Physics 1304/1404:

Introductory Electricity and Magnetism

Fall 2004

Instructor: Professor Yongsheng Gao
Office: Room 4A, Fondren Science Hall
Telephone: 214-768-2819
Email: gao@mail.physics.smu.edu

NOTICE: First lecture starts on August 24, 2004.

Office Hours: Tuesday 3:00pm -- 5:00pm, or by appointment..

Help Session: There will be a help session scheduled every Wednesday 5pm -- 6pm in Rm 110 Fondren Science by Anna Stelzenmuller (1st session meets on Aug. 25th) .

Textbook: "Physics for Scientists and Engineers" Vol. 2   by Serway/Beichner 5th edition.

Calculator: A scientific calculator is a must. Necessary functions are sin, cos, tan, exp, log, and roots, as well as the inverse operations. (Note, you need not spend more than about $15 for this.). Bring your calculator to every class, especially when there is a scheduled quiz/test/exam!

Prerequisites: We shall assume a working knowledge of algebra and trigonometry. A limited amount of calculus will be used.

Quizzes: There will be a 10 minute quiz at the beginning of class each THURSDAY (except when there is an exam scheduled). There are 10 quizzes. The lowest 2 grades will be dropped. (Note, this includes all missed quizzes, doctors appointments, and other emergencies.) No make up quiz will be given after the class quiz.

Format of Quiz, Test and Final Exam: CLOSED BOOK. You are allowed to take ONE FORMULA SHEET (8.5"x11") with all the relevant formulas, constants and any other information you may find useful. Make sure ALL the relevant formulas and constants are on your sheet (yes, you can write on both sides of your formula sheet). Calculator, Formula Sheet and pencil are all you need during quiz, test and final exam.

Grading: The final course grade will be determined as follows. Homework 5%, Quizzes 25%, Exams 30%, Final Exam (accumulative) 40%.

Disability Accommodations: Students needing academic accommodations for a disability must first contact Ms. Rebecca Marin, Coordinator, Services for Students with Disabilities (214-768-4557) to verify the disability and establish eligibility for accommodations. They should then schedule an appointment with the professor to make appropriate arrangements. (See University Policy No. 2.4.)

Religious Observance: Religiously observant students wishing to be absent on holidays that require missing class should notify their professors in writing at the beginning of the semester, and should discuss with them, in advance, acceptable ways of making up any work missed because of the absence. (See University Policy No. 1.9.)

Excused Absences for University Extracurricular Activities: tudents participating in an officially sanctioned, scheduled University extracurricular activity should be given the opportunity to make up class assignments or other graded assignments missed as a result of their participation. It is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements with the instructor prior to any missed scheduled examination or other missed assignment for making up the work. (University Undergraduate Catalogue)

Homework: Physics is not a spectator sport! Homework is assigned for each chapter. The homework solutions are posted on the course website. I encourage you to work in a study group and to use my office hours if you have difficulty. It is essential that you can solve the homework problems independently, and fully understand the concepts and principles in those problems, as very similar problems will appear in quiz, test and exam.

Solutions: I remind you that many of the quiz and exam problems are very similar to the homework. The solutions to the homework is provided as a convenience to help you when you get stuck. You will find that it is not sufficient to simply read through homework solution to understand the material. It is essential to struggle with the idea, and learn for yourself how to solve the different types of problems. Consider the following analogy: If I ask you to drive to my house, you would have significant difficulty because you would not know the proper direction to travel, or the proper turns to make. But, if I told you to follow me home, it would be trivial. The same applies to the homework. It is trivial to follow me as I take you through the problems and the examples. But when you are on your own and I am not telling you what direction to go and you can not peek at the homework solutions, it is far from trivial. I encourage you to use the homework solutions as a tool; but, it is not a substitute for you working out the solutions on your own. It takes me about 2 hours to do a chapter of homework. I expect it should take you 2-3 times as long. (Maybe less, if you work in a group.) Your final grade will depend on your ability to solve problems independently. You can only earn a good grade by putting in time and work. If you think you are close to understanding the material, but need just a little more work, then come and see me during my office hours.

The goal of this course, beyond physics, is to give you the ability to approach complex problems, identify the important parts, ignore the irrelevant parts, and obtain a solution. It provide an opportunity for you to sharpen your analytical thinking skills. Whether you become a physicist, engineer, doctor, scientist, lawyer, architect, business executive, or whatever, your ability to deal with complex abstract problems will always be an asset.

While there will be many topics in physics I will not have time to cover, I hope to give you the skill that will enable you to understand these topics as you encounter them in your future studies. I hope that the knowledge and skills we cover in this course to be useful to you beyond the exam. I want you to become good critical and analytical thinkers. Not only to plug numbers into equations but able to develop new models and theories, to make qualified assumptions, and then use those models and assumptions to break new ground in science and technology.