Physics 114 Principles of Physics II

Professor: Laura Van Wormer

Office: Gerstacker 108, x5249
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Text: Physics, Giancoli, 6th Ed.
Office hours: MWF 10:00-11:30, 2:45-4:00
Class: 1:15-2:35 MWF, Colton 2
Lab: Colton 17, R, 8:30-11:30 or 1:30-4:30

Links: Grading Contract

WarmUps by chapter: 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 26 31

Homework by chapter: 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 26 27 28 30 31

Class will be a mixture of lecture, group work, discussions, activities and demonstrations, and its success will depend on your participation. Questions are welcome ANY TIME.


I have several goals for this course, some are academic and some are not. The non-academic goals that are very important to me are showing you how much fun physics can be, how relevant it is to everyone's daily life and that you CAN do it!

There are many skills and ideas that I hope you will have understood and mastered this term. The concepts that you will learn to understand and apply are:

  • electric and magnetic fields and forces, what causes them, where they exist in our universe and how they behave
  • how and why electric circuits work
  • what light is and how it behaves in different situations
  • we will begin exploring some modern physics including relativity, quantum physics, atomic and nuclear physics

Among the skills you will practice and apply are:

  • critical thinking
  • problem solving techniques
  • mathematical skills such as setting up and solving algebraic equations, working with trigonometric functions, finding the correct direction for a vector quantity and determining the correct significant digits and units for a quantity

In lab we will continue to work on developing and applying knowledge of concepts and practice hands-on skills:

  • acquiring reproducible data
  • interpreting them within a theoretical framework
  • understanding the application and limitation of experimental data and theoretical frameworks to the natural world
  • wiring and understanding circuits, exploring charge, lenses, light, and radioactivity
  • analyzing uncertainties and errors on measurements and calculations
  • writing and re-writing a scientific paperusing Excel and Word


Your grades will be made up of many parts such as WarmUps, homework, lab and exams.  You will set the percentages for each, within reason (see grading contract).


WarmUps are to help you start thinking about what we are going to cover in class and to let me know what you understand and what we need to work on. Because they are to help you focus on important or difficult concepts we haven't yet covered, they will not be graded on whether the answer is correct, but instead on whether you have given a thoughtful and complete response. I will use them to structure what we do in class each day, so they will be due by 10 am on the day we are to cover that material. If you click on the above link, you will find the WarmUps. Copy and paste the WarmUps into an email message and answer after each question, then you can send it to me when you are satisfied, just as you would any email message. If you have questions about how to do this or if something appears to be not working, please let me know immediately.

WarmUps will be graded according to how much thought you put into the question and not on whether it is right or wrong. A wrong (or right!) answer with an exceptional, thoughtful and complete response will earn a 10. A well thought out answer, right or wrong, will earn a 9. An answer with little or no explanation will earn a 6. If a WarmUp is not turned in or is turned in late, it will be counted as a 0.


I believe that understanding physics is nearly impossible without using and applying the concepts, therefore homework will be assigned for every chapter. The above link has the homework assignments for the semester. I encourage talking with others in order to learn and understand the problems, but suggest that when you write up the solutions you do that on your own. If you truly understand it, you should be able to do and explain it in your own words.

If you work consistently and are willing to ask questions, weight homework strongly. I will work with you to arrive at understanding of every question you bring me and will help with any problem. That means that it is possible to get 100% on every homework assignment. However that also means you will have had to try it in advance so that if you have questions, we have time to work on it.

Homework will be graded on a 10 point scale. A 10 will be awarded for completely correct answers, including units, significant digits and direction, if applicable.  I will award partial credit, with the lowest grade being a 4, if the problem was truly attempted.  A 4 means that I acknowledge that you tried, but unfortunately you were on the wrong track. A 0 means that a problem wasn't attempted, no effort or thought was apparent or an answer was provided with no work being shown.


Your lab grade will be based on a formal laboratory report and its re-write as well as on your understanding of and effort in the individual labs, as determined by the pre-lab, questioning at the end of lab and your lab notebooks. At the end of each lab, the instructor will have a discussion with each group to answer questions and make sure you understood what the lab was about: what was measured, why it was measured, how the results were determined and what they mean. You will be required to buy a lab notebook (a composition book, quadrille ruled) and to keep your lab notes, data and analysis in those notebooks. They will be left in lab and checked by TA's.  You are welcome to use your notebook from last semester.

Always come to your lab section unless you have previously made arrangements with BOTH lab instructors. EVERY lab must be satisfactorily completed. If you do not pass the lab portion of the class, you do not pass the course.

Physics 114/214: Spring 2012 Lab Schedule



1  (9-13 Jan.)
(1) Electrostatics
2  (16-20 Jan.)
(2) Electric Potential and Field Mapping
3  (23-27 Jan.) (3) Ohm's Law
4  (30 Jan.-3 Feb.)
(4) RC Circuits
5  (6-10 Feb.)   
(5) e/m of the Electron*
6  (13-17 Feb.) 
No Lab
7  (20-24 Feb.)    
(6) Electromagnetic Induction
8  (27 Feb.-3 Mar.)
(7) Focal Length of Lenses
(5-9 Mar.)
9  (12-16 Mar.)
(8) Diffraction and Interference
10 (19-23 Mar.)
(9) CD Groove Spacing
11 (26-30 Mar.)  
(10) Hydrogen Spectrum with Grating Spectroscope
12 (2-6 Apr.) (11) Half-Life of In-116

*(Formal lab report for this experiment due on Monday Feb. 20)

Your lab grade will be based on a formal lab report and its rewrites (50%) and on your understanding and effort in the individual labs, as determined by questioning at the end of lab and your lab notebooks.  At the end of each lab, the instructor will have a discussion with each group to answer questions and make sure you understand what was done: what was measured, why it was measured, and how the results were determined.  You will be required to buy a lab notebook (a composition book, quadrille ruled) and to keep your lab notes, data and analysis in those notebooks.  (You may use your 113/213 lab notebook if there is sufficient room left).  Notebooks will be left in lab and checked by the TA's.


There will be two exams during the term and a final. All will be closed book, closed notes.  The final exam is comprehensive and will be Monday, Apr. 9 starting at noon.

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