Here it is, the syllabus in all of its glory.  It may be a bit long, but that is because it is full of valuable information.  ;-)

Locations & Times

  • For "lecture"-121 Seaver Hall, 1:00- 1:50 MWF
  • For "lab"- 121 Seaver Hall, 3:00-5:00 W

Required Text

  • Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Ray Serway and John Jewett (Books/ Cole- Thomson, 2004) We will cover many of the chapters which were skipped in physics 101 & 201. This means that we will make use of both volumes.
  • Six Ideas That Shaped Physics (Unit T) by Tom Moore (McGraw-Hill, 2003) We will use this as our primary source for thermodynamics.

Books on Reserve at the Library

  • The Feynman Lectures on Physics by Richard Feynman. Feynman was one of the great physicists and teachers of the last century. (Not to mention a real “character”.) His freshman physics lectures were transcribed nearly forty years ago, and they are still fantastic lectures that cover all of physics in a clear and insightful manner.

Electronic Material

  • If you purchased a new textbook, you should have received an access code for Physics Now, which is Brooks/ Cole- Thomson’s companion web site for our book. ( or If you bought a used book, you can still access the site for a $30 fee. The site is completely optional, however it may be worth looking at if you want some additional help. The site has several useful features. You’ll notice that at the end of each chapter in our book several question are marked as having solutions and hints on the web. One nice way to use this feature is to use the “work in steps” option. This basically acts as a coach to help you through each step in a complicated question. The active figures and chapter quizzes can give you additional practice, but they lack significant feedback.


  • Who am I?: Jeff Phillips (a.k.a. Dr. Jeff)
  • Where I "live": 106 Seaver Hall
  • When I tend to be "home": MWF 11:00- 12:00, T 10:00- 12:00, F 2:00- 3:00 I’m normally around my office and more than willing to meet with you at other times. You may want to set up an appointment with me if you want to avoid a trip to an empty office. One note about office hours, you’re more than welcomed to stop by even if you just want to work on homework and have me serve as a “consultant.” You don’t have to have specific questions to justify a visit, sometimes the most valuable discussions are ones that aren’t planned.
  • Other ways to contact me: phone-338-7811 and email-

Student responsibilities include (but not limited to):

  • Coming to class prepared which includes actively reading the text, trying various example problems, and studying any additional handouts.
  • Attempting all homework, this can be done either individually or in study groups with your classmates (simply be careful not to rely on your classmates so much that you cannot solve problems by yourself on tests).
  • Asking questions when material is unclear, this can be done during office hours, in class or via email.
  • Regularly check email for schedule or policy changes.

Dr. Jeff’s responsibilities include (be are certainly not limited to):

  • Being receptive to student feedback and suggestions concerning both course content and design.
  • Providing opportunities for students to assess their own progress.
  • Employing several modalities (verbal, visual, tactile, etc) when introducing topics so as to accommodate different learning styles.
  • Maintaining a respectful and student-centered environment.

              Here is how your final grades will be computed:

10% Participation
30% Three tests (10% each)
35% Homework
25% Final

              All grades in this class will be based on a fixed scale, which means that you shouldn’t feel any need to “compete” with your classmates. The grading scale we will be using is as follows:

93-100= A
90- 92= A-
87- 89= B+
83- 86= B
80- 82= B-
77- 79= C+
73- 76= C
70- 72= C-
60- 69= D
0- 59= F


              This is a broad category that includes in-class activities, problem sets and labs. What is most important is that we improve our problem solving and critical thinking skills. Thus, in writing up homework solutions, you should write out complete solutions. We will discuss the level of necessary detail later in class, but the basic criteria will be- can somebody else read your solution and understand each step. This means no ESP should be necessary when trying to understand a solution. You should pay special attention to the beginning of the problem (where you build a mental model of the situation, describe any assumption made and identify the relevant physics principles). Other parts of a thorough solution can include pictures (with clear labels), step-by-step mathematical solutions, and a final “evaluation” where you ask yourself “does this answer make sense?” (Is it reasonable to have the speed of a car come out to be 6 x 108 m/s?)
              You’re encouraged to work collaboratively- studying together is one good way to learn physics. But don’t just copy work from a friend! You will help yourself in the short run (good score on the homework assignment, maybe) but punish yourself in the long run (you’re not learning anything, and it’ll show on exams and quizzes). Also, you should be aware that simply copying a friend’s work is not working together; it is plagiarism and is a violation of the University’s Honor Code.

              There are in-class tests following the completion of every other unit (see the class schedule on the last page for dates). In addition, there will be a comprehensive final exam given on Friday, May 4, which will be worth 20% of your grade.
              Tests will consist of conceptual questions of the multiple choice, short answer, and fill-in-the-blank variety as well as numerical exercises. For each test, you will be allowed to bring in one 3”x5” note card. You can write down anything you want on this card- equations, notes, examples, prayer to St. Albert (patron saint of scientists), whatever. Keep in mind that physics is a description of physical phenomena. Sometimes we use the language of mathematics to articulate these ideas, but the math itself is not physics. Exams will be written to test your understanding of physics not mathematics.
              One consequence of this cumulative nature of the course is that when you receive your graded test back, it would be beneficial to review it and learn from any mistakes. To help encourage this I’m going to offer each of you the opportunity to make corrections to your tests and earn back some of the points you may have missed. Also, all of us sometimes make mistakes, especially when we under pressure as in a test, and it can be very frustrating not being able to fix your mistakes. We will discuss the test correction scheme more before the first test.
              Note that there are no make-up tests unless you can provide documentation of some dire circumstance that prevented you from being present at the test. (If you know that you will not be able to take a test at the scheduled time due to other campus commitments, you need to notify Dr. Jeff ahead of time so alternative arrangements can be made.)

         As with all courses at LMU, each student is expected to contribute to the course. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to present a 30 minute lecture on quantum electrodynamics; rather, simply asking questions or sharing your ideas is all it takes. People learn best when they do something or they try to explain it to others. This is probably common sense to you. After all, one hardly becomes a great quarterback by simply watching Monday Night Football every week. If you want to be a better athlete (or musician or painter or poet or…) you would practice the fundamentals of that activity as well as prepare for “game situations” (or concerts or whatever). So, by participating in discussions and activities you will not only help yourself, but also your classmates- definitely a win-win situation.
         We’ll try and be as flexible as possible, not going too fast, but this course will require each of us to work outside of class, to come to class prepared, and to participate. This is especially true given the size of our class. It is important that everybody asks questions when they’re unsure about something. Ask in class, after class, in office hours, over email, etc. With sufficient feedback (both students giving to the instructor as well as the instructor giving to the students) we should be able to keep the course at a reasonable, yet challenging level.


Assorted administrative policies
         Cheating, plagiarism, submission of the work of others, etc. violates LMU’s Honor Code and may result in penalties ranging from a lowered grade to course failure or expulsion. Often students will be allowed to work together in groups on homework assignments, but this does not mean you are able to turn in somebody else’s work. Any group work (in or out of class) is meant to be a collaborative effort that improves the students’ understanding of physics as well as team working skills. When in doubt as to whether or not group work is permitted, or what exactly constitutes collaborative teamwork versus plagiarism, ask Dr. Jeff. A further discussion of the campus policies and student obligations are given in the Undergraduate Bulletin.
         Homework will be accepted the following class period after the due date (unless otherwise stated assignments are due at the beginning of class). However, there is a late penalty of a 50% reduction in the score. So, if you turn in a worksheet the next class and receive 8 points out of a possible 10, then your actual grade becomes 4 points out of 10. Assignments will NOT be accepted after this grace period.
         If you know of any campus activities (travel with sorts teams, for example) that will interfere with class, you should inform Dr. Jeff ahead of time so fair adjustments can be made. Students who require alternative accommodations due to learning disabilities should contact Disability Support Services in Daum Hall.