PHY 232 - Fall 2005

PHY 232 - Fall 2005

Michigan State University

Instructor Information

Professor Bernard Pope
Office: 3233 BPS
Phone: (517) 355-9200 x 2127

Teaching Assistants:
Jiping Li
Yujie Chen
Andrew Stump


You are encouraged to ask questions in class and to the instructors in the help room to better understand the concepts and get assistance with problem solving. There are also very useful web-based discussion features described below under Homework Information.

Course Description and Prerequisites:

Class Hours

Tuesday, Thursday:
From 6:10 pm to 7:30 pm, room 1410 BPS,

Office Hours

Professor Pope's office hours:
To be arranged; in the Strosacker center (see below), or by appointment.

Help Room Hours

The Strosacker Physics Learning Center (1248 BPS) and/or the room 1240 BPS will be available for students to use for group study. Instructors for this course will staff the center during these hours. Many other classes also use the learning center, 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 may be approached if they are not busy.

Homework Information

- There will be twelve homework assignments. You will use the "Learning Online Network with CAPA" (LON-CAPA) computer system. The homework sets can be accessed at from any networked computer at any time using a web-browser. (Cookies and JavaScript must be enabled.) Log in using your MSU Pilot username and password. Select the PHY 232 class. The homework sets are stored in a folder called Homework Sets. If you are lost, click on the NAV button on the Remote Control: it always takes you to the main page, from which you can access the top level folders. There is also further help on using the system.

- Homework assignments will be open for entering solutions approximately 1 week before they are due. The closing time for each assignment will be the Tuesday night (actually 7:00 am on Wednesday morning!) shown in the schedule. Late homework will not be accepted: the closing time will be strictly enforced. Enter your solutions early to avoid computer/network woes close to the deadline.

- Here is a list of units to use with your homework solutions.

- A hint on making the computer happy: if the answer is an integer, it's usually safer to add a decimal point after the integer.

Communicating inside LON-CAPA:

- Questions about solving homework problems can also be discussed using the "feedback" feature of LON-CAPA. Click the FDBK button on the Remote Control. If you check "Contribution to course discussion of resource", your message will be visible to everyone in the course, and others in the course can respond to your questions. Posts can be made anonymously if you wish. (The instructors however will always be able to see the names.)

- You may communicate to Professor Pope your questions and comments about the course content, grades, or administrative problems. Hitting FDBK on the Remote Control and checking "Question/Comment/Feedback about course policy" but leaving "Contribution to Course Discussion" unchecked is the preferred way to do this. You can also send email to the address given above, or click the COM button on the Remote Control to use the simple email system inside LON-CAPA. These messages will only be seen by the recipient.

- You can also use COM to contact other members of the class by their MSU email address.

Exam Information

- There will be three 50-minute midterm exams during regular class hours. The exams will be closed book, but you may use one sheet of hand-written notes and equations. The exams will cover the Chapters indicated in the Schedule. Material from class, homework and reading assignments will be included. A student ID, calculator and #2 pencil are required to take the exam. 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.

- Evidence of an serious conflict (eg. a note from a doctor, your Dean, a judge(!) etc.) will be required to attend a makeup exam. Attendance at a makeup exam must be approved by the instructor before the end of the last class before the exam.

- There will be one 2-hour final exam. This will be cumulative and will cover material from the entire course including things covered in class, homework and reading assignments. The place and time for this exam will be communicated through LON-CAPA and announced in class. The final will be closed book, but you may use up to four sheets of hand-written equations or notes (one per midterm plus one more). Students must work individually. A student ID, calculator and #2 pencil are required. If necessary, there will be a make-up final for students with a clash in their final exam schedule. Attendance at the make-up final must be approved by the instructor before the end of the last scheduled class.

- Multiple-choice quizzes for extra credit will be given randomly in class during the semester.  You will need a H-ITT clicker to participate in the quizzes.

Course Schedule









Tue 8/30, Thur 9/1

Electric Forces and Electric Fields


Set 1, Due Tue 9/6


Tue 9/6, Thur 9/8

Electrical Energy and Capacitance


Set 2, Due Tue 9/13


Tue 9/13, Thur 9/15

Current and Resistance


Set 3, Due Tue 9/20


Tue 9/20, Thur 9/22

Direct Current Circuits


Set 4, Due Tue 9/27


Tuesday, 9/27

First Midterm Exam

(E100 Vet Med Center)

Covers Weeks 1-4



Thur 9/29



Set 5, Due Tue 10/11


Tue 10/4, Thur 10/6

Magnetic Fields




Tue 10/11, Thur 10/13

Induced Voltages and Inductance


Set 6, Due Tue 10/18


Tue 10/18, Thur 10/20

AC Circuits and EM Waves


Set 7, Due Tue 10/25


Tuesday, 10/25

Second Midterm Exam

(E100 Vet Med Center)

Covers Weeks 5-8



Thur 10/27

Reflection and Refraction of Light


Set 8, Due Tue 11/1


Tue 11/1, Thur 11/3

Mirrors and Lenses


Set 9, Due Tue 11/8


Tue 11/8, Thur 11/10

Wave Optics


Set 10, Due Tue 11/15


Tue 11/15, Thur 11/17

Optical Instruments


Set 11. Due Tue 11/22


Tuesday, 11/22

Third Midterm Exam

(E100 Vet Med Center)

Covers Weeks 9-12



Thursday, November 24

No class (Thanksgiving)




Tue 11/29, Thur 12/1

Relativity and Quantum Physics

26, 27

Set 12, Due Tue 12/6


Tue 12/6, Thur 12/8

Atomic and Nuclear Physics

28, 29



Tuesday, December 13

Final Exam, 5:45 - 7:45 pm

Covers entire course



Grading Information

Grades will be assigned based on scores in homework, exams and quizzes as follows:

- Homework: 10% of the grade; three Midterm Exams: 18% each; Final Exam: 36%

- Quiz scores will count as extra credit, but no more than 5%.

- The course will be graded on the absolute scale in the table below. The requirements for a given grade may be lowered, but will not be raised.


Grade Awarded








Minimum Average









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 homework, exams and class quizzes. Reading assignments are shown in the Course Schedule. The reading assignment should be completed before class.

Web Links

Physics Department Homepage:

Learning Resource Center (free tutors)


Serway and Faughn: College Physics (6th Edition), Publisher: Thomson
Brooks/Cole (2003). Second Semester version, or full text.