Physics 114: Introduction to Physics I:

Mechanics and Thermodynamics

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Sonoma State University

Spring 2010


Class: M-Th, 11-11:50 am, Darwin 107

Instructor: Dr. Hongtao Shi

Phone: 664-2013


Office: Darwin 300J

Office Hours: Wednesday 2:30-4 pm, or by appointment

Learning Objectives

Course Description and Goals: Physics 114 meets 4 units of your General Education requirements in area B1. This is the first of three basic sequential courses in physics for science and mathematics majors in which you will learn how to think and work like physical scientists to solve problems in mechanics and thermodynamics. You will be working on vectors, Newton's laws of motion, momentum and energy, rotation of a rigid object, simple harmonic motion, thermodynamics and kinematics. The ultimate goals are to develop logic skills, problem solving skills, and to build competency in Physics.

I encourage you to take the accompanying laboratory course, Physics 116, Introductory Laboratory Experience, whether or not your major requires it. It meets an additional unit and your laboratory requirement (GE category B1), if you take it.

You can get help for this course at the SSU Tutorial Center.

Prerequisite: You should have satisfactorily completed one semester of calculus, such as Math 161 at Sonoma State. We will use derivatives and integrals throughout the course, as that is the way physics is most effectively expressed.

Text: Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 7th Edition, by Raymond A. Serway, and John W. Jewett, published by Brooks/Cole. You can also purchase an electronic version of the textbook online at a discounted price.

Make sure the book you purchase has the WebAssign access code so you can use the "Enhanced WebAssign" feature to complete and submit the online homework assignments. The access code comes in a new textbook (ISBN: 0495429295). If you decide to buy a used textbook or an electronic version, you need purchase the access code separately. Deadline to get the access code is Monday, Feburary 8, 2010 at 12:00 AM PST. After that you will no longer be able to see your WebAssign assignments or grades, until you purchase an access code.

WebAssign Login

Course Schedule

Grading Policy:

Homework, Quizzes and Exams 30% Final Exam, Monday, May 24, 2010, 11 a.m.-12:50 p.m. Comprehensive!
  20% Midterm Exam #1, Week of March 15, 2010
  20% Midterm Exam #2, Week of April 26, 2010
  15% Homework Assignments
  15% Quizzes
Course Grade Percent
A 90-100
B 80-89
C 70-79
D 60-69
F Below 60

A few things to remember:

1. Homework problems are due on the date indicated online, typically 1 week after the lecturing on the materials is finished. The lowest homework grade will be dropped when I compute your term grade.You are encouraged to work in a study group in doing the homework. Make sure you thoroughly understand the problems.

2. All quizzes, exams are closed book/notes and must be taken at the assigned time. You can bring one index card to the class with equations and formulas. No makeup quiz or exam will be given without a legitimate reason such as medical emergency. So arrange accordingly. Be aware the makeup quiz or exam may be entirely different from the original one.

3. I reserve the right to raise your grade if exceptional effort and class participation are observed throughout the semester.

Strategies to succeeding in this course:

• Try your best to attend every class. Your grades will suffer if you often miss the classes. Participate and ask questions.
• Read subject material before each class.
• Start homework problems as early as you can. Never fall behind!
• Study and understand every pertinent example in the covered topics. Try to understand which principles or laws are employed, and how.
• Come to my office at my office hours with questions. Remember I am here to help you in any way I can so that you can do well.

Disability: If you have a disability and need special consideration, please contact the Office of Disabled Student Services (DSS), located in Salazar Hall, Room 1049, Phone 664-2677.

Important University policies, such as add/drop classes, cheating and plagiarism, grade appeal procedures, can be found at

Email me if you have questions or comments.

Last updated 1/25/2010