PHYS 1401v -- Changes

Mon Feb 23 11:24:51 2009

Effective Term: New:  1109 - Fall 2010
Old:  1089 - Fall 2008
Department: New:  11140 - Physics & Astronomy, Sch of
Old:  11140 - IT Physics & Astron, School of
Sponsor Name:
New:  James Kakalios
Old:  Kenneth Heller
Sponsor E-mail Address:
this course fulfills:
New:  PHYS - PHYS Physical Sciences
Old:  PHYS SCI/L - PHYS SCI/L Physical Science with Laboratory Core
Criteria for
Core Courses:
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed core requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or method.

Core courses must meet the following requirements:

  • They explicitly help students understand what liberal education is, how the content and the substance of this course enhance a liberal education, and what this means for them as students and as citizens
  • They employ teaching and learning strategies that engage students with doing the work of the field, not just reading about it.
  • They include small group experiences (such as discussion sections or labs) and use writing as appropriate to the discipline to help students learn and reflect on their learning.
  • They do not (except in rare and clearly justified cases) have prerequisites beyond the University´┐Żs entrance requirements.
  • They are offered on a regular schedule.
  • They are taught by regular faculty or under exceptional circumstances by instructors on continuing appointments. Departments proposing instructors other than regular faculty must provide documentation of how such instructors will be trained and supervised to ensure consistency and continuity in courses.

The course will give students an understanding of basic physical phenomena and principles, in particular, Statics and Kinematics, Newton’s Laws of Motion, the Principle of Conservation of Energy, the Principle of Conservation of Momentum, Torque and Angular Momentum, Simple Fluids and the basic principles of Thermodynamics.  They will be required to employ mathematical reasoning when applying these concepts and principles to determine quantitative solutions to problems, using math at a level up to and including calculus.  They will work in small peer groups in weekly Discussion sections, solving context-rich problems, applying the concepts described in the lecture sections.  Students will perform hands-on experiments that test and amplify concepts presented in lecture in weekly two-hour lab sections, again working in small peer groups.  The students are encouraged in lab section to develop hypotheses and make predictions of the expected outcome of their experiments, which they then test through direct measurement.
Lectures, recitation, and laborator cover the same material at the same time.  Topics are given below:

Week 1-2        Kinematics               
Week 3-5        Forces                                       
Week 6-9        Conservation of energy, momentum, & angular momentum       
Week 10-11        Rigid body motion                               
Week 12                Fluids                       
Week 13-15  Kinetic Theory & Thermodynamics       
Please provide a provisional syllabus for new courses and courses in which changes in content and/or description and/or credits are proposed that include the following information: course goals and description; format/structure of the course (proposed number of instructor contact hours per week, student workload effort per week, etc.); topics to be covered; scope and nature of assigned readings (texts, authors, frequency, amount per week); required course assignments; nature of any student projects; and how students will be evaluated.

The University policy on credits is found under Section 4A of "Standards for Semester Conversion" at . Provisional course syllabus information will be retained in this system until new syllabus information is entered with the next major course modification, This provisional course syllabus information may not correspond to the course as offered in a particular semester.

New:   Phys 1401V.001
Honors Physics I - Syllabus
Fall 2008 1115 MTWF Phys 131 (archived)
Thomas Walsh (email:
Posted Wednesday, August 27th 2008, modified Thursday, August 28th 2008, by Thomas Walsh
Valid dates: Wednesday, August 27th 2008 - Friday, January 1st 2010
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Physics 1401 Syllabus
PRELIMINARY (meaning: check this space for changes)
Instructor: Tom Walsh, 331 Physics, Tel: 624-1371, email:
Office Hours: to be posted on these web pages after the first week.
Web Site: you are looking at it
Materials: "Physics for Engineers and Scientists", Ohanian and Markert, third edition, 2 volumes in paper; Lab Notes for 1401; Lab Notebook or Logbook (2077s, $3.75 or a fancier one if you like. Given its importance in the course you may want to invest in a nicer one); a few 3x5 cards for quiz notes. A calculator, preferably not a programmable one.
Lectures: MTuWF except quiz Fridays. We will cover almost all of Volume 1 of the text in the same order as the text topics (I hope).
Discussion Sections: Thursdays, starting the first week. You will solve problems in groups.
Labs: Labs do not meet the first week. Our lab room is Physics 215, second floor north side of the building As of this writing they will meet in Room 215. There will be five units: kinematics, collisions and energy, rotations, gravity and simple harmonic motion. Together with the TAs you will design and carry out experiments. Your lab grade will be based on a lab logbook documenting your activities as well as two papers to be submitted over the course of the semester. Details will be presented at your first lab meeting. Note that you must complete all five laboratory units, as indicated by your TAs signature in your log book, in order to get a passing grade in the course. Your laboratory logbook should be a bound quadrille-ruled (graph paper) notebook and should be used only for this course. The cheap 2077s is fine as is any fancier lab notebook of similar format. This notebook is an important part of the course and you should pay careful attention to how you keep it. You should look on this as the prototype of laboratory or other logbooks you will maintain later in your professional career.
Quizzes: Four of them, September 19, October 10, October 31, November 21. The lowest score will be dropped, so you can miss one for any reason. No makeup or outside quizzes except for documented medical cases and documented University athletic events according to University policy. You can use a 3x5 card of notes, writing implements and a calculator.
Final Exam: Three hours to be announced later.
Homework: Each Friday a number of exercises or problems from the text will be posted on the website. Of these three or four will be designated as homework to be passed in at the start of the next discussion session. Homework will only be accepted then; late homework does not exist. You can and should work problems with other students. But your actual homework solutions should be written out by you.
Remarks: Both homework, quiz and final exam solutions must be carefully written out, complete and fully understandable to a grader. The grader is the judge of what this means. This is exactly comparable to your lab logbook--complete and understandable to another person, possibly a long time later. Just imagine reading your own logbook or an exam solution a year later with no notes. If you could not do that, the solution is not complete and understandable. A problem solution with no steps is not worth anything. Partial credit is only granted up to the point where you depart from a correct path to a solution. Work out the solution on paper using words, diagrams, sequential logic and algebra. Numbers only belong in the last step. A solution consisting mostly of a lot of numbers, even in the correct order, may, at the graders' discretion, be treated as meaningless gibberish. Also, you are responsible for all University policies on academic honesty.
Grades: Your grade will be constructed as follows: 35%--best three of four quiz scores; 25%--final exam; 30%--laboratory; 10%--homework. There will be +- grading but for guidance here is a rough guide to final grades: A is about 86%-100%; B is about 72%-85%; C is about 58%-71%; D is about 44%-57%; F is 0%-43%. I am usually pretty liberal with grades with one exception--given the A- grade option I do not give A's lightly.
Liberal Education Core Requirement
This class satisfies the University of Minnesota Liberal Education requirement of a physical science course with a laboratory component, as part of the Liberal Education Core.  Discoveries and inventions that have profoundly altered the course of human history arose from the physical sciences.  As citizens and voters (whether in the United States or in another country), today’s students will be called upon to make decisions on such topics as global climate change, alternative energy sources and resource management.  A familiarity with the methods and findings of the physical sciences has never been more important and forms a crucial component of a common education.  

This class will expose the student to physical principles and concepts, demonstrate how these principles can be applied to quantitatively describe natural phenomena, and provide the student with an opportunity to perform hands-on experiments and measurements that replicate how physical knowledge is obtained.  All knowledge in the physical sciences is empirically acquired, and a proper exposure to the ways of knowing and thinking in the physical sciences requires a laboratory component to any formal coursework.  The lab component of the class will give you experience in making predictions based upon hypotheses, which are then empirically tested by experiment or observation, through which scientific knowledge is developed.  The language of the physical world is mathematical and students will be expected to employ mathematical reasoning in order to solve problems both qualitatively and quantitatively. Physics is a social endeavor, and the student will gain experience in cooperative problem solving, working in small groups with other students, in both the laboratory and Discussion sections of the course.

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