PHY 2048 - Physics I with Calculus - Spring 2013


About the course

PHY2048 is an introduction to general physics, Part I. Topics covered include basic equations of motion, concepts of force and torque, linear and angular momenta, work, kinetic and potential energy. We will consider point-like and finite-size objects, as well as fluids. We will discuss such periodic phenomena as oscillations and waves. Gravitation, one of the four fundamental forces of nature, is also covered in this course.

Our goal at all times is to help you understand the basic physical principles so that you can apply them to real situations. In addition to providing the basic theoretical underpinnings to the subject, we use many examples, "concept problems", physical demonstrations and virtual demonstrations. We also show many examples of everyday tools and advanced instruments that utilize these principles.

This web site serves as the syllabus for the course. Each page on the web site has a link on the menu at left. You are required to read each of these pages. The web site is detailed and chances are any policy questions you may have are answered here.


The course will rely heavily on the following level of math (see textbook Appendix E for details). If you are not competent at this level you should take the appropriate refresher course(s) before taking this class; otherwise, you are bound to fail.

  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Analytic Geometry
  • Vectors
  • Differential and integral calculus

Required material

The following material must be acquired not later than by the end of the first week of classes:

Required work and points toward your final grade

The course work includes:

  • reading the text for the assigned material,
  • attending lecture (during lectures, we will administer quick HITT-based quizzes); up to 5 bonus points;
  • doing the weekly homework; up to 20 points;
  • attending discussion section (and taking the discussion section quizzes); up to 20 points;
  • and taking the exams; up to 60 points;.
The schedule for each of these and the overall grading policy can be found in the corresponding links on the left.

Effective strategies for learning physics

From interviewing students we have found that the A to B+ students have better habits and spend more time on this course than B and C students. In particular, they rarely miss class, do all the recommended homework problems and more, read ahead and study the material for several hours a week (not just before exams). Developing good habits at the start of the semester, before things get busy and you fall behind, will help you succeed.

A large fraction of your study time should be devoted to problem solving, which is essential to learning and cannot be replaced by mere listening and reading. This is the reason we provide you a significant number of end-of-chapter questions and problems, web-based problems, quizzes and Java applets.

The following strategies will help you to do well in the course:

  • Keep up with the course. The best strategy for success is to stay up to date with the readings and homework. In particular, solving problems will improve your performance on exams and quizzes far better than memorizing formulas or cramming. A good rule of thumb is that you should be spending about 6-9 hours on the material outside of class.

  • Homework and past exam problems. Working the weekly problem sets is the most important element of the course. It is critical that you do them, not only for receiving homework grade credit, but because you cannot understand physics without working out problems. In fact, the assigned (graded) homework constitutes a minimal set; you would do well to do additional problems beyond these (the odd numbered end-of-chapter problems have answers at the back of the textbook and the ones labeled SSM have detailed solutions available to you on the WileyPLUS system). If you do not conscientiously work problems, you are very unlikely to pass the discussion section quizzes, in-class exams, and ultimately, the course. Work on the assigned, as well as some extra problems. A translation table between problem numbers in the 8th and 9th edition of the textbook can be found at:

    You may find solutions to more of the problems on-line. Solutions can be helpful when you really get stuck, but over reliance on these will lead to disaster. It would be like learning to drive by watching a driving instruction video. Until you get behind the wheel yourself and practice, you won't really learn.

  • Attend lectures and discussions regularly. We cannot stress enough the importance of coming to class. Although you might not understand everything presented in lecture and discussion, you are unconsciously processing information that will serve you well later. Frequent class skipping contributes strongly to poor student performance. Attending classes and doing something else at the same time like reading papers, browsing internet, texting/emailing, doing homework, etc. is a waste of your time.

  • Read ahead before lecture. Even though you may not understand the chapter material, 1-2 advance readings "primes" your brain to be receptive to the material when it is discussed in lecture or discussion.

  • Ask questions. Remember: as you study, your questions cannot possibly be stupid and are very likely to be widely shared.

  • Do use office hours. If you don't understand something, ask someone during office hours. Office hours are spread across many hours of the week for your convenience. There is also a Tutoring Center with a number of people and resources for students in Physics courses, and a student organization, Tau Beta Pi, which provides help on the homework and reviews before exams.

  • Other Resources:
    • Fundamentals of Physics: Student Solutions to Accompany the 7th Edition, David Halliday, Robert Resnick, Jearl Walker Wiley, 2004.
    • R.C. Davidson, Mathematical Methods for Introductory Physics with Calculus, Saunders College Publishing, 1994.
    • R.P.Feynman, R. B. Leighton and M. Sands, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Addison-Wesley, 1966.
    • The World Wide Web is a wonderful resource. Here iís one useful site: There are many more.

Honor Code

The UF Honor Code applies to all aspects of this course. It is required that you report any possible infractions to your instructor immediately. Honor Code

Students with disabilities

Students requesting classroom accommodation for disabilities 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.