Introductory Electricity and Magnetism
Instructor: Professor Fredrick Olness
Office: Room 103A, Fondren Hall
Telephone: 768-2500 or 768-2495
Office Hours: As posted, and by appointment
Office Hours Office Hours: As posted, and by appointment. Additionally,
graduate students are available to answer your questions.
Review: There is an evening review session scheduled every Thursday
Text: "Fundamentals of Physics" by Halliday,
Resnick, Walker, 4nd edition.
An optional study guide is also available.
A copy of the homework solutions will be made available for library reserve use, as well as in the campus copy center. .
Calculators: 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. I didn't.)
Prerequisites: We shall assume a working knowledge of algebra
and trigonometry. A limited amount of calculus will be used. (I will review
the necessary calculus before I use it.)
Quizzes: There will be a 10 minute quiz at the end of class each
Friday (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 quizzes will be
Grading: The final course grade will be determined as follows.
Quizzes 25%, Exams 45%, Final 25%, Homework 5%.
Homework: Physics is not a spectator sport! Homework is assigned
for each chapter. The homework will be due every Friday. It will be graded
on a Pass/Fail basis to verify that you are keeping up the the material.
I encourage you to work in a study group and to use my office hours if you
have difficulty. (Note, I do not need to grade the homework rigorously since
it will be obvious from the quiz grades who is doing the work.)
Solutions: As a convenience to you, I provide my personal notes
on the homework to assist you in solving the problems. I caution you that
these notes have errrrors, and you should keep this in mind when you use
I remind you that most of the quiz and exam problems are directly from
the homework. I provide solutions to the homework as a convenience to help
you when you get stuck. You will find (if you have not discovered already)
that it is not sufficient to simply read through my homework solution to
understand the material. It is necessary to struggle with the ideas, 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.
In looking through the homework that is turned in, I can see when people
are simply just following me, and when they are doing it on their own. (This
becomes more obvious as we get into more difficult problems.)
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
2-3 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.) If you are willing to put
in the time, I can assure you of a good grade. If not, I can assure you
of what you earn. 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
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. 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.