phy104 overview - Physics 104 Overview Structure and...

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Physics 104 Overview, Structure, and Procedures Spring 2008 Overview Though Physics 104 is a continuation of Physics 103, the subject matter is quite different. We will cover electricity and magnetism in both its fundamental and applied aspects. The applied aspects will be quite useful: circuits, radios – you’ll learn to solder if you haven’t already. The fundamental aspects will be very abstract – in defining such things as electric and magnetic fields, we will be assigning complicated properties to completely empty points in space! Though the topics are different, your study of mechanics last semester is good preparation for two reasons. First, as abstract as it is, E&M still usually resolves into forces on and motion of objects. Second, the practice you have had in the kind of mathematics-boosted conceptual thinking we emphasized in Physics 103 will work very well in 104. It is very important for you to realize that this kind of thinking is exactly what we want from you in this course! Yes, you will have a lot of formulas to understand and use and a lot of problems to do, but “getting it” means that you see the difference between a law of physics (sometimes a concept, sometimes a formula), a definition, and the solution to a specific problem that comes from understanding the laws and definitions. We are not about memorization – we will give you extensive formula sheets for each exam. The best place to learn what we want from you is office hours – don’t just look for the answer to a problem, note how your instructor guides you through it. Weekly structure Like 103, 104 covers a lot of challenging material in a short amount of time. Each week’s material builds on the previous weeks. The only way for you to handle this is to keep up. To guide you, we have imposed a lot of structure on the course, just as we did in 103. The components remain the same as last semester: we introduce new topics in a demonstration lecture on Tuesday. You will meet in small classes on Wednesday, Friday, and Monday. You will have one afternoon or evening lab each week. There will again be four hour tests, each on a three-week unit. Your problem sets will again be divided into two WebAssign assignments each week. (Note that the days they are due are different from those in 103.) Some points to note: We will meet on the first Monday and Tuesday of Reading Period to complete our last unit, including the last hour test. We may meet further for review. Do not plan to be away during Reading Period! Our weekly reading assignments will come with a short section explicitly flagged to be done for Wednesday’s class.
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