laboratory phenomenon and experiment.  The whole class meets as a single group on Monday and Wednesday.  Smaller groups meet for "lab" on Tuesday and Thursday.  Class time (M, W) will be spent on Interactive Lecture Demonstrations (ILDs),  making predictions,  illustrating concepts,  problem solving assignments, and simulations.  Lectures will be minimal, and the lab notebook will be needed at every class meeting.

Lab time (T, Th) will involve written instructions for each week’s experiment.  All the data, calculations, computer output, graphs, etc. will be entered in the lab notebooks.  No loose papers!  The lab notebooks for each week will be evaluated as "acceptable" or "returned for improvement" (see below).  Only 5 of the experiments will be written as reports.

Laboratory - 35%. The large contribution to the grade from the laboratory is justified by the fact that half of the class experience is spent in the laboratory exploring phenomena.  The 35% is divided between lab notebooks and lab reports.

15 experiments will be conducted during the course.  For the lab grade in the course, each student must have sufficient entries in the lab notebook for each lab (15%).  Each student will write a lab report for 5 the experiments. (20%)

Lab notebooks - 15%.  Each student must present the laboratory notebook to the professor for instant evaluation.  The notebook will be rated "acceptable" or "unacceptable", and the student may re-submit the book after making the adjustments.  The notebook should be acceptable by the end of the Thursday lab session.  If not, the student should complete the notebook by 4:00 pm on Friday at the professor's office.  The criteria for acceptibility include:  No notebooks will be evaluated later than one week after the lab begins.  Exception: medical/family emergency - notes required.

The rationales for the notebook grading are that science students must learn the importance of retrievable laboratory records; the lab notebooks are sometimes regarded as legal documents; the students need to learn the value of preventing losses of loose papers.

Lab reports - 20%.  5 of the 15 lab experiments (students' choice from weeks 1-15) will be reported as written, word-processed reports.  (All laboratories require a notebook instant evaluation, however).  Each student chooses which experiments for which he/she will write reports.   If the student submits 6 reports, the best 5 will be counted.  More than 6 reports from any student will not be evaluated.  It is recommended that students choose to write reports on alternate weeks.  If a student falls behind and more than 4 weeks lapse between submitting a completed lab report, then no more than 4 reports will be read and the student will not be able to gain credit for any more than 4 lab reports.

:Lab Grade Rubric.

Due Dates: The written lab reports are due on Tuesday of the following week.  The lab notebook is due the same date the report is due.  Notebooks will not be evaluated after the Tuesday that the experiment was started.  (Exceptions due to illness and legitimate absences).

Late reports.  If a written report is late (between 1 day and 1 week) it will suffer a 10% lateness penalty.  Reports more than one week overdue will not be evaluated unless there is a valid medical excuse or family emergency.  Medical or other emergency problems will allow late reports, but must be cleared with the professor. 

Exams - 45%. An exam will be given on every fourth Monday:

Feb. 06; Mar. 05; Apr.09; May 07.
The purpose of exams is to motivate the review of concepts learned in the course, to reinforce the retention of knowledge, and to build the student's confidence that he/she can perform in a setting where textbooks are unavailable, and to extend the physics concepts to a new situation where rote memory does not work.  Each exam will primarily cover material since the previous exam, but common analytical techniques will appear in all exams.  If necessary, some material may re-appear on later exams if the material presented significant difficulty on previous exams.

Problem Solving (20%)  Physics II is considerably more analytical than Physics I.  Learning begins with concepts experienced in the first day of the labs; enhanced by explaining and summarizing the concepts in each lab summary; and culminates in the ability to calculate parameters and results to new situations (problem solving).  Numerical problems will be assigned twice each week (due Mondays and Wednesdays) and once a week on exam weeks.  To receive complete credit for a problem assignment, the student's work must show and explain the problem solution to the evaluator.  A sheet with only a listing of the answers is not appropriate.  Each problem must be explained correctly in order to receive credit for the assignment.  The students are encouraged to form teams of 2 - 4 students for the purpose of problem solving and group learning, but each student’s solution must be submitted separately.  Please review the Homework Standards.  Late homeworks are assessed 10% penalty.  No HW papers are accepted more than one week late with the exception of medical/family emergencies.

Simulations and on-line activity ( bonus).  There will be at least weekly simulations that each student must visit and answer a few simple questions.  The simulations serve to enhance the concepts of the material in the course - especially dynamical simulations.   The simulations will be accessed through the  MOODLE Course Management System.  Each student must enroll in the on-line section of Physics II during the first week.  The course enrollment key is _____________, which is needed only for the first time.  Quizzes or other on-line activities will demonstrate that the students have explored the on-line simulations.  The system is set-up so that students may repeat the exercises as many times as desired to get a perfect score on each "quiz" without having to report activity through a cumbersome e-mail system.  Students should make the most of exploring the simulations.  The "quizzes" only scratch the surface. 

Seeking support.  Students are encouraged to seek out the instructor.  Tentative office hours (Mon-Fri: 9:30-12:00; Tues,Thurs 8:00-12:00; M-F 2:30-3:45; Friday AM).  Current office hours are posted at the office (Spidel 205) and on the Internet.  Students are encouraged to submit e-mail to the instructor at any time.(  (remove the "_nospam")

Weekly Activities Outline - See the daily Schedule..

 The topics treated in the course are listed by their laboratories.

1.  Temperature/Heat transfer
2.  First Law of Thermo
3.  Thermodynamic Engines
4.  High Temperature Superconductivity
5.  Harmonic Motion
6.  Speectral analysis of Sound
7.  Speeed of Sound, Thermodynamic model.
8.  Magnetic Fields and Electron Deflection
9.  Speed of Light and laser physics
10.  Diffraction and Interference
11.  Diffraction grating and spectra
12.  X-Ray diffraction
13.  Photoelectric effect
14. Electron diffraction
15.  Astrophysics H-R diagrams

Late papers.  Late lab reports and problem solutions will receive a 10% penalty between one day and one week late.  No papers will be accepted later than one week past the due date.

Missed and late classes. Because a substantial amount of physics learning takes place in the classroom, regular attendance is required.   A student is allowed three absences from class or laboratory activities.  No distinction is made between sickness, field trips, athletic events, Natural Science Seminar preparation, or goofing off.  The only exception will be extended illness (more than 3 days for a single infirmity or family emergency), both of which will require documentation.  The academic work will have to be completed in an extended time on a case-by-case basis.  Lateness to class (between 1 and 30 minutes according to the instructor's watch)  will count as half an absence.  Each excessive absence will result in a grade penalty (2 points out of 100 points) in the final course score.  Students arriving beyond 30 minutes late will be counted as absent.    If the instructor is late, the students who are waiting in the classroom before the instructor arrives will receive credit for half an absence. 

If a student misses an exam due to sickness or family emergency, then with the presentation of adequate documentation, the student will allowed to make-up the missed exam for full credit.  If the missed test results from an alarm clock failure, oversleeping, attending a cousin’s wedding and a delayed flight, then the student will be allowed to make-up the missed exam for 50% maximum credit.  Attending a relative’s wedding, participating in athletic event, or other planned event should be pre-arranged with the instructor, especially if there is a chance of transportation delays.

Students are expected to arrive on time and stay in class until the class period ends.  Visit the water fountain and restroom before class begins or student will be counted late.  If a student knows in advance that she/he will need to leave early, she/he should notify the instructor before the class period begins.  Students are expected to treat the instructor and fellow students with respect.  For example, students must not disrupt class by leaving and reentering during class, blatantly falling asleep in class, or by eating during class.

Extra credit.  There will be several opportunities to attend special lectures or special astronomy observation sessions.  These events will be announced to qualify for credit.  If the student attends these events, he/she must write a brief summary and submit it to the instructor.  Each pre-approved event that is adequately summarized will receive one 50 pt HW assignment (about 1% of the course grade) up to a maximum of 5 points.

Special Needs  A student with a diagnosed learning handicap may request special arrangements such as additional time for exams, taping class sessions, taping exam answers, using classmates’ notes, etc. To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Deborah Braden, Educational Access Coordinator at ext. 3791 or  Office location is lower level, Dodge House. Students are encouraged to develop ways of coping with special learning needs, but special requests for accommodations for special needs must be made at the beginning of the semester with the Educational Access Coordinator.  Do not make requests to the professor until the special needs have been documented.  A learning-handicapped student is still responsible for learning the material in the course.  The methods of testing and evaluation may be varied to accommodate the handicapped student.

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to turn-in their own work on all written assignments and reports.  Students are encouraged to work together on assignments, but the reports should be written in the students' own words.  Any verbatim copying, or nearly verbatim duplication between one students' report and another will result in zero credit for each student involved.  On the rare times that this has happened, the learning has been "short-circuited", the professor feels a waste to read two identical reports, and the students are guilty of fraud.  Any falsifying of data will result in a similar zero credit.  The recent news about scientists falsifying cloning studies is a deliberate fraud to the medical research community with very serious consequences.  Any cheating on tests (copying, writing info on body or other means), or cheating on labs or homework (copying from external sources or other students without acknowledgment) will result in failure on the assignment.  The second offense of any academic cheating will result in failure or suspension from the course.

Donald F. Collins
January, 2012.  Spidel Office 205.  Phone: 771-3702 (O); 298-4131 (H).  Take out the "-nospam" part.