Fall 2009 Syllabus
PHYS 180 - Introductory Modern Physics
TCCW 251, Mon/Wed/Fri 12:40-1:35 p.m.

Dr. Richard Gelderman
230 Thompson Complex, Central Wing
Dept of Physics and Astronomy
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd.
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1077

  • Office Hours  
  • Educational Philosophy 
  • Attendance Policy 
  • Grading 
  • Homework 
  • Policy on Collaboration 
  • Course Schedule 

  • Course Description:

    PHYS 180, Introductory Modern Physics, is a three-credit course which may be applied toward the General Education Natural Sciences - Mathematics (D-1) requirement. This goal of this course is to provide a basic study of atomic, quantum and relativistic physics as applied to a wide range of phenomena. In keeping with the WKU General Education goals, we will focus not only on the concepts of modern physics but also on the the nature of the scientific process and its relevance in our lives. Finally, as a course in the required course sequence for science majors, students will be expected to become familiar with the specific tools required for the successful study of physics.

  • Texts:

    Holbrow, Lloyd and Amato, Modern Introductory Physics {MIP}
    Gamov and Stannard, The New World of Mr. Tompkins {MrT}

  • Instructor's Educational Philosophy

    It is important that you take responsibility for your education. Ask questions, both inside and outside the classroom. Discuss the material with friends and classmates how this course relates to the real world. Manage your time and do not cram for exams. The student and professor make a team, you both want to the material to be learned and a good grade earned. Click here to view a brief essay on how to achieve academic success.

  • Office Hours

    I consider myself to be open and accessible to all my students. You are always welcome to drop by my office to seek advice, discuss your progress, or ask questions. Appointments are not necessary. If I am around, then I will do my best to make time to sit down with you. If my door is open but I am not in my office, please ask the departmental assistant in TCCW 246 to help you locate me. I also have scheduled regular weekly office hours or you can e-mail or call to make an appointment at our mutual convenience.

  • Attendance Policy

    I expect prompt and regular attendance. Lectures will largely follow the order of the book, though lecture content may differ somewhat from the text. Material presented in lecture takes precedence over the text. Students are advised to keep their notes up to date and to read the text as an accompaniment to their notes. Missed classes should be covered by obtaining notes from other students. In addition, there will occasionally be unscheduled activities distributed for completion during the same class period and counting toward your final grade.

    You must be sure to attend all tests and the final exam at the scheduled times.If you are unable to take an exam with the rest of the class you must notify the instructor before the regularly scheduled exam time. The only makeup exams allowed after the class takes the test will be for students with a verified excuse of illness or extraordinary crisis. A missed exam will otherwise be scored as a zero.

  • Grading

      The points toward your final grade will be allocated with the following distribution:
        100 pts - Normalized homework and quiz grade
        80 pts - Exam 1
        80 pts - Exam 2
        80 pts - Exam 3
        100 pts - Final Exam
        60 pts - Participation in class discussions and activities

    The final grades will be determined from 500 possible points, based upon the following scale:
    450 points and above = A; 400-449 points= B; 350-399 points = C; 300-349 points = D; Under 300 points = F
    Your grade for the course will be determined by your ultimate point total in comparison with the rest of the class.

  • Homework Policies The homework assignments and due dates for this semester are available on-line. Homework is due at the beginning of class, a 25% penalty will be assessed for each 24 hours of tardiness.

  • Extra Credit Extra credit will be awarded for prompt and attentive attendance at Physics and Astronomy Department colloquia, Mondays 4-5 pm. Five points will be awarded for each colloquium for which the instructor registers your presence. (Click here for a schedule of this semester's departmental colloquia)

  • Policy on Collaboration

    All work turned in for a grade must be your own. No credit will be given for work that is not demonstrably your own.

  • Students with Disabilities

    Students with disabilities who require accomodations (academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids or services) for this course must contact the Office for Student Disability Service, 445 Potter Hall, (270) 745-5004 V/TDD. Please do not request accomodations directly from the professor without a letter from the office of Student Disability Services.

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