Phys 216, Spring 2003
Time and Change


Instructor: Chopelas
Office: B436
Office Hours: 
Tuesday 11:00a to 12:00p, Thursday 2:00 - 3:00p

e-mail: [email protected]    
Phones: 543-9586

Class Meeting Time and Location:
FAA A114, MTWThF 12:30 to 13:20 a

TA: Jim Prager, 685-2465, B235, [email protected] and Rachel Dominguez, [email protected]

Course Description

Slightly edited descriptions from UW General Catalog: Physics 214, 215, 216 are three Physics courses intended for non-science students that can be used to satisfy the Arts and Science Graduation Requirements in "The Natural World" and "Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning" categories. Light and Color (Physics 214) "compares past explanation of certain familiar natural phenomena with present understandings. Lamps and lighting, outdoor light, optical devices, color vision, perspective, paints, and pigments." Quantitative comparison is critical to the course, but college-level mathematics background beyond UW entrance requirement is not required.

What students can expect to learn from this course: Topics will include the physical properties of light, color perception, color mixing, optical devices, polarized light, the evolving history and philosophy of physical models of light, and the physiology of the human eye and visual system.

General method of instruction: Lectures will be held on MWF, except for the first week, in which we will have some extra lectures, see below. On Tuesday and Thursdays, starting on the second week, we will have hands on workshops with worksheets, to be done in groups. There will be 8 of these, going until the 9th week. In the tenth week, there may be a possibility of making up missed exercises. Lectures will be held at 12:30-1:20 PM in PAA A114 with Prof. Chopelas. Further discussion with the teaching assistant will be on most Tuesdays and Thursdays, depending on when you have workshop time, these at 12:30-1:20 PM in PAA A114. Workshops where students examine various phenomena related to course be in three groups, Tuesdays at 12:30 to 1:20, Thursdays at either 12:30 or 1:30 pm, all in room PAB B180. Please fill in sign up sheet attached to this information page.

Recommended preparation for success in the course: Comfortable familiarity with high school level algebra and geometry as required for entrance to UW is an advantage. We try to use as little algebra and geometry as possible, introducing or reviewing what we need. Reasoning and critical observation will be emphasized. Calculators will probably not be needed. This course is not intended for anyone who has completed one term of a regular college or university physics course (other than UW Phys 215 or 216) or an accelerated high school physics course.

General nature of assignments: 1) Readings will consist of a few revised Chapters of "Time and Change" by UW Emeritus Prof. Halpern (available online on course website) AND in the required text: "Great Ideas in Physics" by Alan Lightman. If there are not enough at the bookstore, they may be ordered online at amazon.com or borders.com, or barnesandnoble.com, etc. It will take only a couple of days to get and we will not need them until about the third or fourth week. 2) Written homework consisting of discussion questions and assignments of a problem-solving nature assigned periodically and generally collected on Wednesdays, after which the solutions will be made available. 3)There will be two one-hour exams during the term. The first will be early enough in the term to help determine where you stand in the course, late in the fourth week. The second will be towards the end of the quarter, early in the tenth week. The exams will be based not only on the text and lectures, but also on homework and workshops. The exam will be closed book, but several pages of notes will be allowed. There will be no make-up exams. 4) There will be weekly workshop exercise sheets and questionnaires to be done in groups but turned in individually. 5.) A project that will consist of studying and reporting on a key scientist involved in the science covered in this course, there will be a written portion as well as a "visual" whether it is a physical model, poster, or powerpoint-like computer report. More on that later in the week.

Basis on which grades are assigned: The following grading scheme is anticipated. Exams will count 40% of the total grade; the term project will count 30%; homework and workshop assignments will count 30% of the grade; and class participation will provide a means for boosting any of the grades in the form of "extra credit", particularly for those that do not test well. This will include extra credit for attendance with signup sheets on random days at the back of the class. There will be no final.

Other Items
  Learning physics can't be done just by listening to lectures or reading just like bicycle riding or swimming, one needs to actually practice. The workshops provide some practice in handling and observing directly the phenomena discussed and shown in class. Assignments provide a guidelines to the goal of each chapter and review sessions will help focus course objectives. There will be optional outside readings as well as links from this website off the notes page that will help you gain a better understanding of the material in this course. The more practice, the more successful one tends to be in courses such as physics. Hopefully, you will find this practice also a lot of fun as well as useful.


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Contact the instructor at: chopelas @u.washington.edu