PHY 2020 Introduction to Principles of Physics
Fall 2014

Lectures:  This is the syllabus for the distance-learning section of PHY2020. If you want to take PHY2020 with "traditional" lectures, that course is also being taught in Fall 2014.
Examinations in the online sections are delivered through the proctorU online examination system.
Please make sure that you have all that is necessary to take exams this way. Basically, this means having available a computer including video camera and microphone, a good internet connection, and a quiet room where you can take the tests in privacy. You need to both REGISTER and SCHEDULE with proctorU. Details are in the introductory material.

Course Teaching Assistant: 
Ankita Sarkar  
2323 New Physics Building
Office Hours: 12.30 p.m. Monday and 12.30 p.m. Wednesday
asarkar1989 at  

Course Professor: 
Prof. John Yelton
yelton at  
Office hours: 4 p.m. Monday and 4 p.m. Friday
2031 New Physics Building

We want you to be able to get whatever help you need. You are encouraged to use the on-line forums (discussions) to pose questions which will then be answered in a timely manner. You are also free to e-mail us to arrange for personal help.
Text: Douglas Giancoli, "The Ideas of Physics", 3rd edition, published by Brooks/Cole.
The textbook is advised, but not obligatory. Note that this is an old book. There are many copies available second hand in auction sites and online booksellers. We have deliberately chosen a book that should not cost you a lot of money - $20 should buy a decent copy. There is also a great online resource called "The Mechanical Universe" that has a link on the left-hand side of the course page. Like the book, it covers more than the course, but gives another independent explanation of the information.

Preparation: High school math (basic algebra, geometry and trignometry) is expected.

Outline: The course is divided into topics and sub-topics thus:
Introduction to Physics
Course Introduction, Scientific Notation, Units of Measurement
Math Review
Vectors, Right Angle Geometry, Vector Components
Description of Motion and Falling Bodies
Displacement, Velocity, Acceleration, 2D motion
Newton's Laws
Newtons 1st Law, Newton's 2nd Law, Newton's 3rd Law, Weight as a Force, Application of Newtons Laws
Circular Motion and Newtonian Gravity
Circular Motion and Centripetal Acceleration, Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation, Applications of the Universal Law
Work and Energy
Work, Potential energy, Energy Conservation,Power
Momentum, Collision Types, Impulse
Rotational Motion and Equilibrium
Radians, Angular Speed and Velocity, Angular Acceleration, Torque, Center of Mass, Stability, Statics, Rotational Inertia, Rotational Kinematic Energy, Angular Momentum
Structure of Matter
The Atom, Phases of Matter, Scaling Laws
Fluids and Archimedes Principle
Pressure, Pascal's Principle, Archimedes Principle, Applications of Pressure, Bernoulli's Principle, Terminal Velocity
Temperature and Heat
Temperature, Temperature and Gases, Heat Transfer, Phase Change
Waves and Sound
Springs, Energy in Springs, Wave Mathematics, Sound Waves, Doppler Effect
Electric Charge, Electric Force, Electric Potential
Electric Current
Electric Current, Electric Circuits, Alternating Power
Magnets and Magnetism
Magnets, Magnetic Fields, Applications of Magnets
Light Rays
Ray Optics, Refraction, Lenses, Interference, Polarization, Color Mixing

Grading policy. Maximum total possible 100 points The 100% consists of 4 components:
Online, quizzes after each section: 10 points
Exam 1: 30 points
Exam 2: 30 points
Exam 3(final): 30 points
Tests: The tests are generally "fill-in-the-blank" rather than multiple choice. They are closed book and closed note, but essential formulae are given. Answers are considered "right" or "wrong". Calculators are allowed on all the exams.

The following is the guaranteed grading scale.

76% A
71% A-
66% B+
61% B
56% B-
51% C+
46% C
41% C-
36% D+
31% D
We note that the grading scale, at first sight, may seem "generous". This is because the scores on tests that are "fill-in-the-blank" are typically lower than multiple-choice tests.

Scores on each test and quiz automatically appear in the Canvas gradebook ("grades" on the LHS). Students can therefore calculate, at any time, their projected grade. The 10% from quizzes is simply the (correct/total)x10%, which is then added to the scores from the 3 tests to make 100% The only possible extra credit planned is for a course survey mid-semester. Don't ask for individual extra credit - it is against the rules for good reasons!
Philosophy of the course: This course is designed for people who do not necessarily have a background in physics. xIt should be taken by people who want a one semester overview of physics. It counts as a Physical Science for "P" credits. It may be useful for students, especially those who have not taken a physics course in high school, as extra preparation for Physics I courses such as PHY 2053 and PHY 2048.
Students are expected to listen to and watch the online lectures (which are interspersed with demonstrations), and work through the problems themselves before looking at the video solutions. Sample tests are available for a last stage of preparation. "Real" office hours, as well as forums, are available. Online quizzes are given at the end of every module to help students stay on-track.
Calender of Events
Note that quizzes are due on specific days, but they are open for submissions weeks in advance. You are encouraged to NOT wait till the last day! Note that you can enter the quiz, print the questions, then exit and work out at your leisure how to do them before re-entering and submitting.
Monday, August 25th - First day of "class"
Monday, September 1st - Quiz 1 due: "Introduction to PHY2020"
Monday, September 8th - Quiz 2 due: "Math Review: Vectors and Geometry"
Monday, September 15th - Quiz 3 due: "Description of Motion and Falling Bodies"
Monday, September 22nd - Quiz 4 due: "Newton's Laws"
Monday, September 29th - Quiz 5 due: "Circular Motion and Gravity"
Monday, October 6th - Quiz 6 due: "Work and Energy"
Wednesday, October 8th Exam#1 all sections up to the end of "Work and Energy" Starting times 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. 2 hours duration
Monday, October 13th - Quiz 7 due: "Momentum"
Monday, October 20th - Quiz 8 due: "Rotational Motion and Equilibrium"
Monday, October 27th - Quiz 9 due: "Structure of Matter"
Monday, November 3rd - Quiz 10 due: on "Fluids and Archimedes Principle"
Thursday, November 6th Exam#2 sections from "Momentum" through "Fluids" Starting times 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. 2 hours duration
Monday, November 10th - Quiz 11 due: "Temperature and Heat"
Monday, November 17th - Quiz 12 due: "Waves and Sounds"
Monday, November 24th - Quiz 13 due: "Electrostatics"
Monday, December 1st - Quiz 14 due: "Electric Current"
Monday, December 8th - Quiz 15 due: "Magnets and Magnetism"
Wednesday, December 10th - Quiz 16 due: "Light Rays"
Monday, December 15th Final Exam - mostly "Temperature and Heat" through "Light Rays", Starting times 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. 2 hours duration
**** the available starting time window has now been extended until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 16th. You can even do it at midnight!

Hints on how to do well: Listen to every lecture.
The course is based on the lectures (which are not full 50 minutes, but rather snippets of a 5-10 minutes at a time). Remember, the syllabus is defined by what is covered in lectures. You will not be tested on material not presented on the web, whereas the book also covers other material which you are NOT expected to know.
All material is accessed through E-learning, Canvas by clicking here and then choosing the option for "canvas". It will ask you for your gatorlink username and password. Alternatively, go straight away to the canvas interface which is here. Either way you should see this course on the drop-down menu labeled "Courses & Groups".
Click here for a video explanation of the course, which serves as a sample video. It is important that you have an internet connection good enough to watch and listen to the above introduction comfortably, or you will find this course frustrating!
Do not leave it too late:. The material is quite concentrated. If you leave it all to the last minute you will probably not understand it well and will not have a chance to get it clarified. Please make sure from the beginning that you are available for the exams. Make-ups will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the instructor.

Students requesting classroom accommodation 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 accomodation.

Information on current UF grading policies for assigning grade points can be found in the undergraduate catalog

This is a University of Florida General Education course, for which credit may be obtained in the "P" (Physical Sciences) category.
Here is the 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 as:
Student Learning Outcomes: 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 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 16 graded quizzes and 3 graded and proctored examinations. Quiz and exam questions will cover all subjects listed in the syllabus. 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 stress is on understanding how to apply the principles to a variety of situations; rote memorization is minimal.

Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course based on 10 criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at Evaluations will be open towards the end of the semester and students will be informed at that time. Summary results of these assessments are available to students at

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

UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which 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 ( 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 or TAs in this class.

Contact information for the Counseling and Wellness Center:, 392-1575; and the University PoliceDepartment: 392-1111 or 9-1-1 for emergencies.