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PHYS 122: General Physics II

Vinod Menon

(Submission #79)

Course Description

This course is the second semester of the algebra based introductory physics course, where new fundamental concepts of classical physics are introduced and discussed. Among main topics studied in this course are sound and wave phenomena, electrostatics, magnetostatics, electrodynamic phenomena, nature and properties of light. The unification of physical laws where the ultimate goal is to give a unified description of apparently unrelated phenomena is one of the ongoing quests and the study of electrodynamics and optics exposes students to first steps in this direction. The idea of unity of nature emerged as a main scientific theme of last two centuries as a result of unification of electricity and magnetism into electrodynamics, and reducing optics to electromagnetism. Also, given the fact that no other scientific discipline influenced culture and technology more than electrodynamics (think electricity and electronics), the proposed course will help students to understand how scientific ideas can shape modern society. The course also introduces the students to some of the modern physics concepts such as special relativity and the wave particle duality of matter. Interaction between students and teaching staff is organized in the form of three components: lectures, recitations and labs. Students learn material, however, not only during scheduled class times, but also during their preparation for classes. The preparation includes: reading a textbook and additional reading materials, solving homework problems, performing other assignments such as preparing talks, writing blogs, etc. as deemed necessary by an instructor. Main goal of lectures is to deliver the main conceptual content of the studied material. Organization of lectures depends on individual styles of professors teaching the course, but active involvement of students in discussion of the subject matter will always be one of the main means of achieving this goal. Recitations play a more technical role: during recitations students sharpen their practical skill in applying new concepts to typical situations occurring in real life or during scientific inquiry. During labs, students are introduced to and obtain hands-on experience of empirical methods of scientific inquiry. They learn to design meaningful scientific experiments, use basic measuring devices and instruments, collect and analyze experimental data to make reasonable scientific inferences. Topics in this class include: Waves and Sound Electrostatics: Electric charges and their interaction, Coulomb law, Gauss’s law, electric field, electrostatic potential, potential energy of systems of charges, capacitors and their applications Direct electric current: Electric current, resistance and resistivity, Ohm’s law, Kirchhoff’s rules Magnetostatics: Magnetic field and magnetic force on charges and currents, the Biot-Savart and Ampere’s laws Electromagnetic phenomena: magnetic induction and Faraday’s law, Lenz’s law, magnetic energy, alternating-current circuits, and electromagnetic waves Optics: geometric optics and optical instruments, light as electromagnetic wave, polarization, dispersion, diffraction and interference Modern Physics: Special theory of relativity, nature of atom and wave-particle duality of matter.


Area of Knowledge and Inquiry: Natural Science Lab (NS-L)
Context of Experience: Not Applicable
Extended Requirement: Abstract or Quantitative Reasoning (QR)

Additional Course information

Credits: 4
Prerequisites: Physics 121, Algebra and Trigonometry
Existing Course: Existing
Existing Course Number: Phys 122
Course Anticipated to be offered: Every Semester
Other (if specified): 
Number of Sections: 4
Number of Seats: 24


[Justification, Materials, Assessment, Administration (PDF)]   [Syllabus/Syllabi (DOC)]  

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