SCC Science Div.Paul Lecoq - Instructor
1:30-2:30 T, Th, F Lecture/Discussion
Plus at least 12 hours of study & homework outside of class per week
This course attempts to show that most things that happen in this Universe (with the exception of all human interactions) can be described and understood well enough to predict using relatively simple mathematical principles. Physical principles are not magic. You can understand these principles well enough to apply them to your life and career with no more math than simple algebra and arithmetic.
By the end of the quarter I will expect you to understand the principle of cause and effect. You are expected to formulate specific effects given initial conditions and events that occur. You will learn the relationships between Force, mass, and acceleration, basic principles of light and radio, optics, and other fundamental physical principles, being able to apply them to simple real life situations.
Often, people attribute what happens in this world to some kind of magic, luck, spiritual influences and other intangibles. Not knowing basic physical principles can cause those ignorant of physics to come to horribly incorrect conclusions. Journalists, celebrities, politicians can do great harm by spouting opinion instead of measured reason. By the end of this quarter you should be able to analyze events from a position of understanding rather than simply accepting statements from self-appointed "leaders". Physics deals with: "What happens to these things when you do this to them."
The course will include a significant amount of reading, calculating, and experimenting from which you will draw conclusions and answer specific questions. I do not expect you to be math wizards. As we begin the quarter you should be able to calculate using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. I hope you have a basic understanding of algebra. If not, we will work on those aspects of algebra you will need. You will learn how to use the mathematical tools necessary to do the physics of this class. From the lectures you will find out what is most important and therefore, where to spend most of your time. You should read diligently and experiment with each principle as we study it. If you don't understand something, ask a question. "I haven't the foggiest idea what you are talking about." is a perfectly good question. There is no such thing as a dumb question (except those asked in some press conferences I've seen)
You cannot learn important concepts by simply exposing yourself to them once. We will try for three exposures to each issue. First you read the book. Confusing? Probably. Then we talk about it in class and I answer your questions as they come up. Then you go back to the book and then it should make sense. It takes three exposures most of the time. Don't be satisfied by just reading lightly, skipping that which you don't understand. If you study well your grade will not disappoint you.
Each day in lab we will cover the principles including the math that is needed. Then you will perform the experiment noting the results as you go. You may have to repeat some of them. Then you document your conclusions: "What did I just observe? What did I just learn?" You will be amazed at how much you can understand by following the standard processes.
Read the book, do the exercises, and let me know how well you are doing.
What you are expected to do in the lab?. In the lab you will take on specific physics problems, documenting each step of the development process.
Each laboratory exercise will lay out a specific problem to solve. You will use standard techniques to find a solution to the problem. You will then perform the experiment and report on your results.
Laboratory Report format:Most lab will require considerable prior preparation. Please show the instructor your lab prep documentation at the beginning of the lab.
Weekly schedule of events.
Complete reading before the week noted!Assignments are due on the first class day of the week noted. (eg. Assignment 1 is due on 8 Jan)
How do you know when you are done? How well have you done?
Basically, all the examinations will ask: "If we do this to that thing, what should we expect to happin... and why?" Tests will be a mix of objective (math) and subjective (communications) questions to determine whether you understand the principles. I will give liberal partial credit for the parts you do well even if the final answer may not be correct. Basically, you just have to show me that you understand and can apply the principles.
The easiest way to show me that you understand (and that you deserve a good grade) is to communicate. The person that asks lots of questions will generally get the benefit of the doubt when it comes time to assign grades. If you are always present and ask questions you will most likely do well. I will never ask you why you are absent. I don't like being an attendance cop so don't bother with an excuse. I have found, though, that people who are absent a lot do very poorly on the tests and in the lab. If the numbers add up to a poor grade and it turns up that you've been absent a lot, don't expect much compassion. Since I test on what we've discussed in class as well as on the book, more than two absences per quarter is usually too much. If you are absent, get someone to take notes for you and discuss what you've missed with classmates. I will spend significant one-on-one with you as needed after you've talked to a classmate about the class you missed. It is your responsibility to catch up on what you've missed. "I wasn't here the day you talked about that" isn't a valid excuse for not knowing something.
Homework will be announced or handed out in class. Homework is due the Monday following its assignment. Lab reports are due the first day after each lab. A one full grade deduction may be made for each day late. No make-up labs or exams will be given unless prior arrangements are made. One lab is waived or becomes extra credit.
Since Physics is an experimental science you MUST satisfactorily complete the laboratory for the course. No lab reports will be accepted if you weren't in the lab actually performing your share of the experiment.
Lab is a combination of hands-on experience and application of principles. I expect you to record your data in an organized manner and to draw reasonable conclusions from what you do in lab. I expect clear, easy to read, well organized lab reports from you. Since the Lab is a hands-on experience class the primary means of evaluating your understanding will be for me to watch you in lab. The assignments are meant to focus your learning on specific important subjects but just because I haven't assigned a subject explicitly doesn't mean that you shouldn't know it. If it is in the reading assignment or lectures, it is important.
The Exams will sample the depth of your understanding in representative areas.
I reserve the right to change the day to day subject matter or the day a test is given. However, regardless of changes you are expected to keep up with the reading assignments.
Worst Case Grading criteria