August 1, 2021


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Physics 208-02 – Introductory Physics II
Nazareth College
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Robert F Szalapski, PhD – Adjunct Lecturer
Spring 2012

§ 1. Contact Information


244C Smyth Hall



Use e-mail instead.

Office Hours:

Both time and location will be determined during the first week of class after discussion with the students. We have a small class, so we may be very flexible.

Web Site: will be used to provide additional content including solutions to homework problems.

§ 2. Lecture Schedule

Class meets each Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Smyth 345, 9:30–10:20 AM, from 16 January until 27 May 2012 followed by exam week. The following are exceptions to the schedule:

  • 24 February is an Undergraduate Reading Day.

  • 12 – 16 March are excused for Spring Recess.

We have 14 weeks of actual class after subtracting break week.

§ 3. Textbook

We will be using Physics, Principles with Applications, Sixth Edition by Douglas C. Giancoli, Pearson, ISBN 9780130606204. You will need to have access to Mastering Physics for completing on-line homework. You may purchase your access code bundled with your text book, or you may purchase it separately if you already have a used copy of the text. You will also need the following course code to access Mastering Physics specific to this course: PHY208SZALAPSKI2012. We will cover the following chapters:

  1. Chapter 13, Temperature and Kinetic Theory

  2. Chapter 14, Heat

  3. Chapter 11, Vibrations and Waves

  4. Chapter 12, Sound

  5. Chapter 23, Light: Geometric Optics

  6. Chapter 16, Electric Charge and Electric Field

  7. Chapter 17, Electric Potential

  8. Chapter 18, Electric Currents

  9. Chapter 19, DC Circuits

The order is chosen to remain consistent with the Laboratory and Workshop portions.

§ 4. Course Description

This second semester of physics is quite different from the first. We are still dealing with a quantitative and deterministic science. The language of physics is mathematics, and a knowledge of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, vectors and graphing is essential. We will continue to review and sharpen these concepts as a part of the course as needed. Introductory Physics I focused on mechanics including the motion of objects under the influence of forces, energy and momentum and associated conservation laws. We are skipping angular dynamics and fluids.

We will first deal with ideal gases and thermal physics; very possibly this will overlap with work in chemistry courses. Next we will deal with oscillations and waves, and in particular we will study sound waves; unfortunately time will not allow us to explore the wave nature of light. We will spend a considerable period on the electric field and DC electric circuits; we will not have sufficient time to cover the magnetic field and the wealth of natural phenomenon associated with it.

This semester we will have a splendid classroom, one with tables. This will allow for some group work in class. Additionally there will be opportunities to present at the SmartBoard and in poster format.

§ 5. Learning Outcomes

Goals of this course include but are not limited to the following:

  • The student’s ability to apply mathematics from earlier courses will improve significantly.

  • Students will develop analytical-reasoning and problem-solving skills.

  • Students will gain an appreciation of Classical Physics.

  • Students will be exposed to quantitative and deterministic science.

  • This course is the theoretical complement to laboratory component helping students to appreciate the relationship between theory and experiment.

  • We live in a very technologically intensive society, and students’ scientific literacy will expand.

§ 6. Grading

I hope that you will pursue this course with a spirit of exploration and wonder. An all-time favorite quote of mine is by Samuel Clemens, “Never let your schooling interfere with your education.” On the one hand we should follow this syllabus to synchronize with the laboratory and workshop components. On the other hand, this class belongs to the students, and being a relatively small class you are invited to guide your own experience to some degree.

Unfortunately grades are somewhat of a necessary evil, so we will do the following:

Homework +40%
Group/Presentation +10%
Exam 1 +10%
Exam 2 +10%
Exam 3 +10%
Exam 4 +10%
Final +10%
Final +10%
Worst Exam -10%

In other words you are allowed to toss out your worst exam score. Normally the final counts as double, but if it is your weakest exam score, then it counts as a regular exam. In a change from the first semester, a portion of the grade will derive from group work and presentations in the form of posters and work at the SmartBoard.

With a class of approximately 12 students we cannot expect a bell-curve distribution of grades. As a starting point:

A \ge 90%
B \ge 80%
C \ge 70%
D \ge 60%

where “+” and “-” grades are at the discretion of the instructor. The cut-off points for each grade may be lowered solely at the discretion of the instructor. Typically this would not be done until the final grades are assigned. I like to offer some feedback as each exam is graded and returned.

§ 6.1. Attendance

Attendance will be taken in every class. Students are expected to be in class on time and participating. Students who do not attend will be at a disadvantage for homework and exams. Attendance may be utilized when determining whether a grade should be rounded upwards or not. If a class is missed for a College sanctioned sporting event or equivalent, then the instructor should be notified in advance and reminded by e-mail; homework is still due at the specified date and time and may be scanned and e-mailed. Exams will be taken in advance. If a student is ill, then notes should be obtained from other students or the website. Illness may be documented by a doctor or the campus nurse as appropriate. Contrary to all of this strong language, it is understood that students may need to miss a class or two.

§ 6.2. Reading the Text

Reading the text is very important. Students should read the text prior to lecture, and review of the text is very useful while working problems.

§ 6.3. Homework

It is assumed that every student will optimize the homework score getting perhaps 95% or better. Exam scores will typically be lower, so it is exams that will generally determine the final letter grade.
Homework will be assigned weekly. You may work in groups, but your write-up must be your own. For every assignment:

  1. Complete the assignment on-line using Mastering Physics. The course code is PHY208SZALAPSKI2012.

  2. Hand-in a written version of the homework in class. If you cannot make it to class, scan the homework and send it as an e-mail attachment.

A portion of the problems will typically be hand graded with the remainder of the points determined by the on-line scoring. I have found this to be the best way to give both meaningful and timely feedback to students. A pop quiz would be an alternative way of grading a homework set also determining which students complete homework independently.
With regard to the problems handed in:

  • Use good quality paper such as printer paper or loose leaf. Do not use paper with ragged edges.

  • Write on one side only.

  • Use a single-column format.

  • Place name, date and problem-set identification on cover page.

  • Write your name and date on every page.

  • Circle your final answer.

  • Clearly show your work and your reasoning. Use mathematics, English, graphs as appropriate.

  • Use significant figures where appropriate.

  • Staple sheets together. The staple is the only accepted way for attaching papers.

  • No late homework will be accepted, but one assignment may be dropped for the term.

Non-compliant homework will be penalized. This is for efficiency so that time may be focused upon physics instruction as opposed to clerical distractions.

§ 6.4. Exams

For each exam you will be allowed one standard printer sheet of paper (one side only) to prepare as a formula sheet. You will also be allowed a calculator with scientific and math functions including graphing. Each exam will present a few problems of varying levels of difficulty to be solved. Tentative dates are as follows:

Exam Day of Week Date Time
1 Friday 10 February 2012 09:20 – 10:30 AM
2 Friday 2 March 2012 09:20 – 10:30 AM
3 Friday 30 March 2012 09:20 – 10:30 AM
4 Friday 20 April 2012 09:20 – 10:30 AM
Final Saturday 5 May 2012 08:00 – 10:30 AM

There will be two or three chapters worth of material on each exam. Each chapter builds on the previous chapters. The content of each exam will be discussed prior to each exam. The final will include both new and review material.

§ 7. Physics Workshop

The workshop segment is managed separately from the lecture. Be certain to attend and to participate. This is a very challenging course, and understanding should be pursued from many different angles. Between reading the book, attending lecture, working problems, participating in workshop, performing experiments in the laboratory and meeting with the instructor during office hours you will come to understand physics in ways that are not easily predicted.

§ 8. Web Site

Please go to my web site,, and create a (free) account. When you have created your account, please send an e-mail to, and I will grant you access to the page Students/Physics 208. This page will be password protected, and it will be a place where you can find course-related materials. For this class I may post some things which are not course specific in the open area accessible to anyone.

§ 9. Students with disabilities

Any student who needs any accommodation in accordance with the Americans Disabilities Act of 1990 and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 should discuss this matter with the course instructor during office hours or by appointment. The only way that students are able to receive official accommodation at Nazareth College is by registering with the Office for Students with Disabilities and providing official documentation of their disability. Special accommodations may be provided only by the official direction of the Office for Students with Disabilities. For more information go to

§ 10. Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty is discussed in the Undergraduate Catalog, though hopefully this is clear to everybody. There will be zero tolerance for cheating. With regard to homework, students may work together, but your write-up must be your own. Be prepared to defend your work, possibly with a pop quiz, written or oral. For exams students are allowed one sheet of paper as a formula sheet. Each student must create his or her own sheet. A standard calculator, pens, pencils and erasers are allowed. All other possessions, including cell phones and PDA’s, must be inaccessible, ideally placed in a closed bag under the students seat. The accessibility of inadmissible items will be interpreted as cheating. Additionally students must be very careful not to look in the direction of other students as this will be interpreted as cheating; students may look at their own exam, directly ahead or at the ceiling.

Penalties for Cheating
first offense score of zero (0) for exam or assignment
second offense F for course, ejection from class

I do not presume to read the hearts or minds of others. If the rule is broken, then penalties follow. There will be absolutely no discussion as to intent or whether the student benefited or misunderstood the rule, etcetera. Do not allow even the perception of an impropriety.


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