Spring 2009


 Section 1

Lectures: MWF 9 - 950, Room 203, physics building

Instructor: Michael Fowler, Professor of Physics
Office in room 307, physics building. Office telephone 434-924-6579

Email address:
Office Hours: Wednesday (2 - 4 pm) or by appointment. You may come by any time of the day to ask me a short 5 minute question, and if I am in my office, I will try to help you.


Final Exam: Friday, May 8, 2009, 1400-1700


Fowler's lecture material


Section 2

Lectures: MWF 10 - 1050, Room 203, physics building

Instructor: Stephen T. Thornton, Professor of Physics
Office in room 305, physics building. Office telephone 434-924-6808

Email address:
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday (1:30-2:30 pm) or by appointment. You may come by any time of the day to ask me a short 5 minute question, and if I am in my office, I will try to help you.


Final Exam: Thursday, May 7, 2009, 0900-1200

Section 3

Lectures: MWF 11 - 1150, Room 203, physics building

Instructor: Eugene Kolomeisky, Associate Professor of Physics
Office in room 322, physics building. Office telephone 434-924-6809

Email address:
Office Hours: Wednesday (12 - 2 pm) or by appointment. You may come by any time of the day to ask me a short 5 minute question, and if I am in my office, I will try to help you.


Final Exam: Monday, May 4, 2009, 0900-1200


This is the first of a two-semester course sequence (142E, 241E) that is typically taken by engineering students that covers mechanics, oscillations, waves and sound, thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, and optics. The third course in this sequence in 242, a modern physics course that is a technical elective for engineering students. You may take PHYS 242 either during the spring semester or during the summer as a distance learning course. It is calculus based.


We believe that it is important to obtain conceptual understanding of physics and problem solving. We will emphasize both. Besides the physics, we will also teach you important skills that will be useful in engineering and other walks of life: including abstraction, idealization, approximation, and mathematical/conceptual modeling of simple phenomena. Each week involves attending three one-hour lectures. Associated with the course is a workshop laboratory, Physics 142W, which is a separately graded and administered course. All questions concerning the workshop laboratory should be directed to Dr. Dukes.


Syllabus - click here


Physics for Scientists & Engineers, 4th edition (2008)
by Douglas Giancoli
This textbook comes in several versions:
Chapters 1-37, ISBN 0-13-227559-7. This is the one we recommend. It will be available in the UVa bookstore. This is the hardback version. If you plan to lug the text to class, you may want to purchase a paperback version elsewhere. Paperback versions come in Vol. I and II. We will cover Chapters 1-20 in PHYS 142E and 21-35 in 241E. We will not cover Chapters 36-44 in these two courses. You probably will want the 4th edition.

We are also arranging the bookstore to purchase copies of the Student Study Guide & Selected Solutions Manual for this textbook. This guide/manual is authored by Frank L.H. Wolfs. The ISBN number for Vol. I for this course is 978-0-13-227324-4. If you expect to have difficulty with this physics course, we recommend you obtain this guide/manual.

Student Response System Transmitters or Clickers

Every student will be required to have an iclicker in class to personally respond to the lecture opening reading quiz and to conceptual questions throughout the lecture. A part of your final grade will be derived from the opening multiple choice quiz that will be based on the reading assignment for that lecture and from your satisfactory participation in the 3-6 conceptual questions given each day. The clickers allow you to respond anonymously. We plan to form a Student Advisory Committee composed of class members to help us decide how much to count the clicker responses towards your final grade. We expect it will be 5-10% .These transmitters are for sale at the Newcomb Hall University Bookstore. You probably will be able to sell the transmitters back to the bookstore when the class is finished, but we cannot guarantee that. Click here for further important information.


Your grade in PHYS 142E will be determined by (subject to change)

Clickers (class participation)
3 midterm exams
Final exam

Note: No make-up exams are given! With a valid excuse BEFORE the exam, the remaining elements of the course will be appropriately averaged. Without a valid excuse before the exam, the exam grade will be a zero. We follow official university policy concerning valid excuses (official university travel, religious holidays, personal illness, or death/illness of an immediate family member).

All exams (midterm and final) will be a mixture of conceptual questions and homework-like numerical problems. All exams will be multiple choice. You will be allowed to bring in one 8 1/2" x 11" size piece of paper for each exam with anything written on it that you choose, both front and back.

You must have a calculator for the exams, but no other electronic devices will be allowed. This includes, but is not limited to, computers, PDAs, cell phones, smart phones, etc. The calculator you use may not be one that is incorporated into one of these latter devices. Any use of these forbidden devices on an exam will be considered an honor offense.


You will have homework due weekly. It will be done using the Internet service WebAssign. The homework will normally be due weekly on WebAssign on Friday morning at 5 am. You will both find your homework and submit your homework answers on WebAssign. See the Introduction and General Information for more information.

Link to WebAssign for UVa students and faculty. Look here for homework. Your username and password are the same as your UVa email account.

Student Guide to WebAssign. Look here if you need help in using WebAssign. NOTE: Sections 1, 2, and 3.3 do not apply to UVa students accessing WebAssign via WebAssign for UVa link.  UVa folks use their CMS username and password to log in.

You typically will receive 10 submissions on WebAssign to obtain the correct answer. This means the average homework score in the class will be very high. Many of you will obtain 100%, and the average score is likely to be near 95%. This means your grade will suffer considerably if you do not do the homework. We believe it is essential to success in this class.

We encourage you to try every problem by yourself for the first 3 or so submissions. Then perhaps work with another student or form a study group. The homework is not pledged, but you serve yourself a great disjustice if you do not do it yourself. Do not be surprised if you sometimes see a question similar to the homework on a midterm or final exam. WebAssign uses random numbers so that each student has different numbers and answers for your homework.

Click on the following for further information:

Introduction and General Information. It is very important for you to read this.

Office Hours. There is lots of help scheduled for you to help solve your homework.