Physics 211: General Physics I, Mechanics
Spring 2009 Syllabus and Exam Policy

Instructor: Dr. Michael R. Gallis
Office: C112
Phone:(570) 385-6053
                      Office Hours:
   MW 9:00-11:00
   T 10:15-12:00
   or by appointment
Problem Sessions W 12:00-1:00

Calculus-based introduction to classical mechanics, including such topics as: measurement, dimensional analysis, motion in one-dimension, vectors, motion in 2 and 3 dimensions, relative and circular motion, force and dynamics, Newton's Laws, friction, kinetic energy, work, potential energy, energy conservation, systems of particles, center of mass and momentum, elastic and inelastic collisions, rotation (moments of inertia), rolling motion, torque, angular momentum, static equilibrium, gravitational force and Kepler's laws, gravitational potential energy, oscillations, waves (transverse and longitudinal, superposition of waves).

This course is designed to provide students with a working knowledge of the elementary physics principles mentioned above, as well as their applications, and to enhance their conceptual understanding of physical laws. Students attend two lectures, one recitation session, and one two-hour lab/activity period per week. Use of a combination of computer-based and traditional lab exercises is expected and collaborative learning exercises will be used in both lab and recitation settings. The introduction of data acquisition and analysis methods (often making use of modern computer tools) will be stressed in the laboratory/activity period. Course evaluation is based on a combination of regular homework sets and/or quizzes, reports from the lab/activity period, midterm and final exams and other evaluative tools. The course is an important prerequisite for later work in many science and engineering disciplines.

-Penn State Undergraduate Degree Bulletin

Materials needed for this course are:  University Physics by Young and Freedman, 11th edition (with Modern Physics, ISBN 0-8053-9179-7),  a TI-89 calculator or the equivalent. Lecture notes and additional materials may be downloaded from the Physics Web Server at As Math140 is a co-requisite for this course, knowledge of the material to the level presented is also assumed. In addition to the required materials, it is highly recommended that students keep a problem notebook (3 ring loose leaf notebook or binder) for homework problems, sample tests and similar materials. This will provide a benefit the student during problem sessions and occasional open note quizzes, as well as for reviewing for the exams.

As with any university course, student preparation is essential. The student is expected to read the material in the text before the corresponding lecture, and is expected to review the appropriate material, including handouts, before lab. The student is expected to attend every class, and will be held responsible for all work covered in the course. Students are expected to work every assigned problem as a minimum. There may be some additional homework problems assigned during the class.

Grades will be determined by a combination of midterm exams, quizzes and lab reports.  Failure to take a scheduled exam will result in a grade of zero. Make-up exams will be given only in the event of illness (confirmed by a physician) or death in the immediate family. Lab reports are due on the Monday after the completion of the experiment, by 3:00 pm.   Labs turned in after this time will be assessed an escalating late penalty of 1 point per day. Missed labs must be made up (it is the student's responsibility to see that arrangements are made). Missed quizzes will receive a grade of 0.  There are no makeup quizzes. (However, the student's lowest quiz grade will be dropped before calculation of their quiz average).

Students will be supplied a copy of the community created equation sheet  for each exam to aid the student in remembering complex equations.  Physical constants needed for exams will be provided by the instructor. It is strongly advised that the students contribute to and work with the equation sheets as they do the homework, so that they are familiar with the equations and their appropriate use. Sample test questions are available online.

Students are expected to maintain the highest level of academic integrity, and maintain professional standards of conduct. The University's academic policy statement can be found at and the University's Code of Conduct can be found at  Students are expected to abide by the Penn State Principles:

Classroom Policy:

Students are expected to uphold their share of responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment.  Students are expected to attend and participate in every class.  Students are to arrive before the beginning of class so that class may begin at the scheduled time, and are not to disrupt the class by packing their books before the instructor has ended the class.  Cellphone are to be turned off during class.   Any cellphone that rings audibly or is used by a student (for calls or sending/receiving text messages) in class may be confiscated until the next class meeting.  Students should not be having side conversations with their neighbors during class.  Students who are persistently disruptive in class will be asked to leave the class, and may face disciplinary actions. 

Students with disabilities, whether physical, learning, or psychological, who believe that they may need accommodations in this class, are encouraged to contact Disability Services as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion. Please schedule an appointment to meet with the Disability Services Liaison (570-385-6127) to verify your eligibility for any classroom accommodations and for academic assistance related to your disability. The Office of Disability Services is located in the Counseling Office, Room 106, Student Services Building.

Grading Policy:
1. The grade will be determined by three midterm exams (100 points each), a comprehensive final (200 points), a 100 point laboratory grade based upon the laboratory reports, and a 50 point quiz grade.
2. Grades will be determined approximately by the standard cutoffs(90% for an A, 80% for a B, ...). The Instructor will assign plus/minus grades as a refinement of this scale at the end of the semester.

Physics 211 Course Outline and Assignments  
Topic Reading Exercises
Measurement    Ch1:1-6 Q1,3,9-11 E2,5,12,14,24,29
1 D Motion Ch2:1-5 Q1,3,4,6,9-11,16 E1,3,10,12,13,22,23,25,36,38,39,43,61,76,82
Vectors Ch1:7-10 Q13,16,18-23 E30,31,34,35,38,45,47,50,52,54,55,72,82,95
2,3 D Motion Ch3:1-5 Q3-6,10-13 E1,2,5,9,10,17,19,23,28,33,34,52,54,64
Exam I
Newton's Laws Ch4:1-6 Q1,2,6-9,12-15,25,26 E1-3,9,10,15,19,22,24,30,34,45,46
Applying Newton's Laws Ch5:1-4 Q1,2,6,10,12,13,23,24 E3,7,12,15,16,19,23,28,30,35,46,47,49,56,61,89,94,95,114,118
Work and Kinetic Energy Ch6:1-4 Q1-5,10,12,16,18,20 E4,5,10,24,28-31,45,47,57,62,63,76,81,87
Conservation of Energy Ch7:1-5 Q1,3-5,13,16,17 E1,6,7,12,15,20,21,25,29,30,33,34,37,42,63,75
Exam II
Momentum and Impulse Ch8:1-5 Q2,5-7,9,14,18 E1,8,9,12,15,16,19,27,29,30,35,36,38,39,58,65,72,94,95
Rigid Body Rotation Ch9:1-6 Q1,6,7,9,10,12,14,19 E1,2,4,10,11,13,22-24,37,41,45,47,65,67,85,86,89
Dynamics of Rotation   Ch10:1-7 Q2,5,6,8,10,21,22,24,27 E1,3,8,13,17,20,23,27,29,34,38,39,48,54,57,61,66,70,92
Exam III
Equilibrium and Elasticity Ch11:1-5 Q4-6,8,16 E1,2,4,11-14,23,25,42,72
Gravitation    Ch12:1-6 Q1,3,4,9,11-13,15 E 1,2,6,7,14,15,18,23,25,30,53,55,56,79
Periodic Motion    Ch13:1-8 Q1-3,5,9,11,16 E 2,3,5,8,12,13,24,31,41,49,51,52,62
Waves    Ch15:1-8 Q3-5,10 E2,3,5,12,14,15,31,36,37,46
Final (cumulative)
Laboratory Experiments (tentative schedule)
0. Measurement 6. PE-KE
1. Acceleration of Gravity     7. Momentum
2. Vectors 8. Centripetal Force
3. Ballistic Motion 9. Rotational Inertia
4. Newton's Laws 10. Young's Modulus   
5. Friction 11. Waves
addition/modification/deletion of labs is at the discretion of the instructor