PHY 2054 (Physics 2 without Calculus) Spring 2014


Overview: PHY2054 (Physics 2 without calculus) is the second semester of Physics without calculus, covering electrostatics, electric current, electric circuits and their components, magnetism, induction, electromagnetic waves, optics, optical devices, interference and diffraction. It is typically, but not exclusively, taken by biological sciences majors and pre-professional students, i.e., those planning careers in health care, optometry, pharmacy, etc. It is not a suitable course for physics, chemistry or engineering majors, who are encouraged to take PHY2049 (Physics 2 with calculus) or PHY2061 (enriched Physics 2 with calculus), both of which offer similar material but with more mathematical emphasis.

Instructors and TAs: Professors Paul Avery and Pradeep Kumar lead the course, aided by several TAs. Contact and other information are available on the Instructors & TAs page.

Lectures: Lectures are Tuesday and Thursday, periods 4 or 5, in Physics 1001.


The textbook for the course is McGraw-Hill, Physics (with WebAssign), Volume 2, 2nd Edtion, by: Giambattista, Richardson, and Richardson. ISBN: 9780077628246. Note that this ISBN number is unique to the University of Florida and is sold only at local bookstores. It includes both the textbook and a code used for the required WebAssign on-line homework. If you prefer you can purchase (online or at the bookstore) the textbook and the WebAssign on-line homework separately.

Grades: Grades are based on total points accumulated from exams, discussion section quizzes, homework and extra credit HITT clicker quizzes. The calculation is shown below on this page. Please see the University's grading policy for an explanation of grades and how they are used in calculating your GPA.

PHY2054 e-Learning website: The lectures notes, exam grades, quiz grades, homework grades, HITT points and estimated course grades (when possible) will be posted at PHY2054 e-Learning>.

Schedule: Dates for lecture topics, exams, quizzes and homework can be found on the schedule page.

Homework: We use the WebAssign online homework system which provides online versions of the end-of-chapter 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 (particularly if you notice that you struggled with the problems you did.) If you don’t conscientiously work problems, you are very unlikely to do well in the discussion section quizzes, exams, or ultimately, the course. Work on the assigned, as well as some extra problems.  There are answers to a subset of the problems in the chapters at the back of the book.

WebAssign provides solutions for some of the assigned problems. Solutions can be helpful when you really get stuck, but over reliance on these is problematic. 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.

While you can simply log onto the WebAssign system and work out the problems given there, another approach is recommended. The problem numbers given in the homework page correspond to the end of chapter problems as they appear in the text. Apart from changes in the parameter values, these are the problems you will get on the on-line system. It is recommended that you work the assigned end of chapter problems, to your satisfaction, and then redo them (with the new parameters, as given) on-line. The WebAssign system will provide you with instant feedback on whether or not your answer is correct, and you will be permitted five tries (until the due date/time) to get the answer right, and receive credit.

Lecture Attendance: You are encouraged to come and gain the benefit of the explanations, worked examples, demonstrations and tricks of the trade. Extra credit quizzes using the HITT remotes are given during class. Classes will begin and end on time; please come on time and do not leave early; doing so in a large class can be quite disruptive. Please do not read non-course related material during class and turn off all electronics (radios, cell phones, mp3 players) other than a calculator.

Overall Course Grade: Your course letter grade will not be based on a curve but rather on a fixed scale of 100 points shown in the table below. The advantage of the fixed scale is that you are not competing with other students to “get ahead of the curve.” Everyone who works hard can do well in the class. Thus, there is no preconceived percentage of the class that can receive A’s (scores 90% or better). Those who do not do the work will score accordingly. Your overall course score will be calculated to 5 significant figures and there is no rounding outside of a few hundredths of a point (i.e., 89.8 does not automatically round to 90.00). Note that we normalize quiz grades so that all TAs have approximately the same quiz average. Thus quiz grades in some sections are adjusted upwards and those in other sections are adjusted downwards to maintain fairness across all the sections.

Grading Procedure
Exam 1 20 pts
Exam 2 20 pts
Final Exam 25 pts
Quizzes* 20 pts
Homework* 15 pts
Total 100 pts
HITT bonus** 5 pts
*10% will be dropped.
**20% will be dropped.
Grading Scale (fixed)
A ≥ 90.00
A- ≥ 85.00
B+ ≥ 80.00
B ≥ 75.00
B- ≥ 70.00
C+ ≥ 65.00
C ≥ 60.00
C- ≥ 55.00
D+ ≥ 50.00
D ≥ 45.00
D- ≥ 40.00
E < 40

How to succeed in this course:

  • Time on task: In talking to our most successful students (B+ and above), we find that they consistently invest at least twelve hours studying and problem-solving per week outside of class. Do not expect a good grade if you are not prepared to work this much.
  • Preparation: Read the assigned chapters before coming to lecture. The importance of this cannot be overemphasized. Even if you don't understand everything you read, seeing it once provides familiarity with the concepts.
  • Homework: Work as many problems as possible on a weekly basis; the assigned (graded) ones represent the minimum recommended set. Go to instructor’s and discussion leaders’ office hours for individual help (this can be highly effective and should be regarded as free tutoring; make use of it!). To maximize the availability of this help you can go to any Instructor or Section Leader’s office hours. These will be posted on the course page, once they are established.
  • Keeping up: Compared to biology, physics is not well-suited to cramming. Physics requires the understanding and application of a minimal number of principles in contrast to disciplines where a large number of concepts and material must be ingested.

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

Students with disabilities: Students requesting classroom accommodation for disabilities must first register with the Disability Resource Center. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodation.