Physics 100  

SCC Science Div.

Paul Lecoq - Instructor


Home Phone  326-5613


1:30-2:30 T, Th, F  Lecture/Discussion
12:30-2:30 M, W   Lab

Plus at least 12 hours of study & homework outside of class per week

Rquired materials:
Text:  Conceptual Physics ninth or tenth edition by Paul G. Hewett
One packet of graph paper
Scientific calculator

Optional Materials:
Practicing Physics (ninth or tenth edition)


You are expected to be able to do this before completing this Course
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."   



What you are expected to do in this class?

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.

Back to Table of Modules

Read the book, do the exercises, and let me know how well you are doing.

  • You are to follow the reading assignments in the table below without being reminded as the course goes on. \                        Don't expect me to remind you.
  • You will convince yourself that you can answer the questions and do the basic exercises at the end of each assigned chapter.
  • You will do the assignments assigned to you and turn them in on time.
  • You will have three Midterm exams and one final exam.
  • If you have had extensive experience and find the assignments unchallenging you may submit a contract to me to do other, more challenging, projects in their place as long as the substitute projects cover all the required material. See me about this.

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.
Date Name
Lab Assignment number, Title
Brief statement of the problem to be solved
Describe the setup:(if it is not given to you)
Describe the procedure (if it is not given to you)
Record your measurements and observations
Record your conclusions
If questions are attached, answer them

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)


Reading Lecture
Monday & Wednesday

Normally Lab

1    ThF

3 Jan
How much math do you know?
  Newton's first law

Ch 1,2   W only


2  TThF

8 Jan
  Linear Motion
  Newton's Second Law
  Newton's Third Law
Ch 3,4,5   MW
 Lab 1

Lab 2
Free fall

3  TThF

17 Jan
Exam 1 Ch 3,4
Ch 6,7   W only
Lab 3
Effects of air resistance

4  TThF

22 Jan
  Rotational Motion
Ch 7,8   M W
Lab 4
Conservation of momentum

Lab 5
Effects of air resistance

5  TThF

29 Jan
Exam 2 Ch 5,6
Properties of matter
Ch 12   M W
Lab 6
Conservation of Monmentum

Lab 7
Balistic Pendulum

6  TThF

5 Feb
Properties of Matter
  Gasses & Plasmas
  Temperature, Heat & Expansion
  Heat transfer
Ch 14,15,16   M W
Lab 8
Hookes Law

Lab 9
Archimedes Principle

7  TThF

12 Feb
  Vibrations & Waves
Ch 19,20   M W
Lab 10
Coeff of Volumetric Expansion

Lab 11
String Vibrator

8  TThF

21 Feb
Exam 3 Ch 12, 13-16,19-21

  Reflection & Refraction
  Light waves

Ch 20,28,29   M W

Lab 12
Resonance of air columns


9  TThF

26 Feb
The atomic nature of matter
  Light emission
  Light Quanta
Ch 11,30,31   M W
 Lab 13
Ripple tank Phenomena

Wksheet 1
Reflection, Refraction
& EM waves

10  TThF
5 March
Atomic and Nuclear Physics
  The atom and the quantum
ch 32   M W
Wksheet 2
Light Waves

Worksheet 4

11  TThF
12 March
Atomic and Nuclear Physics
  The atomic nucleus and Radioactivity
  Nuclear Fission and Fusion
Ch 33,34   M W
10  T
19 March
Final Examinations Week

Final exam Tuesday 20 March 2:30-3:15


* Each asterisk stands for one day missed that week for holidays or other reason.


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

Three exams 300
One comprehensive final 150  
Homework(10 each) 100
9 Labs 90  
Total 640
Exams - ~90% for 4.0 60% for 0.0
  Approximate grading criteria
4.0 97
3.0 84
2.0 70
1.0 60
0.0 <56


Back to the Table of Modules

Lab Assignment 1


To Op Amp Exercise


Back to the Table of Modules