Course: PHY 104
Instructor: Chris Palmer
Description of Course Goals and CurriculumStandard second semester physics course on electricity and magnetism geared toward engineering majors. Topics include electric and magnetic fields, Gauss’s Law, electric potential, circuits, induction, Faraday’s Law, impedance, waves, and light.
Learning From Classroom InstructionThe once a week lectures are very general and only give a basic overview of the topics. Class is where you are given structured instruction on the topics and problem solving. The textbook is also a very good resource for this course for understanding the material, especially if you have some exposure to the topics form high school. The best overall learning strategy for this course is to attend lecture for a good overview of the week’s topics, then read the textbook for deeper understanding. Then utilize class time for problem solving practice and answering questions you may have on the material. Labs are very time consuming and are ancillary to the exams and quizzes so I would just worry about getting them completed in as little time as possible.
Learning For and From AssignmentsPsets in this course are given online through ExpertTA, which is a terrible system as you can often get points off for semantic errors or for not understanding the wording of the questions. Question difficulty varies and is sometimes really easy/can be found from skimming the book or is really difficult and will require some advanced understanding that you’ll need to do some more in depth reading for. These questions are not the best material to prepare you for the exams and I would focus for studying purposes on the Friday packets and previous exam materials. Make sure to complete the Friday packets or to at least understand how to arrive at the solution as the Monday quizzes often take directly or only slightly differently from the packet questions. If you have a nice preceptor, they will also sometimes give you problems very similar to the quiz problems in class so make sure to write these down and understand how to solve them. Lab are relatively not difficult but are sometimes very time consuming but matter little towards your grade or for exams, again just get through them as fast as possible but make sure you try to get the most points as possible on the prelabs. Also beware as this course actually requires calculus knowledge unlike 103 to solve many problems so make sure you understand or at least review basic calc if you’re not currently taking/haven’t taken calc yet.
External ResourcesTake completing the Friday packets and previous exams seriously and go to office hours to understand how to complete them. The TA’s at the problem solving sessions are good at helping you understand the basic concepts involved in solving some of the problems and will often review material which you may have missed from class which is really helpful. There will also be other students there working on problems which makes getting through the material and understanding what’s going on much faster.
What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course SelectionThis is a very standard E&M physics course that covers topics you may have already encountered in high school. Teaching is across the board subpar but is really hit or miss depending on who you get. It is very important to get a good preceptor as if you get stuck with a terrible one this class will be miserable and you should make every effort to switch. Do some research ahead of time and maybe even email a preceptor if you know they’re good and ask if they know which section they’ll be teaching so you can get into it during course selection.
General Physics II