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PHY2020 Introduction to the Principles of Physics - Fall 2015
Instructor: Steven Detweiler (det@ufl.edu, 352-392-4948), Office 2073 in the Physics Building (NPB)
meets M W F 7th period in NPB room 1002, Section 3793, 3 credits,
final exam group: 16D, which is Wednesday, Dec. 16, from 3:00pm-5:00pm.


Elementary algebra and geometry.
This course gives an elementary introduction to the fundamentals of physics. This entails using algebra and geometry to set up and to solve "word problems." We will cover the following subjects: Newton's laws of physics, conservation laws, the motion of small objects, small objects falling under the influence of gravitation, electric and magnetic fields, electrical circuits, light (electromagnetic radiation) and a bit about how Mankind fits into the universe.

text Book:
Conceptual Physics, 12th edition, by Paul G Hewitt. This is a surprisingly good but gentle introduction to physics. It is an expensive book, if bought new in the campus bookstore. Older editions are perfectly good and will suffice. And, an online version is available for a more modest cost but cannot be resold at the end of the semester.

Reading assignments and homework assignments are given on the homework web-page. These should be done before class but are not to be handed in, and will not be graded. Experience shows that if you do not do the reading or the homework then you should not expect to receive a "good grade."


  • 5 tests in class are each worth 20 points. The lowest of your in-class tests will not be counted.
  • The final exam is worth 30 points.
  • Your grade will be based upon a maximum of 110 points.

  • Final Exam: The final exam is required and is given during the final exam test time which is assigned by the registrar.

  • Essential formulae will be provided for the tests. All tests are closed book.

  • The following is a guaranteed grading scale:

  • 100pts for an "A"
    90pts for an "A-"
    80pts for a "B+",
    70pts for a "B"
    60pts for a "B-"
    55pts for a "C+"
    50pts for a "C"
    45pts for a "C-"
    40pts for a "D+"
    35pts> for a "D"
    30 for a "D-"
    30pts for an "E".

    UF Grading Policy
    Information on current UF grading policies for assigning grade points can be found in the undergraduate catalog https://catalog.ufl.edu/ugrad/current/regulations/info/grades.aspx

    General Education Course
    This is a University of Florida General Education course, for which credit may be obtained in the "P" (Physical Sciences) category.

    UF Relevant Area Objective
    The physical and biological sciences provide instruction in the basic concepts, theories and terms of the scientific method. Courses focus on major scientific developments and their impacts on society, science and the environment, and the relevant processes that govern biological and/or physical systems. You will formulate empirically-testable hypotheses derived from the study of physical processes and living things, apply logical reasoning skills through scientific criticism and argument, and apply techniques of discovery and critical thinking to evaluate the outcomes of experiments. To achieve these goals, students will be expected to:
    a) analyze particular physical situations, and thus identify the fundamental principles pertinent to the situations
    b) apply principles to particular situations
    c) solve any equations arising from the application of identified principles of physics
    d) communicate results unambiguously

    Student Learning Outcomes
    This course will also assess Student Learning Outcomes which can be defined via Content and Skills.

    Content: Students demonstrate competence in the terminology, concepts, theories and methodologies used within the discipline.

    Communication: Students communicate knowledge, ideas and reasoning clearly and effectively in written and oral forms appropriate to the discipline.

    Critical Thinking: Students analyze information carefully and logically from multiple perspectives, using discipline-specific methods, and develop reasoned solutions to problems.

    The Student Learning Outcomes will be assessed through 5 graded exams in class in addition to a final exam. Typical questions will require students to complete successfully all four steps outlined in the area objectives above. Obtaining the correct result to the question posed in the form requested in the question will be taken as evidence that all four of the steps have been correctly and successfully completed. In some questions students will be expected to choose between a series of possible explanations of physical outcomes; such explanations may be presented as graphs, numerically or in words. Although knowledge of the fundamental principles of physics is necessary for success in the course, the emphasis is on understanding how to apply the principles to a variety of situations; rote memorization is minimal.

    Teaching Evaluations Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course based on 10 criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at https://evaluations.ufl.edu. Evaluations are typically open during the last two or three weeks of the semester, but students will be given specific times when they are open. Summary results of these assessments are available to students at https://evaluations.ufl.edu/results/.

    Classroom Accommodation Students requesting special accommodations must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodation.

    Honor Code:

    The Dean of Students Office web-site has a detailed discussion about academic honesty and the University of Florida Honor Code, which was adopted by the Student Council. The Honor Code says:

    "We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity."

    On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied:

    "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment."

    The University of Florida Honor Pledge states: ``We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honor and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: ``On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.'' The Honor Code ( http://www.dso.ufl.edu/sccr/process/student-conduct-honor-code/ ) specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions. Furthermore, you are obligated to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with the instructor in this class. Phone numbers and contact sites for university counseling services and mental health services are http://www.counseling.ufl.edu/cwc/Default.aspx 392-1575, University Police Department 392-1111 or 9-1-1 for emergencies.