Physics 122 2011

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Physics 122: Electricity, Magnetism, and Waves is the second course in the introductory physics sequence for potential majors, minors, those in the engineering program, and those students who would simply like a challenging physics course. We will cover the fundamentals of electricity and magnetism, building to a complete description and unification of these phenomena in Maxwell's equations. Maxwell's equations will reveal to us light's nature as an electromagnetic wave and we will extend our discussion to optics and wave phenomena in general.

This course will utilize calculus heavily in both presentation and the work that you are expected to complete. As the course moves forward, we will also begin to incorporate vector calculus. As this will likely be a new topic for most (if not all) of you, we will devote more class time and problem-solving time to refining our mathematical skills and technique. To assist us in this endeavor, we have an auxiliary text div, grad, curl and all that which we will start using in the second half of the semester.

The laboratory will meet every Thursday from 1:30-4:30. The format is different from last semester, so please read the lab description carefully below.

It is essential that you complete the assigned reading and problems before every class.

A cool lightning strike.


Basic Information

Meeting Time and Location

We meet MWF from 11:00-11:50 AM in Pfahler 013.

The lab will meet on Thursdays from 1:30-4:30 PM in Pfahler 108.


Instructor: Prof. Thomas Carroll (click for my full schedule)

Office: Pfahler 101E

Office Hours

See my full schedule.

Supplies You Will Need

  • scientific calculator
  • a colored pen or pencil for homework corrections (not blue or black)


Sixideas EM.jpg Six Ideas That Shaped Physics: Unit E - Electric and Magnetic Fields Are Unified (Paperback)

by Thomas A. Moore

Publisher: Learning Solutions; 3 edition (December 28, 2005)

ISBN-10: 0073540994

ISBN-13: 978-0073540993

Divgrad.jpg Div, Grad, Curl, and All That: An Informal Text on Vector Calculus (Paperback)

by H. M. Schey

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 4th edition (January 2005)

ISBN-10: 0393925161

ISBN-13: 978-0393925166


Exam/Quiz Dates

There will be 6 quizzes, 4 exams, and a final exam. The quizzes will be 10 minutes each, given at the end of the scheduled class. Quizzes will tend to be 4-8 questions styled after the two minute questions and the end of the chapters. Rarely will you be asked to perform a detailed calculation on a quiz. Exams will be 50 minutes, but I will always allow you to stay the extra 10 minutes until noon. Exams will typically contain 2-3 challenging problems similar to the "S" problems at the end of the chapters. You may also be asked to explain your reasoning or the relevant concepts. The final exam will cover all of the material from the semester. It will consist entirely of conceptual or short calculation questions and will be primarily multiple choice. Exam 4 and the final exam will be given together during the final exam period. While both exam 4 and the final will be designed as one hour tests, you will have the entire three hours to work on them.

NOTE: The final exam schedule has not yet been posted by the registrar.

  • Quiz 1: 1/28 (E1-E2)
  • Quiz 2: 2/11 (E3-E5)
  • Exam 1: 2/18 (E1-E5)
  • Quiz 3: 3/4 (E6-E8)
  • Exam 2: 3/18 (E6-E9)
  • Quiz 4: 3/25 (E10-E11, DGC Ch. I)
  • Exam 3: 4/8 (E10-E12, DGC Ch. II-III)
  • Quiz 5: 4/15 (E13-E14)
  • Quiz 6: 4/29 (E15-E16)
  • Exam 4: final exam date (E13-E16, LRC)
  • Final Exam: final exam date (everything!)

Late homework will not be accepted for credit.


Weekly Problems

Due Wednesday

Monday Wednesday Friday Lab

Introduction to course





Basic Electrostatics

E1B.8, E1S.2



Basic Electrostatics


No Lab
E1S.6, E1A.1 1/24


Electric Fields

E2B.8, E2S.2



Electric Fields

E2B.6, E2S.3


E3 - QUIZ 1

Continuous Charge Distributions

E3B.1, E3S.4

Lab 1: Harmonic Oscillations and Waves



Weekly Problems

Due Wednesday

Monday Wednesday Friday Lab
E2S.8,E2S.9 1/30


Continuous Charge Distributions

E3S.5, E3S.8



Electric Potential

E4B.1, E4B.11



Electric Potential


Lab 2: Sound Waves
E3R.1,E4S.8 2/7



E5B.1, E5S.2




E5B.3, E5S.12


E6 - QUIZ 2


E6B.4, E6S.6

Lab 3: Electric Fields and Charge
E5S.9, E6.S10 2/14



E6B.10, E6S.7


Handout 1

Multi-loop Circuits



Exam 1



Lab 4: Electric Potential and Field Mapping
none 2/21


Magnetic Fields

E7B.4, E7S.4



Magnetic Fields

E7B.7, E7S.5



Currents Respond to Magnetic Fields


Lab 5: Ohm's Law


Weekly Problems

Due Wednesday

Monday Wednesday Friday Lab
E7R.2, E8.S6 2/28


Currents Respond to Magnetic Fields

E8B.4, E8S.10



Currents Create Magnetic Fields

E9B.4, E9S.3


E9 - QUIZ 3

Currents Create Magnetic Fields


Lab 6: DC Circuits
E8R.2,E9S.6 3/14


Gauss's Law

E10B.3, E10S.1


DGC Ch. II (11-12, 17-21, 31-42)

Surface Integrals and the Divergence



Exam 2



Lab 7: Capacitance
E10S.4, DGC II-10 (c), (d) 3/21

DGC Ch. II (11-12, 17-21, 31-42)

Surface Integrals and the Divergence




Ampere's Law

E11B.3, E11S.5


DGC Ch. III: 63-82, 86-92 - QUIZ 4

Line Integrals and the Curl


Lab 8: Magnetic Fields and Faraday's Law,


E11R.1, DGC III-3 3/28


Calculating Fields

E12B.1, E12S.1



Calculating Fields




Maxwell's Equations


Lab 9: Inductance


Weekly Problems

Due Wednesday

Monday Wednesday Friday Lab
E12S.2,E12S.10 4/4


Maxwell's Equations







Exam 3

E10-E12 + DGC II-III


No Lab
E14S.4,E14R.1 4/11



E14B.5, E14S.6


No Class




LRC Handout - QUIZ 5

LRC Circuits


Lab 10: Optics
LRC problems 4/18

LRC Handout

LRC Circuits



LRC Handout

LRC Circuits




Introduction to Waves


Lab 11: RLC Circuit
Extra Credit : E15S.6 4/25


Electromagnetic Waves




Electromagnetic Waves

E16B.6, E16S.4


Optics and Interference - QUIZ 6



Lab 12: Wave Optics


Optics and Interference




Exam Review




Final Exam + Exam 4




You should visit Useful Computer Programs and install the ProbViewer 1.4 program. This program will allow you to view problem solutions as they become available. You will also be able to see the answers to the two minute problems, which will be posted the class before each exam.

The password for the ProbViewer software will be emailed to you separately.

Daily Homework

At the beginning of each class, you will hand in solutions to two homework problems associated with the reading assignment for that day. You must be present for class to earn credit for these problems. These problems will be graded on a 5-point scale using the following general guidelines:

  • 5: good effort with correct results and reasoning
  • 4: good effort with minor errors or a fair effort with no conceptual or math errors
  • 3: good effort with modest conceptual errors and/or math errors or a fair effort with minor errors
  • 2: fair effort involving modest conceptual errors or a good effort involving serious conceptual errors
  • 1: poor effort
  • 0: no initial effort

A good effort involves at least some English explanation and/or use of appropriate diagrams along with calculations and/or some recognition of an implausible result. If you cannot solve a problem after a reasonable effort you should at least indicate in words what information appears to be missing, and/or where and why you are stumped. Be sure to write something for every part of a problem. You will earn a maximum of 2 points if you do the wrong problem.

Graded problems will be returned by the next class session and solutions will be posted to be visible in the ProbViewer program. You must download and install the Probviewer program immediately (scroll down to "For All Units"). You may use the solutions and a colored pen/pencil to correct any problem that you wish (even if you did not submit an initial effort). Be sure to correct effort deficiencies as well as math errors. Submit corrected work to the box on my office door or bring them to class no later than one week after the problem was initially due. Your correction will be evaluated on a 2-point scale:

  • 2: everything is suitably corrected
  • 1: some items uncorrected
  • 0: major issues uncorrected

The correction points will be added to your initial score (up to a maximum of 5) to yield your final problem score.

Since part of the goal of the homework is to make sure that you are prepared for class, late homework (either corrections or initial efforts) cannot be accepted. However, I will drop the lowest 3 homework grades. AND, if at least 90% of the class completes the SPTQ at the end of the semester, I will drop the next 4 lowest homework grades (a total of the 7 lowest homework grades). This will give you the flexibility to deal with alarm-clock failures, minor illnesses, field trips, family emergencies, big papers, unexpected romances, etc.

Weekly Homework

In addition to the daily problems, two or three weekly problems will be due each Wednesday at the beginning of class. These problems will help you to review the previous week's material, and typically will be more challenging than the daily problems. You do not need to be present for class to earn credit for these problems.

I expect the daily problem solutions to be somewhat sketchy, but on the weekly problems I would like you to make an effort to write a solution that is coherent and clear as well as correct. I will therefore grade these problems on an 8-point scale, with the extra three points devoted to quality of presentation issues such as the following: Does the solution provide adequate diagrams and/or explanations of the model? Does the solution use units and vector notation correctly? Does the solution avoid doing algebra with numbers? The grading rubric for these points looks like this:

  • 3: great presentation
  • 2: minor presentation problems
  • 1: major presentation problems
  • 0: extremely poor presentation

Use the posted solutions as examples of excellent style ( though in many cases, you can write an excellent solution with far fewer words).

Just as with the daily homework, you may correct weekly homework problems: simply submit them within a week of the date they were originally due. You can earn up to 3 points back on an 8-point problem (the 1 extra point is for correcting presentation issues).

Reading Assignments

It is essential that you complete the reading assignments before every class. The homework that is due that day is based on the reading for that day. Since class time is limited and Physics is an expansive subject, we will not cover everything in the text in class. However, you are responsible for everything in the text. All class activities will assume that you have read the text.

Exams and Quizzes

There will be 6 quizzes, 3 exams, and 1 final exam.

  • Quizzes will be closed-book and closed-note. They will be administered at the end of selected classes and will consist of conceptual problems similar to the 2-minute problems in the text.
  • Exams will consist of 2 or 3 short essay problems and will also be closed-book and closed-notes. They will consume an entire 50-minute class period, though I will always allow you to stay for an additional 8 minutes.
  • The final exam will be comprehensive but will consist primarily of conceptual questions.


Lab will meet (nearly) every week in Pfahler 108. Please review the lab manual appendices:

Appendix A: Uncertainties

Appendix B: Linear Regression

Lab Turn-in/Grading

For most of the labs, there is nothing to turn in. When your group feels that it is finished with the lab, you may request to "check out" with either the lab instructor (me) or the lab assistant. The check out procedure is as follows:

  • Show and explain final data and graphs. Note: This should happen throughout the lab period as well.
  • Answer questions posed by instructor/assistant.
  • Some questions will be group questions to be answered by all.
  • Other questions will be directed to individuals.
  • All questions must be answered satisfactorily to check out. If that is the case, your group earns a 10/10 on the lab and may leave.
  • If the questions are not answered satisfactorily, your group must return to your table and figure it out. You may then attempt to check out again.


You will be graded based on 5 components:

  • Exams: 36%
  • Quizzes: 9%
  • Final Exam: 10%
  • Homework: 30%
  • Lab: 15%

You can determine your grade on any assignment (or overall) by dividing the points you earned by the points you could have earned, multiplying the result by 20, rounding to the nearest integer, and consulting the following chart:

20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8
A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F

Grading is on a fixed scale, so you will never be competing with each other. If class performance on any particular item is particularly low (indicating that the item was unusually difficult) I may adjust grades to be higher that this scale would indicate, but I will never adjust your grade to be lower.


  • Check out the cool physics simulations at PhET.
  • Physical Review Focus - Provides a cursory and more basic explanation of cool, new research along with a link to the paper. (from the journal Physical Review)
  • Physics News Update - Links to current stories about Physics research. You might have to dig a little deeper to find the journal articles.
  • Science Now - From Science, one of the top two journals for all research.
  • Nature News - From Nature, the other top journal for all research.
  • Physical Review Letters - The premier journal for physics. You can check out the highlights and editor's picks to find some cool stuff. These papers will be more challenging.
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