PHY 122 Course Syllabus

Physics 122 has two sections with different lecture periods: MWF 8:30-9:25 (section 1) and 10:40-11:35 (section 2). The room will accommodate only a certain number of students, and we cannot register any more into a filled section. Your clicker will only work in the section in which you are registered.


The workshop instructors are:

  • Prof. Roderich Engelmann, Physics D106, 632-8087. Roderich.Engelmann (at)
  • Prof. Matthew Dawber, Physics B105, 632-4978. Matthew.Dawber (at)
  • Prof. Peter Stephens, Physics B134, 632-8156. Peter.Stephens (at)

Of course, for the actual email addresses, substitute @ for (at). Each of the instructors will give all of the lectures for one third of the semester.

The labs are being managed by Professor Dawber.

The best way to reach your instructors is by email; put Physics 122 as the subject line of your message to get their attention.


The course calendar shows the material that will be covered in each workshop, the labs that will be running in a particular week and the dates of the midterm exams.


Most of the course administration will be done via Blackboard. Please make sure that you have access to your Stony Brook Blackboard account, that this course is listed therein (by the week before classes start), and that the email address listed in your Blackboard account is one that you monitor. You have to register your “clicker” via Blackboard; see below.

Format of course

This course differs from the usual format!!

Class meeting time is used for workshops with clicker quizzes in class for credit (10% of grade). You should come to the workshop prepared because you have viewed the recorded lecture and worked on (maybe not yet finished) the homework assignment. The workshop will be used to review material, and for quizzes based on eInstruction response pads (“clickers”, although they don't actually click).

The lectures you should watch before coming to workshop are recorded flash movies. Lectures for the first week covering Chapter 15 (“Electric Charge and Force”) are posted publicly here, so nobody should be concerned that they will fall behind because they have not been able to purchase the recorded lectures. The Lecture Notes and Videos for the whole course can be downloaded from A serial number can be purchased for $40.00 there in order to activate the software on your PC or MAC. (The site is not yet accepting payments.) The method of license distribution will be slightly different (more flexible to use license on multiple computers) this time, and edusofd will not make printed notes available free of charge any more.

You need to have Adobe Reader 9.0 or higher in order to view these files. That is available free of charge at here.

Homework problems will be assigned using an online system called Mastering Physics ( There will be twelve problems assigned for each chapter, due at 8:00 AM on the day when the next chapter starts (e.g., February 3 for Chapter 15). However, you should attempt the problems BEFORE each workshop, so that you can get the maximum benefit from class participation. Your Mastering Physics key from last semester will continue to work this semester - you do not have to purchase a new one.

The recommended text is (still) College Physics, by Knight, Jones, and Field (1st edition). There are several copies on reserve in the Math-Physics Library, and one in the Help Room (A-131). The homework problems are taken from that book, and you will probably find it very helpful to look at it if you are stuck on a problem.


The laboratory is mandatory. There are ten lab sessions. You must register for a lab in Physics 124. Your grade for the “lecture” part of the course and for the lab will be the same. All ten lab grades count; if you skip one, your grade will suffer. There will be several make-up lab times scheduled through the semester, when you can make up one lab that you have missed. You need to make up a missed lab in the next available make-up week These will only be available to people with excused absences from the regularly scheduled lab period. If you cannot meet this schedule due to exceptional circumstances (such as documented illness or death in the immediate family), discuss with the instructor

There is a rigorous cap of 30 students in each lab which will not be exceeded. If you cannot get the lab you want, we suggest that you register for an open lab and hope to rearrange with a section switch once classes start. But you must attend the lab for which you are registered until you have made such a switch. If you do make a switch after the second week of semester you must email Prof Dawber to let him know, otherwise credit you received for any labs before the semester may be lost!


The bookstore sells clickers. Whether you buy one new, reuse one from a previous semester, or find one that fell off a truck, you need to register it through Blackboard. See the explanation “Registering CPS in Blackboard”. The first generation clickers will work just fine, although there is a second generation which is slightly more convenient because you don't have to “join” the session at the beginning of the workshop. There have been complaints about the reliability of clickers that have been in use for several semesters. Your clicker will only work in the lecture section for which you are registered.

During the workshop, when you are working on one of the quizzes, you may discuss the problem quietly with your immediate neighbors. This is intended to help you understand the problem and solve it. “The answer is C” is not the kind of discussion intended here – you deprive yourself of the opportunity to learn and prepare yourself for the exams.

One person operating two clickers is clear academic dishonesty, and will result in a course grade of F for the owners of both clickers. Really.

Bring a calculator to the workshop. It should be able to do trig functions, square root, log, exponential notation. You do not need a fancy graphing calculator. You will also need your calculator for the exams. Your calculator is an important tool for the course, and you should be familiar with it. Calculators may not be shared in the exams. You may not use the calculator function of a cell phone or PDA in the exams.

There are no recitations. The workshop functions as a recitation, insofar as you are guided towards learning how to solve problems on the material you have studied in the flash videos and homework assignments.

Getting help

To help you with questions related to your homework problems and the laboratory, the Help Room, Physics A131, will be staffed by personnel from this course, full time to the extent that we can. The schedule will be posted on the help room and on Blackboard within the first week of classes.

There is also a course blog that will be a useful tool for doing your assignments. It is monitored by your professors, although anybody is welcome to post advice. If you have a question, look there first, as it may have already been answered.


Two Midterm exams are scheduled 8:30-10:00 PM on March 1 and March 24. The final exam is May 14, 8:00-10:45 AM. You have to make sure there are no conflicts in your schedule – we cannot grant a makeup exam for any foreseeable circumstances. The registrar's policy that students have responsibility for avoiding exam conflicts is crystal clear, and exceptions will not be granted in this course. If you cannot take a midterm due to exceptional circumstances (documented illness or death in the immediate family), discuss with the instructor as soon as possible. We will increase the weights of the other parts of the course accordingly. If you miss the final with a valid excuse, you will receive an Incomplete in the course and a makeup final will be scheduled as promptly as possible after the end of the semester. The exams will be multiple choice, graded via scan-tron sheets (fill in the bubble with a #2 pencil).


Your final grade will be based on the following.

  • 15% Homework
  • 10% Workshop “clicker” score
  • 15% Each of two midterms
  • 25% Labs
  • 20% Final Exam
phy123on/syllabus.txt · Last modified: 2010/08/03 14:04 (external edit)
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