Tu & Th 1:20 -- 2:10 PM and 2:25 -- 3:15 PM in 2103 Chamberlin Hall (Rennebohm Auditorium). The two lectures on each day are the same; you can attend either one.

The lectures supplement, but do not substitute for, reading and studying the text. You are responsible for all the material in the weekly reading assignments and we expect you to do the assigned reading before coming to lecture. We encourage questions, but realize you may feel intimidated by the large class. Ask them anyway! Lectures will be given by:

There are special lectures on Fridays at 12:05 -- 12:55 in 2103 Chamberlin Hall for Honors students (who are required to attend). Everyone else is encouraged to attend. These lectures are given together with Physics 208. They are about applications of physics to topics ranging from astrophysics to biology with emphasis on biology. The schedule can be found here.

Reading Quizzes

It is essential for you to read the textbook before coming to class. To help you keep up to speed we will have on-line reading quizzes periodically throughout the semester. The quizzes will give you bonus points that count toward your course grade.


The homework problems are assigned in the syllabus for each week and are due roughly a week after the homework is assigned (the due date and time will be specified for each assignment). Homework will count toward your grade. We are using the online homework system WebAssign. To log in, please note that your username has been set to be the name extracted from your wisc email address as your username@wisc.edu. For example, if your email account is student123@wisc.edu, your username for your account at WebAssign will be student123. Your initial password is your student ID. The institution name is "wisc."

WebAssign carries a fee of $25. This fee can be paid online by following a link on the WebAssign site or you can purchase a WebAssign access card at the information counter at the Textbooks section of the bookstore.

Note that unlike other web-based homework systems you may have used, this homework system does not allow for an unlimited number of entries, but instead only allows for a few tries. Therefore, read through the instructions thoroughly and work the problem carefully before you enter your response in the homework system. You may need to enter a formula into the homework system. Please see the instructions to be sure to enter your responses appropriately.

Feel free to discuss homework with others, but develop the final solutions on your own. The solutions will be explained in discussion section and available as links from the syllabus shortly after the homework deadline for submission has been reached. There are also resources available on the Text Publisher Web Page.

Study Skills

It is difficult to learn physics without asking lots of questions. The more active you are, the easier it will become. We have tried to offer as many ways as possible for you to take an active role in the course: discussion sections, office hours, email, labs, etc. Never be shy about asking a question! Chances are half the class has the same one. A colleague of ours says "To have a question can seem like a shame for a moment, but not asking is a shame for a lifetime." We strongly recommend studying with other students in the class. Be sure you can completely solve all the exercises in the main textbook as well as the assigned homework.

Discussion Sections

Your discussion sections and lab are taught by Graduate Teaching Assistants who have a lot of experience with physics. You will spend at least 5 hours a week with your TA -- take advantage of every moment! There are two discussion periods each week and you are expected to attend both. Discussions will be devoted to answering your questions about homework and working in small groups on extra problems. The main purpose of the discussion is the opportunity to explore some problems in more detail with your TA. In some cases the TA will discuss some problems on the white board. The TA will ask you to work in group of 3 students and will change the makeup of the groups every few weeks. The problems will be somewhat different from regular homework problems; some will be conceptual (a few numbers to plug in) and others will involve applying physics problem-solving to realistic situations. The discussions are primarily an opportunity to improve understanding and practice problem solving.


Information about the labs can be found here.

Office Hours

The teaching assistants have office hours in the consultation room (2307 Chamberlin Hall). You may go to the office hours of any TA. Your TAs are very busy with classes and have research obligations of their own so please be respectful of their time.

Honors Credit

The course may be taken for honors credit. Honors students are required to attend regularly an additional lecture on Fridays at 12:05 PM in 2103 Chamberlin Hall.


We will have three midterm exams and one final exam. The first midterm exam is on Monday, Oct 1, the second midterm is on Monday, Oct 29, the third midterm is on Monday Nov 26 (all from 5:30 -- 7:00 PM). The final exam is at 10:05 AM on Friday December 21. If you have a conflict with a scheduled course during the evening exams, please let us know and we will accommodate it. Otherwise, makeup exams will in general not be given. The average of the other hour exam scores will be substituted for the missing exam (with a slightly increased weight of the final exam), provided you have a written excuse from a physician, dean, or academic advisor only. There will be three 90min exams on the dates shown. Physics is not about memorization so we don't want you wasting your time memorizing equations for exams; you may bring one 8.5 in x 11 in sheet to each exam.  For the final, you may bring 2 sheets of 8.5 in x 11 in paper, both sides each.  You may find that preparing these sheets will help you review what you have learned. Exam questions will be mostly of two types:

  1. Conceptual (similar to questions asked in lecture and worked in discussion)
  2. Homework (similar to hw problems)

Most of the exam problems will be similar to homework problems. Therefore it is a very good idea to work the homework problems properly and ask questions about them in the discussions.

Midterm Exams:

Midterm Exam 1 (October 1, 2007):  Solutions, Distribution.  Median: 57/100.  Average: 57.3/100. Standard Deviation: 15.3.

Midterm Exam 2 (October 29, 2007): Solutions, Distribution. Median: 73/100. Average: 72, Standard Deviation: 15.3

Midterm Exam 3 (November 26, 2007): Solutions, Distribution. Median: 70/100. Average: 69, Standard Deviation: 13.8

Practice Midterm Exams:

These are midterm exams given in previous semesters of this course.  Note that the format of these exams is often very different from the exams that will be given in our course, so you should not think of them as true "sample exams." They are posted here to help you with your exam preparation.  

    Practice Exams for Midterm 1: Fall 2006 (solutions only), Spring 2007, Spring 2007 (solutions)

    Practice Exams for Midterm 2: Fall 2006 (solutions only), Spring 2007, Spring 2007 (solutions)

Practice Exam for final exam: Fall 2006 (no solutions available currently)

Final Exam:

View your individual scores and the overall distribution here.


Grades will be assigned according to the point scheme below. We will grade on a curve.

Exam 1 100 pts
Exam 2 100 pts
Exam 3 100 pts
Final Exam 200 pts
Homework Best 11 wks x 10 pts 100 pts
Discussion 30 pts
Lab 11 wks x 10 pts 70 pts
Total 700 pts

Reading Quizzes: There will be occasional reading quizzes that will be worth 1 "bonus" pt each.

Academic Misconduct

Cheating and other forms of academic misconduct are not acceptable and may result in the failing of this course and other disciplines. For more information on this issue, please check the Statement about Academic Misconduct.


We want Physics 202 to be an excellent learning experience for you at UW-Madison. Please feel free to offer suggestions (by email or office hours or even by an anonymous note) to any of the teaching staff. All teaching staff have mailboxes on the second floor of Chamberlin Hall.