Physics 221 Syllabus, Fall 1999
St. Lawrence University
Daniel W. Koon, Instructor

Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers, John R. Taylor and Chris D. Zafiratos, Prentice Hall.
In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, John Gribbin, Bantam New Age.
Experimentation, D. C. Baird, Prentice Hall.
Standard Math Tables, Zwillinger, CRC Press.
Mr. Tompkins in Paperback, Chapter 1, George Gamow, Cambridge University Press (to be distributed in class).

LEARNING PHYSICS: Much of what you will learn in this course is counter-intuitive and contradicts preconceived notions we all have had about how the Universe operates. To overcome these notions, it is important to confront them. This requires a lot of practise. If you expect to learn this material simply from coming to class, doing the homework, and going to lab, you may be in for a disappointment. You will get some of this practise in the laboratory, but you need to do more. Read the sections of the book listed below before each lecture. Do the homework. Do extra problems. Discuss problems with classmates, the tutor, and the prof. Check my homepage and the Science Library for ADDITIONAL RESOURCES, including an exam file.

ATTENDANCE: The instructor reserves the right to subtract one-half of a letter grade for each absence beyond the first three. I do not expect you to learn all of your physics from my magnificent lectures, just as I would not expect you to learn it all simply from reading every sentence of the text, or by doing every homework problem. However, each one of these items you miss diminishes the understanding you are likely to gain of the course material. I will use the Quizzes (See below) to check attendance.

EXAMS: There will be three exams during regular class time during the semester, Friday, Sept. 17, Wednesday, Oct. 20, and Monday, Nov. 15, plus a Final Exam, Thursday, Dec. 16, at 1:30.

QUIZZES: There will be a brief quiz once a week on the reading assignment for that day. Thus it is important to read the day's assigned material before class.

ESSAYS ON THE READINGS: In addition to Taylor and Zafiratos, I am assigning readings from two books, George Gamow's "Mr. Tompkins in paperback" and Gribbin's "In Search of Schrödinger's Cat", both of which I hope will help you develop a conceptual understanding of both relativity and quantum mechanics. The reading schedule for both is given on the next page. I will ask you to write a brief essay each week that is based on questions coming from that week's assigned reading.

Your goal in writing a homework solution is to communicate what you understand and what you don't understand about the problem. I encourage you to write (scientists DO use complete sentences) about those points of the problem that confuse or interest you and to make commentary on the plausibility of your answers. You will receive credit for recognizing an answer is wrong and being able to explain why it is incorrect.
Homework will be assigned approximately weekly, mostly from textbook problems and the exam file.

GRADING POLICY: Your final average will be calculated from the following: 
Three semester exams
Laboratory *
Final Exam
Essays on the readings
92% and above
86% and above
80% and above
75% and above
70% and above
65% and above
60% and above
All exams, homeworks, and labs will be counted toward your final average. All cutoffs are exact: I do not round percentages up before calculating the final grade. Should you feel inclined to argue this point with me at the end of the semester, I reserve the right to dock you points for failing the syllabus-reading component of this course.
*Failure to complete the laboratory section of this course will automatically result in failure in this course.


8/27: Ch. 1:1-2 
Classical Relativity


8/30: Ch. 1.3-4 
9/1: Ch. 1.5-2.1 
Space and Time
9/3: Ch. 2.2-3 


9/6:  Ch. 2:4-5 
9/8: Ch. 2.6-7 
9/10: Ch. 2.8-9 
9/13: Ch. 3.1-2
Relativistic Mechanics
9/15: Review


9/20: Ch. 3.3-4
9/22: Ch. 3.5-6
9/24: Ch. 3.7-8
Gribbin, Ch. 1
9/27: Ch. 3.9-10
9/29: Ch. 4.1-2
10/1:  Ch. 4.3-4
Gribbin, Ch. 2
10/4: Ch. 4.5-6
10/6: Ch. 4.7-8
10/8:  Ch. 4.9-10
Gribbin, Ch. 3
10/11: Ch. 5.1-2
Quantization of Light
10/13: Ch. 5.3-4
Fall break
Gribbin, Ch. 4
10/18: Review
10/22: Ch. 5.5-6
Gribbin, Ch. 5
10/25: Ch. 5.7-6.1
Energy Levels
10/27:  Ch. 6.2-3
10/29: Ch. 6.4-5
Gribbin, Ch. 6
11/1: Ch. 6.6
11/3:  Ch. 6.7-8
11/5: Ch. 6.9-10
Gribbin, Ch. 7
11/8: Ch. 7.1-3
Matter Waves
11/10: Ch. 7.4-5
11/12: Review
Gribbin, Ch. 8
11/17:  Ch. 7.6-7
11/19: Ch. 7.8-9
Gribbin, Ch. 9
11/29: Ch. 7.10-8.1
Schrödinger's Equation, 1D
12/1: Ch. 8.2-3
12/3: Ch. 8.4-5
Gribbin, Ch. 10
12/6: Ch. 8.6-7
12/8: Ch. 8.8-9
12/10: Review
Gribbin, Ch. 11

Final Exam: Thursday, Dec. 16, at 1:30.