PHY303K–SPRING 2015 — MWF at 8 a.m. — Prof. Swinney



SYLLABUS:  https://web2.ph.utexas.edu/~303kcom/swinney/PHY303K-Syllabus_Spring_15.htm

FOR EACH CLASS: Move to the center of each row of seats, leaving no seats vacant. This course is full and students are wait-listed.

AFTER EVERY CLASS: Prof. Swinney, Orrin Shindell, and Bailey Sikorski will be available to answer questions in the hallway just outside the classroom


SUNDAY REVIEW: 4-6 pm, RLM 4.102 (Shindell)
WEDNESDAY: 9-10 am, RLM 14.224 (Swinney)
THURSDAY: 5-7 pm (Shindell 5-6), Sikorski, 6-7), NOA 1.126
FRIDAY: 10-11 am, RLM 14.224 (Swinney)
SATURDAY: 4-6 pm, ART 1.110 (Sikorski)

QUEST: Registration in UT QUEST is required. Quest will be used for homeworks class clicker quizzes and evening tests. Read QUEST FAQs to get started: https://quest.cns.utexas.edu/student

INSTRUCTOR: Professor Harry Swinney, Department of Physics, swinney@chaos.utexas.edu, office: RLM 14.224, http://chaos.utexas.edu/people/faculty/harry-l-swinney, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_swinney

GRADUATE TEACHING ASSISTANT: Orrin Shindell, oshindell@physics.utexas.edu, office RLM 14.218.
Orrin will address questions about ambiguities in the Learning Module questions and Homework problems.

UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING ASSISTANT: Bailey Sikorski, basikorski@yahoo.com.

Your PHY 303K teaching team:

TUESDAY EVENING required DISCUSSION SESSIONS, RLM 7.116, starting January 27th:

Unique 56135 (6-7 pm), 56140 (7-8 pm), 56145 (8-9 pm), 56150 (9-10 pm).

The Discussion Sessions are led by Orrin Shindell with the assistance of Bailey Sikorski. Before attending a Tuesday Discussion Session, download python 2.x and vpython from http://vpython.org/ on your laptop, home computer, or university computer. For the Discussion Sessions, at least two persons in each group of four persons should bring a laptop.

THIS COURSE may be used to fulfill three hours of the Natural Science and Technology (Part I or Part II–CORE component 030 or 031) component of the university core curriculum and addresses the following four core objectives established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: (1) communication skills, (2) critical thinking skills, (3) teamwork, and (4) empirical and quantitative skills.

This is a first semester calculus-based engineering mechanics course that uses the modern Matter and Interactions curriculum, which emphasizes four fundamental principles that form the basis of science and engineering: momentum, energy, angular momentum, and entropy. Frequent connections are made between the macroscopic and microscopic (e.g. gases as collections of colliding molecules, Einstein’s model of a crystalline solid), demonstrating the universality of the fundamental principles. The course introduces concepts from quantum physics, including quantization (e.g. the quantized harmonic oscillator) and concepts from relativity, including Einstein’s famous E=mc^2. The final topic of the semester is thermal equilibrium and entropy.

In the classroom the instructor and teaching assistants will provide personalized guidance and interaction as students work together on ‘clicker questions’?. The Tuesday evening Discussion Sessions are an integral part of the course; these sessions emphasize the development of systematic problem solving techniques.

TEXTBOOK: Matter and Interactions, volume I, 3rd Edition (NOT 2nd and NOT 4th !), by Chabay and Sherwood. The book is available from stores on the drag and from many online vendors; the book is available as a paperback and as an ebook for purchase and also for semester rental.

Bookmark matterandinteractions.org , which has much useful material including videos, lectures, and problems. Do NOT purchase the publisher’s homework software WebAssign because the cost of WebAssign includes a homework service that we will not use; instead we will use UT’s Quest homework system.

LEARNING MODULES on QUEST:   Assignments in Quest of material to be completed BEFORE CLASS, including text sections to be read and short clicker-type questions to answer online before coming to class.

i-CLICKERS will be used in class starting on Friday January 23rd.  Starting on Monday, January 26th, the clicker questions will count toward the semester grade. For a clicker session in a class,  50% of the clicker grade for that class will be given IF some response (right or wrong) is made for every clicker question.  The remaining 50% of the clicker grade will be pro-rated by the number of correct answers to the questions. For example, if there are four clicker questions with a response for all four questions but with only one correct response, the grade for the class is 62.5%=[50% +(1/4)50%].

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY: Using another person’s clicker is an example of academic dishonesty that is a violation of the UT Honor Code (http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/sjs/spot_honorcode.php). If a student is found to be using another student’s clicker, the names of both students will be submitted to Student Judicial Services (http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/sjs/) for appropriate action.

Clicker purchase: Either the basic i-Clicker (about $10 online) or the i-Clicker-2 will work fine.  i-clickers are available new or used from many places online, and are available locally at the UT-coop and elsewhere.

Register your i-clicker in QUEST by entering its serial number. Quest will give you a number (1-150) for your clicker; you will need this number in class.  DO NOT REGISTER ON THE i-CLICKER WEB SITE. . If you buy a used clicker with a serial number worn off, then determine the serial number in class by punching a i-clicker key and looking on the screen to see your serial number light up.

The Quest content delivery and homework server system is maintained by the College of Natural Sciences. After the 12th day of class, when you log into Quest you will be asked to pay via credit card on a secure payment site. You have the option to wait up to 30 days to pay while still continuing to use Quest for your assignments.  Address questions regarding fees to quest.fees@cns.utexas.edu.. Address questions regarding payments to quest.billing@cns.utexas.edu .

HOMEWORK: Due by 11:30 p.m. in the Quest system each Thursday and Sunday (except Sunday evenings before a Monday evening test). You may submit your answers one problem at a time, any time up to the due time for the homework set.   No homework will be accepted beyond the cutoff time.

ENTERING EXPONENTS IN QUEST: Use scientific notation, e.g. 3.569e-10, which means 3.569 times ten to the negative tenth power. The number -4375 can be written equivalently as -4.375e+3, or -4375, or -4375.000000

SIGNIFICANT DIGITS: Do not round off. Answers will be graded “correct” if they are within 1%, except for the answer zero, which must be exact. To be safe, use four digits, as in the examples above.

TESTS will be at 7-9 p.m. on MONDAYS in  WEL 1.308 on >>> February 16, March 9, April 13, and May 4 <<<<<

All four tests are required. NO makeup tests or alternative test times will be available — check your course schedule for other courses NOW. The tests are a required part of the course, as listed in the UT Course Schedule that you had when you registered for the course.

Before taking a seat for the test, put cell phones and all other electronic devices in a backpack or bag at the front of the classroom. Test questions will be answered on Scantron “bubble” sheets, which will be provided. Each test packet will also include a sheet with relevant formulas and scratch paper.

FINAL EXAM: Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 7-10 p.m.

GRADING: Semester grades will use the plus-minus grading scale. The contributions to the grade include:
  • Learning Modules due before each class begins (4 drops) 4%
  • Class clicker quizzes [Quest] (4 drops) 8%
  • Class written work (1 drop) 2%
  • Homework [Quest online]  (3 drops) 8%
  • Tuesday Discussion sessions:  Model Reflection [Quest online] (1 drop)  5%
  • Tuesday Discussion sessions Participation (1 drop): 5%
  • Tests (4 tests, 1 drop) 32%
  • Written questions on Tests (4 tests, 1 drop) 2%
  • Final Exam 34%

TEST ABSENCES: If an evening test is missed, it will be the “dropped’ test, unless the absence is excused, e.g. documentation is provided  within one week attesting for example to a broken leg, pneumonia, car wreck,  jail term. For such an excused absence the final exam grade will be substituted for the missing test grade.


(1) Before class: Read the textbook assignment and complete the Learning Module.

(2) Bring your i-Clicker and calculator to every class. It’s also helpful to bring your textbook.

(3)  Arrive for class in time to start promptly at 8 a.m. Late arrivals and early departures are disruptive.

COACHING TABLES: Starting on Monday, February 2nd, assistance with course material and homework will be provided by physics graduate students, 9-5 weekdays in RLM  near the elevators on the 5th floor (one floor up from ground level).

STUDY SESSIONS: You are encouraged to organize study groups. You can ask teaching assistants Orrin or Bailey to help you form a study session.  You can also reserve a Group Study Room on the web site  www.lib.utexas.edu/pcl/roompolicy.html

LABORATORY: The 103M lab is a separate course with a separate grade.