PHYS 212 – Spring 2011 – Section 1 (Honors)

book cover

Additional Material: A calculator with keys for the main functions used in scientific calculations (trig functions, square root, logs, inverse, square), and the value of π, is highly recommended.

Instructor: Dr Luca Bombelli

E-mail: bombelli"at"
Office: Lewis Hall 105
Office Hours: MWF 2:00 – 3:00 pm, or by appointment
Phone: (662) 915-5319; Fax: (662) 915-5045

Lecture: Lewis 109, MWF 11:00 – 11:50

Required Text: Raymond A Serway & John W Jewett Jr,
Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 8th Edition
, Brooks/Cole 2010,
(vol. 2, custom-made spiral-bound edition including Chapters 23–40).

You will also need access to the Enhanced WebAssign site for our course, (, with an access code that comes with the textbook. If you wish, you may purchase just the online package, which includes access to all of the content of the text plus the homework part of the site. More details on the WebAssign system and how to use it can be found here.


Prerequisites / Corequisites: This is the second course of a two-course sequence on calculus-based introductory physics, mainly for science and engineering majors; the companion course and prerequisite is PHYS 211. Students who enroll must also take, or have previously passed, the PHYS 222 lab or an equivalent lab course, and MATH 262 or an equivalent calculus II course; They should also be comfortable with algebra up to the solution of quadratic equations, and with the basics of trigonometry.

Subject: The bulk of the course can be divided into three parts: electricity, magnetism, and electromagnetic waves and optics. In electricity we cover electric forces, fields and potentials, and electric current and simple types of DC circuits. In magnetism we cover magnetic fields, electromagnetic induction, their application to AC circuits, Maxwell's equations and magnetism in matter. In the third part we cover the propagation of electromagnetic waves, image formation by mirrors and lenses, interference and diffraction. If there is time at the end of the semester, we will finish with a short introduction to special relativity and/or the first ideas of quantum theory.

Goals: Significant goals of this course are for students to improve their analytical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Part of this consists in "applying equations" and "getting the right result", but students will be evaluated on a broader set of skills, including the way they analyze a problem and relate it to general concepts, and the way they write about this.



Online HW ... 10%
Paper HW .... 10%
Quizzes ..... 10%
Test 1 ...... 15%
Test 2 ...... 15%
Test 3 ...... 15%
Final Exam .. 25%

Grade Ranges
(may change, but final values
will not be higher than these)

A: ... 88% and up
B: ....... 75-87%
C: ....... 60-74%
D: ....... 40-59%
F: ........ < 40%


Homework: Homework will be assigned, both to be done online and to be turned in on paper; announcements will be made in class and posted on this website. Homework turned in after the time it is due (both online and on paper) may not be accepted, but students may be excused from turning in an assignment if there is a valid reason. The lowest homework grade, or the first missed assignment (both online and on paper) will be dropped.

For more detailed rules on written homework assignments, click here.

Quizzes: Most weeks there will be a short quiz at the beginning of one of the lecture periods. Quizzes will consist of a few short conceptual questions and/or exercises, and students will have about ten minutes to complete them. The lowest quiz grade, or the first missed quiz, will be dropped.

Tests: There will be three midterm tests and a final exam, consisting of problems to be worked out as well as questions to be answered in writing. Students will be allowed to use a calculator and a 3"x 5" index card with equations, but no books or notes during the tests. The final exam will be comprehensive.

Honors College Academic Integrity Policy: Academic integrity is essential to all the values upon which the university is founded. Honors students must therefore embody academic honesty in all aspects of their work. A student with a documented case of plagiarism or academic cheating in an honors course will face the possibility of receiving the grade of F for the course and being dismissed from the Honors College. Specific consequences of such behavior will be determined by the administration and individual faculty member.

Honors College Attendance Policy: Honors courses are small classes, usually taught in seminar style with no more than fifteen students. They are reading, writing and discussion intensive. Student participation is therefore essential. In addition, the university commits extensive resources, especially in terms of faculty time, to these small classes. For these reasons, the Honors College has an attendance policy for all honors courses, both required and departmental. Students are entitled to two absences in Tuesday/Thursday classes and to three absences in Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes. Consequences of additional absences will be determined by the individual faculty member, but additional absences will lower your grade.

Additional Attendance Policy: Also, there will normally be no make-ups for missed tests, but one midterm grade may be dropped if there is a good reason for it.

Note: If a change in the class policies became necessary during the semester, it would be discussed in class before being implemented. After this discussion, the change would be posted on this website.

Website by Luca Bombelli <bombelli"at">; Content of this page last modified on 14 may 2011