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Last updated: Mon Sep 16 03:57:07 pm 2013 (EDT) by Tibor Nagy

PHY 232 Fall 2003

Michigan State University


Course Coordinator: Guy D Albertelli II, Simon Billinge, Tibor Nagy
Instructor (Section adm): Guy D Albertelli II
Teaching Assistant (Section adm): Paul Matthew Kondak, Teng Yang

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Instructor Information

Prof. Simon Billinge
Office: 4268 Biomedical Physical Science Bldg.
Phone: 355-9200 x2202

Dr. Tibor Nagy
Phone: 355-9200 x2515

Teaching Assistant:
Teng Yang

You are encouraged to ask questions in class and to the instructors in the helproom to better understand the concepts and get assistance with problem solving. Questions about solving homework problems can also be discussed using the "chat" feature of LON-CAPA (see the CHAT button on the Remote Control). This is visible to everyone in the course and others in the course can respond to questions. Posts can be made anonymously if you wish.

Please communicate with Prof. Billinge and Dr. Nagy with questions/comments about the course content, grades, administrative problems and so on, using the COM button on the LON-CAPA remote control. Click on "Send message to user(s)" and enter "billinge" or "nagytibo" in the username field to send a message to us. This is equivalent to email and will only be seen by the recipient. Other members of the class can also be contacted this way.

Course Description

Electricity and magnetism; optics; atomic, nuclear, and particle physics.


PHY 231 or PHY 231B or PHY 181B or PHY 183 or PHY 183B or LBS 271 or PHY 193H or PHY 231C.

Class Hours

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 PM to 8:20 PM in room 1410 BPS.

Office Hours

Professor Billinges office hours:
Wednesday 4:00-5:00 PM in 1240 BPS.
Thursday 6:00-7:00 PM in his office (4268 BPS) for questions about grades, personal items etc..

Dr. Nagy office hours:
Wednesday 2:00-4:00 PM in 1240 BPS.

Each instructor will keep these office hours in the weeks in which they are giving lectures (see schedule). They will also be available for questions before and after class.

Helproom Hours

The Strosacker Physics Learning Center (1248 BPS) and/or the room 1240 BPS will be available for students to use for group study. The times it will be staffed by instructors for this course will be announced shortly. The learning center is also heavily used by other classes and access may be limited. Please be aware that instructors from other courses in the learning center should not be expected to answer your questions, though they can be approached if they are not busy.

Project Information

- There will be eleven homework assignments. You will use the "Learning Online Network with CAPA" (LON-CAPA) computer system. The homework sets can be accessed at http://msu.lon-capa.org from any networked computer at anytime using a web-browser. (Cookies and JavaScript must be enabled.) Log in using your MSU-pilot login username and password. Select the PHY232 class. The homework problems can be accessed in folders called "Set 1", "Set 2", etc... The NAV button on the Remote Control always takes you to the page from where you can access homework sets.
- Homework sets open for viewing and entering solutions at 8:30 PM after the class indicated on the course schedule. Assignments remain open for entering solutions until a closing time of 11:59 PM on the Wednesday approximately 1.5 weeks after the set opens, as per the course schedule. No late homeworks will be accepted, the closing time will be strictly enforced. Enter your solutions early to avoid computer/network woes close to the deadline.

Exam Information

- There will be four 50-minute midterm exams that will take place during class-time in the normal lecture hall (1410 BPS) as shown in the Course Schedule. They will be closed book with assigned seating. The exams will cover the Chapters indicated in the Schedule. Material from class, homeworks and reading assignments will be included. A student ID, calculator and #2 pencil are required to take the exam . One hand-written sheet of equations and/or notes is allowed. Please note the following:
- Students must work individually. Students observed exchanging information (talking, copying, exchanging data remotely between calculators) will be given a zero on the exam.
- Your highest three midterm exam scores only will count towards your grade (i.e., you get to drop your lowest-score exam).
- There will be no make-up exams . Exams missed for any reason will result in a zero on the exam; however, since one midterm exam can be dropped it is possible to miss one exam without any penalty.
- There will be one 2-hour final exam . This will be cumulative and cover material from the entire course including things covered in class, homeworks and reading assignments. Place and time for this exam will be communicated through LON-CAPA and announced in class. The final will be closed book. A student ID, calculator and #2 pencil are required. One hand-written crib of up to 4 sheets (one per midterm!) of equations and/or notes is allowed. Students must work individually. Students observed exchanging information (talking, copying, exchanging data remotely between calculators) will be given a zero on the exam. If necessary there will be one make-up final for students with a clash in their final-exam schedule. Attendance at the make-up must be approved with Prof. Billinge before the end of the last scheduled class .

- Quizzes, taking the form of multiple-choice questions, will be given randomly in class during the semester.


PHY 232 Fall 2003 Class Schedule
Note: homework closes at 11:59 PM on the Wednesday following the
indicated Tuesday class.

Grading Information

- The grade will be assigned based on scores in homeworks, exams and quizzes.
- The grade will depend on each of these in the following way: Homeworks: 25% of the grade, top three out of four Midterm Exams, 15% each, Final Exam: 30%. Quiz scores will be for extra credit but no more than 5% of the total point.
- The course will be graded on an absolute scale as follows:
4.0 > 92%
3.5 > 84%
3.0 > 76%
2.5 > 68%
2.0 > 61%
1.5 > 54%
1.0 > 47%
0.0 < 47%


Because of the volume of material to cover and the limited class-time, reading is an essential part of the course. Class-time will be devoted to understanding concepts, problem solving examples and demonstrations rather than exhaustively covering the material in the book. Material not covered in class but in the reading assignments may appear in homeworks, exams and class quizzes. Reading assignments are shown in the Course Schedule. The reading assignment should be completed before class.


Serway and Faughn: College Physics (6th Edition), Publisher: Thomson Brooks/Cole (2003).