PHYSICS 103-01 TR     0800 0915        DL312











OFFICE:               DL-201 and MYRTLE GROVE 2331



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PHONE:                910-962-2333





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                           ALSO, IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS AT ANY TIME WHEN

                           YOU ARE STUDYING, EMAIL ME, I MIGHT BE ONLINE

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Course Prerequisites or Restrictive Statements: None



Student Learning Outcome:


      An understanding of the nature of science by the nonscientist by emphasizing the concepts underlying four great ideas in physics: the conservation of energy, the second law of thermodynamics, the relativity of time, and the wave-particle duality of nature. Explores the mutual influence of science and the humanities

      Physics deals with the study of nature in terms of matter and energy.  In or course we will deal with only four fascinating topics which will hopefully allow us to learn how scientists develop concepts and how these concepts are used to study nature. We will also spend some time studying how science and the humanities influence each other!

      Alas, the equations!  The language of science is mathematics, and it is impossible to appreciate science without equations and quantitative problems.  The mathematical treatment of these topics is based on high school mathematics, without calculus.  A review of the mathematics needed for this course is presented in Appendix A.



REQUIRED TEXT:  GREAT IDEAS IN PHYSICS, 3rd Edition                                                                       by Alan Lightman



SYLLABUS:           Course work based on CHAPTERS 1 through 4 of TEXT




Course Organization and Scope:


      Chapter 1: Conservation of Energy

o   Conservative Laws

o   Gravitational Energy

o   Kinetic Energy

o   Units of Length, Mass, Weight, and Energy

o   Heat Energy

o   The Conservation of Energy and the Limited Lifetime of the World

o   Reactions to Possible Violations of the Conservation of Energy


      Chapter 2: The Second Law of Thermodynamics

o   Reversible and Irreversible Phenomena

o   States of a System and Probability of Configurations

o   Mechanical Energy and Heat

o   The Irreversible Flow of Heat

o   Doing Work with Heat

o   Entropy and order

o   Resistance to Implications of the Second Law

o   The Second Law Applies to Human Society

o   The Second Law Used to Refute the Theory of Evolution


      Chapter 3: The Theory of Relativity


The Relativity of Time

o   Relativity in Brief

o   Science Leading to the Theory of Relativity

o   The Theory of Relativity

o   Abolition of Absolute Space and Time

o   Einsteins Approach to Science

o   The Influence of the Theory of Relativity on Literature

o   Relativity and Sculpture


      Chapter 4: Quantum Mechanics


The Wave-Particle Duality of Nature

o   Waves

o   The Photoelectric Effect

o   The Double-Slit Experiment

o   The Role of the Observer and the Nature of Reality

o   Quantum Physics and Language

o   The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and the Demise of

Determinism in Science

o   Determinism, Causality, and Choice in the Quantum World


Appendix A:  A review of basic mathematics

Appendix B:  Problems and Discussion Questions





      EXAM 1:          Multiple Choice and Short Problems on Ch1          50 pts

      EXAM 2:          Multiple Choice and Short Problems on Ch2          50 pts

      EXAM 3: Multiple Choice and Short Problems on Ch3          50 pts        

      EXAM 4: Multiple Choice and Short Problems on Ch4          50 pts

      SHORT ESSAYS: 2 TO BE ASSIGNED                                                     100 pts

      HOMEWORK:                                                                            100 pts

      CLASS PARTICIPATION:                                                              100 pts


Final grade based on percentage of                          500 pts


Final grades will be based on a plus/minus grading scale as follows:

A = 93-100; A- = 90-92; B+ = 87-89; B = 83-86; B- = 80-82; C+ = 77-79; C = 73-76; C- = 70-72; D+ = 67-69; D = 63-66; D- = 60-62; and F < 60.



FINAL EXAM:        THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 0800 1100



Late Assignments and Incomplete Grades:




Absences and Scheduling Makeup Work:






Statement on Academic Integrity:







Statement regarding plagiarism: Please be especially familiar with UNC-Ws position on plagiarism as outlined in the UNCW Student Handbook.  Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty in which you take someone elses ideas and represent them as your own.   Here are some examples of plagiarism:


      You write about someone elses work in your paper and do not give them credit for it by referencing them.


      You give a presentation and use someone elses ideas and do not state that the ideas are the other persons.


      You get facts from your textbook or some other reference material and do not reference that material.


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      UNCW practices a zero tolerance policy for any kind of violent or harassing behavior.  If you are experiencing an emergency of this type contact the police at 911 or UNCW CARE at 962-2273.  Resources for individuals concerned with a violent or harassing situation can be located at



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