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Last updated: Sun Jan 8 06:35:15 pm 2006 (EST) by Carl Schmidt

PHY183, Spring 2006 - Physics for Scientists and Engineers I

Michigan State University


Course Coordinator: Lisa Lapidus, Carl Schmidt, Felicia Berryman, Chien-Peng Yuan

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Instructor Information

Section 001:

Prof. Lisa Lapidus
Office: room 4223 BPS
Phone: (517) 355-9200, ext. 2211
Email: lapidus@pa.msu.edu

Prof. Chien-Peng (C.-P.) Yuan
Office: room 3213 BPS
Phone: (517) 355-9200, ext. 2135
Email: yuan@pa.msu.edu

Section 002:

Prof. Carl Schmidt
Office: room 3211 BPS
Phone: (517) 355-9200, ext. 2128
Email: schmidt@pa.msu.edu

Teaching Assistants:

Jiping Li: lij@pa.msu.edu
Chong Zhai: zhaichon@msu.edu
Dan O'Brien: obrien64@msu.edu

Course Description

Introductory calculus-based physics course in mechanics for scientists and engineers.


MTH 132 or MTH 152H or LBS 118
Not open to students with credit in PHY 181B, PHY 183, PHY 183B, PHY 193H, PHY 231, PHY 231B, or LBS 271 (LBS 164).

Class Hours

Section 1: 4:10 pm to 5:00 pm Mo Tu We Th, BPS 1410
Section 2: 5:10 pm to 6:00 pm Mo Tu We Th, BPS 1410

Office Hours

Prof. Lisa Lapidus: 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm Wednesdays
Prof. C.-P. Yuan: 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm Wednesdays
Prof. Carl Schmidt: 10:30 am to 12:00 pm Wednesdays

Helproom Hours

Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9 am to 9 pm in the Strosacker Learning Center (1248 BPS).

Students can get assistance and individual attention. Members of the teaching team will be available for help on any physics topic covered in the course. You may attend any and as many of the sessions as you wish. The Learning Center can also be useful as a place for groups to meet for studying and problem solving. Interacting with fellow students is a good strategy for learning physics.

Exam Information

There will be two 50-min midterm exams and one 2-hour final exam. The midterm and final exams will be based on the material covered in lectures, the textbook and homework.

Midterm 1: February 9, during class time, BPS 1410
Midterm 2: March 23, during class time, BPS 1410
Final Exam: May 4, 8-10 pm (in the evening!)

You are responsible for bringing the following to the midterm and final exams:

(i) A calculator. All exams will require the use of a calculator. Make sure that your calculator's batteries are fresh, as sharing of calculators will not be allowed. All other electronic devices (PDA, Phone, CD-Player, etc) are not allowed.

(ii) Two "Number 2" pencils to be used for filling out the computer scoring sheet.

(iii) You may bring one 8.5"x11" study sheet which may contain hand-written formulas, notes, etc. on both sides.

All exams are closed book.


Homework assignments are due each Wednesday evening, one minute before midnight.

Questions about solving homework problems can be discussed using the "feedback" feature of LON-CAPA. See the feedback (FDBK) button. Postings are visible to everyone in the course and other students in the course can respond to questions. Posts can be made anonymously but the instructors, however, can see the names. The URL for LON-CAPA is: http://msu.loncapa.org

Excuse policy:

In order for a missed test to be excused, you must present to the instructor within one week a written excuse, dated and signed by you, stating the circumstances that caused you to miss the exam. This excuse should be accompanied by supporting material, for example a written document from a doctor, dean, etc.

For homework only an extended absence or illness will be considered a valid excuse. In case of a significant network outage, we will extend the deadline.

The Michigan State University Code of Teaching Responsibilities states that any student missing the Final Exam may not be allowed to pass the course. Please familiarize yourself with University policies concerning academic integrity http://www.vps.msu.edu/SpLife/rule32.htm as they will be applied.

Grading Information

Grades are based on the following formula: Homework: 30%; Two midterm exams: 17.5% each; In-class Quizzes/Participation: 5%; Final exam: 30%. This course in not "graded on a curve". The guaranteed scale below is based on the total percentage of points.

Note that the Quiz/Participation contribution will be obtained by using "clickers" during the classroom lecture. Quiz/Participation points will be awarded based on 1/2 of the possible total points. This means that full credit will be awarded if 1/2 or more of the total quiz points are obtained.

Percentage ....... Grade
p > 92% ............... 4.0
92% > p > 84% ... 3.5
84% > p > 76% ... 3.0
76% > p > 68% ... 2.5
68% > p > 60% ... 2.0
60% > p > 52% ... 1.5
52% > p > 44% ... 1.0
p < 44% ............... 0

Honors option:

Students interested in participating in the 'Honors' option should contact the instructor at the end of the first class.


Bauer, Westfall, "Physics for Scientists and Engineers 1", 2nd edition (2005, McGraw-Hill)

H-ITT clickers will also be needed for the in-class quizzes.