PHYS 2210: Physics for Scientists and Engineers I
Spring 2014


Instructor: Prof. Jordan Gerton (; Office: 314 JFB (by appointment)
Course Coordinator: Ms. Mary Ann Woolf (; Office: 205 JFB
Course Marshall: Michael Newbold (; Office: 214 SP
Credit hours: 4
Websites used for the course:
(JFB 101)
Mon / Wed / Fri
Section 001: 12:55 PM - 1:45 PM; Section 006: 2:00 PM - 2:50 PM
Discussion Sessions: Sec Time Room Discussion TA
002 7:30A - 8:20A WEB L112 Vikrant Kamble
003 9:40A - 10:30A WEB L122 Ruth Cole
004 12:55P - 1:45P WEB L120 Ruth Cole
005 2:00P - 2:50P WEB L112 Nolan Matthews
007 7:30A - 8:20A WEB L114 Nolan Matthews
008 8:35A - 9:25A WEB L112 Vikrant Kamble
009 12:55P - 1:45P WEB L114 Lauren Richey
010 2:00P - 2:50P WEB L114 Lauren Richey
Plan ahead now!!!
Date Section 001 Section 006 Room
Exam 1
Friday, Jan 31
12:55P - 2:10P 2:00P - 3:15P See Exams page.
Exam 2
Friday Feb 28
12:55P - 2:10P 2:00P - 3:15P
Exam 3
Friday, April 4
12:55P - 2:10P 2:00P - 3:15P
Final Exam
Monday, April 28
3:30P - 5:30P 3:30P - 5:30P

Course description and introduction
Course registration and meeting schedule
Schedule of topics, due dates, and exam dates
Textbook and other course materials
Use of the internet
Course objectives
Teaching & learning methods
Evaluation methods & criteria
Course-grade determination

Supplemental Instruction
What is expected of students
Policy on scheduling accommodations (make-up exams, etc.)
Office hours
Student code
Students with disabilities
Drop/add and withdrawal

Course description and introduction

From the General Catalog: "[This course is] designed to give science and engineering students a thorough understanding of the basic physical laws and their consequences. Classic mechanics will be introduced, including methods of energy, momentum, angular momentum, and Newtonian gravity. Applications will include mechanical oscillations, sound, and wave motion."

This is an introductory course in Classical (Newtonian) Mechanics. The Physics 2200 sequence is the top-level of the three main introductory sequences. It introduces the basic concepts and theory of mechanics, and you are expected to learn to solve elementary problems by applying these principles. Most students will find this a very demanding course that requires a significant amount of work and study time. For some, this will be the most challenging course you will encounter at the college level. For some disciplines, such as civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering, physics is directly applicable and serves as the introductory course to the more advanced applied physics or engineering classes. For all disciplines for which the 2200 series is required, the problem-solving and quantitative analysis skills you will learn from this course are a critical piece of your broader education.

We will be using the (primarily) on-line system known as smartPhysics. Among other things, smartPhysics features on-line pre-lectures that you will be required to view prior to each classroom lecture. On-line access to smartPhysics costs you about $30 for the semester. For more information on smartPhysics, go to the website:

Course registration and meeting schedule

Schedule of topics, due dates, and exam dates

We will be covering the first 24 of 26 units in smartPhysics: Classical Mechanics. We will thus be covering about two units per week. Unless announced by the instructor in advance, you will be responsible for all of the material in these units. This is the standard curriculum for an introductory semester-long course in physics. The complete schedule of topics, assignments, and due dates may be found at the smartPhysics website; once in the course, click on the calendar link at upper left.

Textbook and Other Course Materials

There is a small softbound booklet that accompanies the on-line course, smartPhysics: Classical Mechanics by Gladding, Selen, and Stelzer, ISBN-13: 978-1-4292-7240-7. My course officially requires this booklet as a textbook, which retails for about $15-$30, but everything in it is also accessible on-line. It is up to you whether you want to buy a paper copy. There will be about 50 copies of the book with a bundled access card (which covers the cost of on-line access, as well) available in the campus bookstore. On-line access alone will be available through the smartPhysics website, and the booklet alone is also available through the usual internet sources. There are obviously several ways to obtain the needed course materials; how you do so is up to you.

Please note: Many of the other calculus-based physics courses at Utah use the textbook by R.D. Knight, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 2nd edition (Pearson Addison-Wesley, 2008, ISBN#: 9780805327366). My course neither requires nor makes use of this text. Be advised that you may still need to purchase this textbook later for the second semester introductory course, Physics 2220, Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism, depending on that course's instructor. If you would like to have a supplementary physics textbook that has a bit more detailed content, worked-out examples, and practice problems, then the Knight text is fine for this. I can also recommend texts by Serway and Jewett, as well as that by Tipler and Mosca. These latter books can be had inexpensively via the internet, particularly for earlier editions. Again to emphasize: none of these textbooks are required for this course.

I also recommend and will probably make use of the Physics Education Technology Project (PhET) website, This site provides numerous interactive simulations covering all of introductory physics. They can be run directly online or downloaded, and they are absolutely FREE. You are very much encouraged to check these out on your own.


Physics 2210 assumes that you have recently taken one semester of college-level calculus (Math 1210, or equivalent). We will be using some differential and integral calculus throughout the semester. Math 1210 is in fact a prerequesite for Physics 2210. What you need most is thorough knowledge of algebra and trigonometry. It is not enough to have taken these courses in the past; you must have command of these topics in a way that makes them more-or-less second nature to you. A number of web-based resources for math help and review have been provided to assist you.

Use of the internet: the course website, smartPhysics, and Canvas

This course makes extensive use of internet resources; the unfortunate fact is that we will be using three different sites to run the course. The main course page is:,
which is maintained by the instructor and contains all course information, including the syllabus, file downloads, supplementary material, and announcements. Please consult this page regularly! Updates will be posted there as soon as the information becomes available. The smartPhysics website is your portal for viewing prelectures, taking the checkpoint quizzes, and doing homework. You will also be able to view your scores in smartPhysics, but only for these three assignment categories. You are required to pay $30 to register for and view these materials for my course in smartPhysics. All scores including those from smartPhysics, will be posted on the Canvas site for this course. We will be using Canvas exclusively as a gradebook; no assignments will be posted or done on Canvas (except possibly the end-of-semester survey). While I will endeavor to make sure that the Canvas calendar is accurate, be advised that the official course calendar is on the smartPhysics website.

Course Objectives

Teaching & Learning Methods

Evaluation Methods & Criteria

Determination of the Course Grade

Your grade for the course will be based on the total number of points you accumulate from prelectures, checkpoint quizzes, homework, in-class quizzes, group assignments, midterms, and the final exam. Point values for each category of assessment are shown in the table below:

Assessment category How many of each? Points for each Total points for category
Prelectures 24 3 72
Checkpoints 24 2 48
Homework 24 5 120
Group Assignments 22 4 88
Quizzes 9 15 135
Midterm Exams 3 130 390
Final Exam 1 200 200
Bonus Assignments 3 10 30
Total 1083

Quizzes: There will be 10 quizzes throughout the course of the semester, but your lowest score will be dropped before computing your total score (see table above).

Final Exam Improvement Rule: If your final exam score (on a percentage basis) is greater than one of your midterm exam scores, the final exam score replaces (on a percentage basis) the lowest midterm exam score. That is, you will get your final exam score on both your final exam AND your worst midterm (scaled by 130/200).

Bonus Assignments: We will not cover the last two smartPhysics units (25: Static Fluids & 26: Moving Fluids), but the Prelectures, Checkpoint quizzes, and Homework for these two units will be avaiable for you to complete as "extra credit" (worth 20 points total). In addition, near the end of the semester, you will have the opportunity to complete an online course survey to help the instructor improve the course for future semesters. If you complete this survey, you will receive an additional 10 points of extra credit.

Built-in Point Buffer: Note that the course is graded out of a total of 1000 points, but there are 1083 potential points to be awarded; an 8.3% (83 point) buffer is built in as extra credit. Other than your lowest quiz score, no other assignments will be dropped when determining your final score. In addition, there is no other extra credit or make-up assignments (other than the bonus assignments): Please don't even ask. There will be make-up midterm exams only for approved reasons (see make up policy). All other missed assignments apply to your 83-point buffer and cannot be made up. These rules are stringent because of the requirements and limitations of such a large course.

Canvas is the official gradebook: It is the student's responsibility to ensure the accuracy of all homework and exam grades (which will reflect what is in our database). These are all accessible from Canvas. Please check your scores regularly, keep all your returned quizzes and exams (handed out during discussion sessions), and contact your discussion TA in case of an error. Please note: Friday May 2nd at 5 pm MST is the deadline for any and all notification to be made regarding recording errors, clerical errors, or arithmetic errors on any midterms or homework. Unless you point out any scoring or recording error by this date, the scores as recorded will stand.

Your final grade will be assigned according to the total number of points you earn and the table below:

Course Grade Point Range
A 950 points and above
A- 900 - 949.99
B+ 860 - 899.99
B 820 - 859.99
B- 780 - 819.99
C+ 740 - 779.99
C 700 - 739.99
C- 660 - 699.99
D 540 - 659.99
E below 540

Policy on scheduling accommodations (make-up exams, etc.)

There will be no make-up midterm or final exams. The only exceptions to this rule are (a) absence due to a university-sponsored activity or military duty, and (b) serious medical or family emergencies. In either case the student must provide complete documentation. All requests for exam accommodations are handled exclusively by the instructor; do not address such requests to TAs or anyone else, as they will not be honored. In the case of exception (a) the request for a make-up exam must be filed with the instructor at least two weeks in advance of the anticipated absence. Please note that all exam dates and times have already been determined; mark your calendars now! Resolve any conflicts as soon as possible!

There will be no make-up opportunities for any other work in the course (in-class quizzes, group assignments, homework, prelectures, and checkpoint quizzes). There are many assignments in each of these categories and it is too difficult to arrange for make-up work. Consider that there is a 8.3% buffer of extra credit in the total number of points; no one assignment is worth very much.

Supplemental Instruction

The Supplemental Instruction Program, called SI for short, is offered in this course to provide organized study sessions.  These sessions are free and open to all students in the course and are led by an undergraduate who has done well in this subject area.  Your SI leader will be attending classes, reading the material, and doing any relevant assignments to be prepared for the SI sessions.  The purpose of SI is to see that each of you has the opportunity to do as well as you would like to in this course.  In SI sessions, we will review, organize, and clarify the material from lectures; teach you ways to develop effective study skills for this course; and help you prepare for exams.  Your SI leader will schedule 3 meetings per week convenient to the majority of your schedules.  Attendance is voluntary, and you may attend as many or as few sessions as you like.

At the end of the semester, please complete the post-survey accessed at to provide us with feedback on your experience with SI.  Your comments are valued and important to our ability to provide you with effective SI sessions that meet your needs.  Let us know what worked well and what you would change!

What is Expected of Students

Be sure to schedule enough study time. Typically, one should expect to spend no less than 2-3 hours on prelectures, homework and review for every hour spent in lecture. There are three vital activities in which you must engage to have a chance at succeeding in this course:

Honesty and Respect: Cheating of any kind on an exam is a very serious violation of University rules and is unethical. Students caught cheating will receive a failing grade for the course and will be sent on to the University Disciplinary Committee for further action. All teaching assistants, including the course marshall, and the administrative assistant for the course are to be considered proxies for the instructor when you are dealing with them with respect to this course. They are to be listened to and treated with respect at all times.

Possession or access to solutions for any course element (e.g., textbook exercises, homework problems, exam questions, etc.) constitutes cheating and will be treated as such! More importantly, it inhibits your ability to learn and is unfair to your classmates.

Office Hours

You can meet with Prof. Gerton by appointment. These may be granted very promptly (i.e. you might e-mail and be told to come on over), but immediate meetings cannot be guaranteed. I will be present at the >help lab at least two hours per week. Please respect the fact that I do not like to be bothered between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM on lecture days; I use this time to review your responses to pre-lectures and checkpoint quizzes, and for last-minute prep and relaxation before lecture. I will also reserve the right to adjust or cancel office hours on days when I will be traveling out of town or have other engagements, which I will announce as they occur. I am best reached by e-mail, not by phone. I check e-mail many times during the day and will respond promptly whenever possible.

The TAs and the instructor will also be available during the help-lab hours. This is an important resource for students which is often under-utilized. If you have questions that you have not been able to get answered in the discussion sections or during the lectures be sure to attend the help lab.

Student Code

All students and faculty need to be aware of provisions in the Student Code relevant to this course. Students have 20 business days to appeal grades and other "academic actions" (e.g., results of comprehensive exams). The date that grades are posted on the web is considered the date of notification. A "business day" is every day the University is open for business, excluding weekends and University-recognized holidays. If the student cannot get a response from the faculty member after ten days of reasonable efforts to contact him or her, the student may appeal to the department chair if done within 40 days of being notified of the academic action. Students should definitely document their efforts to contact a faculty member.

Similarly, faculty members who discover or receive a complaint of academic misconduct (e.g., cheating, plagiarism) have 20 business days to "make reasonable efforts" to contact the student and discuss the alleged misconduct. Within 10 more business days the faculty member must give the student written notice of the sanction, if any, and the student's right to appeal to the Academic Appeals Committee of the College of Science.

All students and faculty members are urged to consult the exact text of the Student Code if a relevant situation arises. The code is on the University web site at

Students with Disabilities

The University of Utah Department of Physics seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in this course, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Bldg, 581-5020 (V/TDD) to make arrangements for accommodations. CDS will work with your and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations. All information in this course can be made available in alternative format wiht prior notification to the Center for Disability Services. You are encouraged (but not required) to come and talk to the instructor about your disability and necessary accommodations within the first two weeks of the semester.


For more information, visit: Spring 2014 Academic Calendar.

Permission codes: This course is restricted by fire code to 200 students per section; it is currently at full capacity. If you would like to get into the course, please contact the course coordinator, Ms. Mary Ann Woolf ( She handles the wait-list, permission codes, etc. on a first-come, first-served basis. We will do our best to accommodate as many students as we can.

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Last modified: September 16, 2014

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Prof. Jordan Gerton | James Fletcher Building | Room 314 | 115 South 1400 East | Salt Lake City, UT | 84112
Office: +1-801-585-0068 | Email: