Physics 150

Principles of Classical Physics

Winter Term, 2006

Lecture: 8:30 - 9:40 MWF, Youngchild 121

Instructor: Matthew Stoneking

Office: Youngchild 110, phone: 832-6724, email: stonekim

Office Hours: 9:50 AM -12:00 PM MW, 1:30 PM – 3:15 PM MTuTh

Laboratory: There is roughly one three hour laboratory session per week (8 total)

            Meet in Youngchild 115 for pre-lab lecture/discussion

            Monday 1:10 PM – 4:00 PM,  Instructor: Joan Marler

            Tuesday 8:10 AM – 11:00 AM, Instructor: David Cook

            Tuesday 1:10 PM – 4:00 PM, Instructor: Joan Marler


Course Objectives:

  • To develop an understanding of the most important CONCEPTS, LAWS, and EXAMPLES of CLASSICAL PHYSICS.
  • To develop physics problem-solving skills using fundamental MATHEMATICAL & QUANTITATIVE TOOLS, and to learn to write complete problem solutions.
  • To develop experimental skills, including statistical uncertainty analysis and laboratory record-keeping.


Required Texts:

·        University Physics, by Young and Freedman (11th Edition).  Obtain this text from Conkey's Bookstore on College Avenue.

·        Theory of Experiment, by David M. Cook.  Obtain this text from the instructor. This text introduces statistical data analysis and curve-fitting techniques that will be used in the laboratory portion of this course.  The cost is $6.50 (plus 5% WI sales tax).

·        Laboratory Instructions for Physics 150.  Obtain this text from the instructor.  The cost is $7.10 (plus 5% WI sales tax).

The combined cost of the latter two texts with tax, $14.28, will be charged to your student account.


Other Required Materials:

·        National Bound Notebook No. 43-648 (or similar with numbered quadrille ruled pages)).  Available at Conkey's Bookstore.

·        Calculator with trigonometric, logarithmic, and exponential functions.

·        A three-ring binder to keep your lecture notes, handouts, and laboratory information pages (recommended only).



Final grades will be based on the following weighted components:

1) Final Exam 25 %

2) Hour Exams (2 X 12.5%) = 25 %

3) Laboratory 25 %

4) Homework 15 %

5) Participation, Preparation, & Attendance 10%





There will be two midterm exams and one final, comprehensive exam. Each exam will be closed book.  Required formulae will be provided on the exam, but you will need to be able to recognize the meaning of the symbols in each formula and how to use them to solve problems such as those encountered in homework and lecture examples.  Exam problems will be a mixture of quantitative problems like those encountered in homework sets and conceptual problems (multiple choice and short answer) like those used for in-class discussions.



The list of laboratory topics for each week is given below.  Details on the operation of the laboratory portion of the course, including grading policies for labs, will be discussed at the first meeting of the lab section.

January 9/10: Experimental Uncertainty

January 16/17: NO LAB

January 23/24: Free Fall

January 30/31: Periodic Motion

February 6/7: Momentum and Energy: Collisions

February 13/14: Momentum and Energy: Ballistic Pendulum

February 20/21: Charged Particle Motion in Magnetic Fields (e/m)

February 27/28: Standing Waves on a String

March 6/7: Wavelength of Light



Homework sets will be collected for grading approximately once per week.  Late submissions may not receive full credit and may not be graded in a timely manner (if at all).  Homework assignments will focus on quantitative problems.  You are strongly urged to work additional problems on your own, beyond those that are required.  You are also encouraged to work together and to take advantage of evening help sessions and instructor’s office hours.  However, each student must write up his or her own solutions.  It will be detrimental to your exam performance to rely heavily on your classmates for homework solutions.  Complete solutions to homework problems often include the following elements:  statement of the problem (what is given?), appropriate diagram, reference to important laws or formulae, brief explanation and/or justification for each major step in the solution, evaluation of the final answer (does the answer makes sense?).


Preparation, Attendance, & Participation:

·        Prepare for class by reviewing your lecture notes from the previous class, reading the appropriate sections of the text, attempting some of the homework problems, and writing down questions or points of confusion.

·        Attendance in this fast-paced course is crucial.  We cannot cover everything in your textbook.  You must attend class (and work homework problems) to know what material your instructor considers essential.  Take notes in class.

·        Participate in classroom discussions.  Ask questions in class. Be prepared to respond to the instructor’s questions in class.  Make use of the instructor’s office hours and the evening help sessions. E-mail questions and comments to your instructor ( 


Help Sessions:

Evening help sessions will be offered every week.  These sessions will be held in Youngchild 115.  Times will be announced in class.

Topical Outline of the Course:

I: Mechanics & Gravitation

·        Kinematics

·        Newton’s Laws

·        Work, Energy, and Momentum

·        Rotational Motion

·        Gravitation

II: Electromagnetism

·        The Electric Field and Electric Potential

·        The Magnetic Field

·        Electromagnetic Induction

III: Waves

·        Resonance and Standing Waves

·        Interference and Diffraction

·        Electromagnetic Waves

IV: Thermodynamics

·        Heat and Temperature

·        The 1st Law of Thermodynamics

·        Entropy and The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics


Course Schedule

Tentative and Subject to Change


Unit I: Mechanics and Gravitation

W 1/4              Overview of classical physics, 1D motion with constant acceleration and freefall

                                    UP: Chapter 2 (all sections)

F 1/6                vectors, 2D motion, and projectiles

                                    UP: Chapter 1 (sections 7-9) and Chapter 3 (sections 1-3)


LAB: Experimental Uncertainty

M 1/9               More vectors, uniform circular motion, force, mass, Newton’s 1st and 2nd Laws

                                    UP: Chapter 3 (section 4) and Chapter 4 (sections 1-4)

W 1/11                        Examples using Newton’s 2nd Law, Newton’s 3rd Law

                                    UP: Chapter 4 (sections 5-6) and Chapter 5 (all sections)

F 1/13              Simple harmonic motion

                                    UP: Chapter 13 (sections 1,2, and 5)

[F 1/13 - Su 1/15: Physics retreat at Bjorklunden]


                   NO LAB THIS WEEK

M 1/16             Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  NO CLASS

W 1/18                        Work-kinetic energy theorem

                                    UP: Chapter 6 (all sections)

F 1/20              Potential energy and energy conservation

                                    UP: Chapter 7 (all sections)



                   LAB: Freefall

M 1/23             Conservation of momentum and collisions

                                    UP: Chapter 8 (sections 1-5)                           

W 1/25                        Rotational kinematics, moment of inertia, and rotational kinetic energy

                                    UP: Chapter 9 (sections 1-4)

F 1/27              MIDTERM EXAM #1


Unit II: Electromagnetism

                   LAB: Periodic Motion

M 1/30             Torque and angular momentum

                                    UP: Chapter 10 (all sections)

W 2/1              Inverse square law forces (Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law), Kepler’s laws

                                    UP: Chapter 12 (sections 1-5) and Chapter 21 (sections 1-3)

F 2/3                Lorentz force law

                                    UP: Chapter 21 (section 4) and Chapter 27 (sections 4-5)


                   LAB: Momentum and Energy: Collisions                  

M 2/6               The electric field

                                    UP: Chapter 21 (sections 5-7)

W 2/8              Electric potential                      

                                    UP: Chapter 23 (all sections)

F 2/10              Midterm Reading Period, NO CLASS


LAB: Momentum and Energy: Ballistic Pendulum

M 2/13             Magnetism

                                    UP: Chapter 27 (sections 1-6) and Chapter 28 (sections 3-6)

W 2/15                        Faraday’s Law (electromagnetic induction) and Maxwell’s Equations

                                    UP: Chapter 29 (sections 1-5)


Unit III: Waves

F 2/17              Properties of waves

                                    UP: Chapter 15 (sections 1-5)


                        LAB: Charged Particle Motion in Magnetic Fields

M 2/20             Resonance (standing waves) and the Doppler Effect

                                    UP: Chapter 15 (sections 6-8) and Chapter 16 (section 4-8)

W 2/22                        Interference

                                    UP: Chapter 35 (sections 1-3) and Chapter 36 (sections 1-5)

F 2/24              MIDTERM EXAM #2


                        LAB: Standing Waves on a String

M 2/27             Electromagnetic waves

                                    UP: Chapter 32 (sections 1-4, and 6) and Chapter 33 (sections 1, 2, and 5)




Unit IV: Thermodynamics

W 3/1              Heat (temperature, heat capacity, latent heat)

                                    UP: Chapter 17 (all sections)


F 3/3                Ideal gas law (pressure)

                                    UP: Chapter 18 (sections 1, 3, and 4)


                   LAB: Wavelength of Light

M 3/6               First Law of Thermodynamics (heat engines)

                                    UP: Chapter 19 (all sections)

W 3/8              Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

                                    UP: Chapter 20 (all sections)

F 3/10              Recap and review


Final Exam: Wednesday 15 March 2006, 8:30 AM


Laws of Classical Physics:

  • Newton’s Laws of Motion

I: “The Law of Inertia”

II: “F=ma”

III: “Action & Reaction”

  • Newton’s Law of Gravitation
  • Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion
  • Conservation Laws


Linear Momentum

Angular Momentum

Electric Charge

  • Coulomb’s Law
  • Maxwell’s Equations (Gauss’s Law, Ampere-Maxwell Law, Faraday’s Law, no magnetic monopoles)
  • Laws of Thermodynamics

I: Energy Conservation

II: Entropy Increases



Concepts of Classical Physics:

·        Kinematics concepts: position, displacement, time, velocity (average and instantaneous), speed, acceleration (average and instantaneous).

·        Dynamics concepts: force (conservative and nonconservative, contact and noncontact), mass (inertial and gravitational), friction (static and kinetic), normal force, weight, tension, reference frames (inertial and noninertial).

·        Energy & momentum concepts: work, kinetic energy, potential energy (gravitational, elastic, electric), power, impulse, momentum.

·        Rotational concepts: angular position, angular velocity, angular acceleration, torque, angular momentum, rotational kinetic energy, moment of inertia, precession.

·        Electromagnetic concepts: charge, current, electric and magnetic fields, electric and magnetic flux, electric potential, dipoles, conductors & dielectrics, resistance & resistivity, electromagnetic induction, displacement current.

·        Wave concepts: amplitude, period, frequency, wavelength, phase velocity, dispersion, superposition, interference, diffraction, standing wave, node/anti-node, resonance.

·        Thermodynamic concepts: heat, temperature, heat capacity & specific heat, latent heat & phase change, pressure, volume, density, ideal gas law, thermodynamic processes (isothermal, adiabatic, isochoric, isobaric), efficiency, entropy, microstates and macrostates.



Important Classes of Examples:

  • Motion with constant acceleration (freefall)
  • Projectile motion
  • Uniform circular motion
  • Simple harmonic motion (Hooke’s Law & mass on a spring, simple pendulum)
  • Problems with strings, pulleys, and inclined planes (with and without friction)
  • Collisions (elastic & inelastic) and conservation of momentum
  • Conservation of mechanical energy
  • Static point charge configurations
  • Parallel plate capacitor
  • Long solenoid
  • Two-source interference pattern
  • Diffraction grating
  • Thermal equilibration of two systems
  • Heat engines (Carnot cycle) and efficiency



Mathematical and Quantitative Tools:

  • Geometry*, trigonometry*, algebra*, & calculus* [Appendix B]
  • Units conversion* & dimensional analysis* [Chapter 1]
  • Estimation* [Chapter 1]

·        Vectors (addition/subtraction, dot-products, cross-products) [Chapter 1]

  • Free-body diagrams [Chapter 4]
  • Energy diagrams [Chapter 7]
  • Field line maps [Chapters 22 & 28]
  • Uncertainty analysis [Theory of Experiment]

*These tools will not be covered explicitly.  I will assume you know them.  Please review as necessary.