PHY205 Syllabus Summer 2014 .pdf
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Course Syllabus for
Physics of Everyday Life
Dr. Brian Wilson
COURSE DESCRIPTION: An introduction to the physics of everyday life. This conceptual
course looks at everyday objects to learn about the basis for our modern technological world.
Topics may include anything from automobiles to weather.
The purpose of this course, as I see it, is to give you an introduction to how scientists think, and
how they approach problems. Physics is one of the oldest sciences, and in some ways it is the
most simple. Physicists start with a big, messy problem and they first simplify it as much as they
possibly can. Only then do they try to analyze the situation. They then gradually introduce
more complications, one at a time, until they eventually end up with a very complicated model.
While we will not be going into the deep end of the pool of mathematics for this course (the
focus will be on the concepts which are embodied in the mathematics), we will see some of
the more simple equations and we will discover how simple concepts can interact to describe
complicated phenomena. You will want to have a calculator which you are comfortable using.
By the end of this course you will be able to use basic concepts from physics to explain and
predict simple situations. You will also be able to describe basic concepts from physics and
explain how and when they are useful. Finally, you will be able to look at a complicated system
(like a car) and be able to describe a couple of basic concepts which together form a simple
model of the system.
Please respect others, including the professor, in the classroom. Turn your cell phones to silent
mode. Do not play ‘Angry Birds’ or watch TV shows unless you’re in the back row where you
will not distract others.
Lectures will be structured assuming that you have read the textbook before coming to lecture.
The summer semester moves quickly, so if you are not reading the textbook before class you
risk getting lost and falling behind.
Conceptual Physics (11th edition) by Paul Hewitt. Copies should be available at the bookstore.
If you have a copy of the ”UofT custom edition” that will be fine, though the regular edition
has more material that might be interesting to read after the semester is over. We will likely
cover chapters 2-9, 13-16 and 19-28. That works out to about 1 chapter per hour.
You will want to purchase an iClicker. There are 2 versions, either will work since we will
not be using any of the features of the newer, more advanced version. I recommend the more
simple version. When you register your iClicker, be sure to use your UTORid not your student
number. The website will ask you for your student number – ignore that and use your UTORid.
A scientific calculator will be useful.
Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 11-12.
Lectures: Mondays and Wednesdays 1-3.
Tutorials: Mondays OR Wednesdays 3-5.
You MUST register and attend only one of the tutorials (Mondays or Wednesdays). If for
some reason you cannot make it one week, please let me and the TA know as far in advance as
possible. We will try to make an alternate arrangement.
If you cannot make the office hours please e-mail me and we’ll try to arrange an alternate time.
I try to answer e-mails within 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays). If I do not, please
send a follow up e-mail.
LECTURE PARTICIPATION (Clickers):
TUTORIAL GROUP WORK:
10% in total
5% in total
10% in total
Note: if your final exam mark is better than your class participation mark, the exam will be
worth 55% and your participation mark will be nothing. This is done on an individual basis,
and will be done automatically.
TEST AND EXAM:
Both the term tests and final exam will draw from the lectures, tutorials and textbook. This
could include material presented in the lectures or tutorial material that is not covered in the
textbook. It could also include assigned reading material that was covered in the textbook but
not explicitly discussed in lectures.
The exams will cover all the material, including material that was on the term test.
You will be allowed to bring a single 8.5 by 11 page, double sided, and hand-written (no
photocopies) for the tests and exams. This aid sheet can have whatever you wish. The same
size restrictions apply for the exam - ONE SHEET ONLY - so you will have to redo
your aid sheet for for the exam.
There is no graded homework for this course. Suggested homework will be provided. During
most tutorials there will be a quiz which will be based on the homework.
Please note that these questions will be basic problems that you should master before the test
and exam. Questions on the test and exam will likely be more difficult than these quiz questions.
Think of them as the first few rungs on a ladder, with the exam being the top of the ladder.
During lectures, Clicker questions will be asked. These are multiple choice questions. You get
marks for participating; you don’t need to get these correct.
The participation grade will be based on the number of questions you answer. There will be a
10% forgiveness policy. The following example illustrates the situation: if there are 80 Clicker
questions, then 90% of 80 is 72, and your grade is computed as if there were only 72 questions.
So if you answered 70 out of 80 questions, your grade would be 70 out of 72. You cannot get
more than 100% credit though; if you answered 75 questions in the previous example, your
grade would be a perfect score.
You may not use someone else’s Clicker to vote. This is giving them marks which they did
not earn, hence is academic fraud! If you are caught, all students involved risk severe academic sanctions. For a first offense you are unlikely to be expelled or suspended, but that is
During tutorials you will be given a worksheet. You are to work in groups and fill in the
worksheet, which will be handed in at the end of the tutorial. This sheet will be graded and
returned in the following tutorial. Your best 4 out of 5 grades will constitute your tutorial
group work grade.
If you miss more than one tutorial, please provide me with documentation, medical or otherwise,
so that I can excuse the absence.
If you have any concerns about the course and your ability to do well, please come see me
and we can discuss your situation. I am happy to make reasonable accommodations to ensure
that all students have an equal opportunity to do well in this course. The university has many
resources to provide us the best chance to help you succeed.