Physics 248 

A Modern Introduction to Physics


Gary Shiu
5279 Chamberlin Hall
Office Hours
WTh 2:00-3:00 pm

Teresa Montaruli

4112 Chamberlin Hall
Office Hours
M 2:10-3:10 pm
F 10:50-11:50 am

If you need to contact us outside office hours or class time, if at all possible, please use email.  

Lectures will be led by Gary (in the first part of the semester) and Teresa (in the second). The discussions will be led by by Gary and Teresa in the periods in which they will be lecturing, and by Jim. Jim will be in charge of the laboratories. 

Teaching Assistant

Jim Braun
4106 Chamberlin Hall
Office Hours
WF 11:00am-12:00 noon


MWF 9:55-10:45 am   
2241 Chamberlin


  W 1:20 pm    2108 Chamberlin (Sec. 601)
   Th 1:20 pm   2120 Chamberlin (Sec. 602)
 F 1:20 pm   2135 Chamberlin (Sec. 603)


M 1:20-4:15 pm (Sec. 301)
T 1:20-4:15 pm (Sec. 302)
 W 2:25-5:20 pm (Sec. 303)
3136 Chamberlin

Course Information

You will discover that math is a tremendous tool for discussing the way the world works. 
We will use calculus throughout the course. We are assuming that students have completed at least two semesters of calculus and are currently taking third semester calculus.
All announcements concerning the course will be posted in this web site.

We have chosen the textbooks "Physics for Scientists and Engineers", 5th Edition, by Tipler and Mosca, and "Modern Physics", by Tipler and Llewellyn.  These texts will continue to be used in Phys 249.

Policies and Grading
Syllabus and Lecture Notes


Homework is done online through the Mastering Physics Website. You should have received an email with instructions for registering and logging on.

Homework is due on Sun at
11:59 pm for full credit (unless otherwise stated)


There are three midterm exams (50 min) and one cumulative final exam (2 hours).

Material Covered
Blank Exam
Wed., Feb. 14
In class
In class
HW 1, 2
Wed., Mar 14
In class
In class
HW 3, 4, 5 Exam2
Wed., Apr. 25
In class
In class
Final Exam
Mon., May 14
3335 Sterling
The exam will include about 35% of new material
and the rest will be on contents for the midterm
 New material: HW10, HW11 (with additional
practise problems on self and mutual induction,
EM waves)
T&M Ch 26. 3-4, 27, 28, 30
Problems on Magnetic fields and Induction
Solutions of problems

The exam questions cover subjects addressed by lectures and discussion sessions, including fundamental concepts, crucial experiments and their interpretation, and some elementary applications.
For your reference, some past exams can be found below.

Past Exams

Exam 1 2004

Exam 1 2006

Taking the exam:

We will have our midterm exams during lecture times. You should bring:

8.5"x11" double-sided note sheet (two sheets for final exam)
Number 2 pencil
Your student ID number

The exam will be distributed at the beginning of the exam time.
You must stop working at the end of the exam time. Working past the exam time will not be permitted.
If you finish early, please turn in your exam and leave quietly.

Make up exam for students with VERY SERIOUS time conflicts will be exceptionally allowed upon request. Please talk to the Professors.


Laboratories are about 3 hrs long, once per week. The list of all Labs is below with the links to the useful material.
Labs start week of Jan. 29.
A bound quadrile notebook is required for laboratory write-ups.

The Grading Policy by Jim is here. Please read carefully!

You must complete at least all of the Labs except one, or you will receive a failing grade for the entire course. If you complete all of them but one, the entire Lab portion of your grade will be reduced by 30%. Missed Labs can only be made up with an approved excuse by your TA (this needs to be a good one!). Labs can be made up during an alternate Lab period that same week with the TA agreement, or during the following exam week (during which Labs are not foreseen). The message here is you should complete all the Labs!

1 (Jan 22-26)
No Lab
2 (Jan 29 - Feb 2)
Speed of Sound / Waves on a String
3 (Feb 5 - 9)
Diffraction and Intereference
4 (Feb 12 - 16) No Lab -- Midterm 1
5 (Feb 19 - 23) Computer Generated Holograms
6 (Feb 26 - Mar 2) Atomic Spectroscopy and Balmer series
7 (Mar 5 - 9) Wave particle duality
8 (Mar 12 - 16)
No Lab -- Midterm 2
9 (Mar 19 - 23)
Electric Fields
10 (Mar 26 - 30)
Capacitors and RC decay
11 (Apr 9 - 13)
Franck-Hertz Experiment
12 (Apr 16 - 20)
e/m Experiment
13 (Apr 23 - 27)
No Lab -- Midterm 3
14 (Apr 30 - May 4)
15 (May 8 - May 12)
Make up Labs


Each discussion section will meet once per week. They are useful for help on lecture topics, HW, and exam preparation. Note that the discussion sessions are not graded but they are a requirement of the course. See Policies for grading. Discussion sections start in the week of Jan. 29.


The project for displays in the Physics Museum was announced during one of the lectures by David Meshoulam.
The description of project, example and flier are available: Expectations for HiP projectHipfliers, Newton's Cradle explanation. He would appreciate it if you could email him ASAP so that the project can get off the ground!!

Honor requirements will be announced shortly.