PHYS 3220 - Physics for Scientists II (Honors) - Fall 2017


The class of October 31 is canceled. Here is my email describing the make-up plan.

Course Description

Second semester of introductory physics for students planning graduate studies in physics or related field. Electromagnetism and optics. Preprofessional program. (4 credits) Recommended prerequisites: PHYS 3210, MATH 1220.


Electricity and Magnetism, 3rd edition, by Edward M. Purcell and David J. Morin (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

For the optics part, some sections of Introduction to Modern Optics, 2nd edition, by Grant R. Fowles (Dover Publications, 1989).


Prof. Paolo Gondolo
Office: 310 INSCC
Office hours: by appointment.

Teaching Assistant: David Morison
Office: JFB 104
Office hours: TBA


T F, 2:00-3:55pm, Room JFB B-1.


There are three categories of assignments: Class-to-Class Homework, Weekly Homework, and Exams. See side menu for links to the assignments.

Class-to-Class Homework is assigned at every class, is due at the beginning of the following class, and serves as a basis for in-class discussions. It consists of (a) a brief summary of the important points in the assigned textbook reading, (b) questions to be answered by reading the textbook or other resources, (c) problems for which the solutions are provided in the textbook, and (d) "exercises" (in the terminology of the textbook) for which the solutions are not provided. Your score in the Class-to-Class Homework is determined as a percentage of the total number of points available in this homework category.

Weekly Homework is homework in addition to the Class-to-Class Homework. It is due every week at the beginning of the Friday class (except for the first week, Fall Break and Thanksgiving Break). You must turn in two or more "exercises" from each textbook chapter. You can choose which exercises to turn in from the collection in the textbook, with two restrictions: (a) they must not have been assigned in the Class-to-Class Homework or Exams, and (b) their level of difficulty must be two or three stars (for optics, you can choose from the list of acceptable problems in Fowles listed in the Weekly Homework page). A list of recommended exercises is provided in the Weekly Homework page. Each exercise in the Weekly Homework category is worth 10 points. Your score in the Weekly Homework category is determined as a percentage of 240 points (2 problems/exercises times 12 assignments).

Exams comprise three exams containing physics problems without solutions provided. Exams are take-home exams that must be worked out individually by each student, without the help of any other person (no cheating: see Honesty section below). Exams are due midnight Thursday September 28 (for chapters 1-4, 10.1-10.12, and 10.16), midnight Thursday November 9 (for chapters 5-8 and 11), and midnight Thursday December 7 (for chapters 9 and optics). Your score in the Exams category is determined as a percentage of the total number of available exam points.

The final letter grade is determined according to the following table using the average percentage across the three assignment categories (Class-to-Class Homework, Weekly Homework, Exams).

Letter grade A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D-
Percentage 92% 84% 76% 68% 60% 52% 44% 36% 28% 20% 12%

Extra credit. Problems and exercises can be turned in for extra credit my midnight of December 7, 2016 (same deadline as the third exam). Please remember to indicate to which homework category the points will be applied.


Cheating of any kind on homework or exams 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.


Monday, September 4, Labor Day
Sunday-Sunday, October 8-15, Fall Break
Thursday-Friday, November 23-26, Thanksgiving Break

Students with Disabilities

The University of Utah provides equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. If you need accommodations in this course, contact the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Bldg, 581-5020 (V/TDD) to make arrangements for accommodation.