Class meets MWF 10:10 - 11:00 AM in Science 201
Office: Science 356
Office Hours: WF 2-4PM, T 10AM-1PM, or by appointment
Email: jfielderATsfsuDOTedu (Replace AT and DOT with appropriate symbols and include "Phys 101" in subject line)
Homework: Registration Instructions for Mastering Physics
Voting Card: PDF
Physics and Astronomy Department's Plaigiarism Policy and Withdrawal Policy (PDF files)
Physics 101/102 Help Sessions for Spring 2015
Looking for a tutor? Here's a comprehensive list of tutoring services at SFSU, listed by subject.
We first finished up special relativity with a length contraction example problem, then spent the rest of class talking about the main ideas behind general relativity and some recent developments in modern particle physics. I closed class with a quote from "The Pleasure of Finding Thigns Out" by Richard Feynman.
I started off class today by talking about the basics of special relativity, and why we need a new way to talk about how objects move when they are moving close to the speed of light. We went over the idea of reference frames, and the basic postulates of special relativity, then talked about time dilation. I drew a diagram to help explain why time dilation happens if light goes at the speed of light in any reference frame, and we did an example problem using the formula for time dilation. We ended class with a short participation question.
We spent most of our class today talking about nuclear physics. I began by going over the relationship of the Bohr model of the atom to de Broglie wavelengths, then we talked about the strong nuclear force and radioactive decay. Next I explained the difference between fusion and fission, and did an example of how fusion occurs in stars. I also introduced the mass-energy equation and did an example using it for fusion in the Sun.
Today's class focused on the photoelectric effect and de Broglie waves. We learned about why the photoelectric effect required an explanation using light as a particle, and then talked about the wave nature of matter as well. I showed the class some pictures taken with an electron microscope, and we finished class with another look at the historical shift between classical physics and modern physics, and talked about complementarity.
We started off class today with a quick review of the three types of spectra, and then talked more about light emission and how lasers work. Next, I introduced the historical development of quantum physics and the particle-wave duality of light. I went over some examples of other quantities in physics that are quantized, and why this was disturbing to physicists at the end of the 1800's. We ended class with a participation question.
Today's class focused on the dual nature of light as both a wave and a particle. First, we looked at how light waves interfere with each other to produce light and dark areas through constructive or destructive interference. Next, I explained how this produces the array of colors seen on thin films such as soap bubbles or thin oil patches. Next, we learned how electrons in atoms absorb or emit light in order to change to a higher or a lower energy level, and why this requires us to treat light like a particle (called a photon). To demonstrate, I showed the class the Hydrogen Atom Simulator.
Today we took the third midterm during class.
We spent most of today's class doing more examples using reflection and refraction, and I showed a nice demo of both phenomena with a laser pointer and plexiglass block. I also explained the difference between converging and diverging lenses.
Today's class began with a discussion of how light behaves during scattering, and we learned why the daytime sky is blue but the sky towards a sunset is red. Next, we learned about the difference between reflection and refraction, and I talked about how the dispersion of light as it travels more or less slowly through different substances causes light rays to bend. We also went over the principle of least time to help us understand why light refracts the way that it does.
We started off class today by talking about dispersion, or how light gets slowed down through substances. Next I talked about how we see light using our eyeballs, and went over the difference between rod and cone cells and how they help us see contrast and color in our surroundings.
Today we began a new section on light, and started off by looking at why light is also sometimes called electromagnetic waves. We learned about the speed of light, and the different sections of the EM spectrum (that is, different kinds of light). We ended class with a short participation activity.
We spent most of class today talking about Faraday's law and electromagnetic induction. I showed the same demo we looked at in class on Friday, and went over how EM induction is used for power transmission via transformers. We did an example using the equation for transformers, and learned about the difference between a step-up and a step-down transformer. I finished up with an example of self-induction, and showed the class a video of self-induction in a DC circuit.
Today we reviewed the right hand rule for current-carrying wires at the start of class, then went over another version of the right hand rule for moving charged particles in a magnetic field and did several example questions. Next, I talked about how changing magnetic fields (or "magnetic flux") can induce a current to flow through a coil, and did some demonstrations using coils of wire and bar magnets.
We introduced the idea of magnetism today based on the movement of electric charges, and talked about magnetic field behavior. I drew some examples of magnetic fields and magnetic domains, and we went over the first right hand rule for the magnetic field of a current-carrying wire. We ended class with a participation question about the magnetic force in between two current-carrying wires.
Today's class centered on series and parallel circuits. I also talked about AC and DC current, and did an extended demonstration of the voltage-loop rule and the current-junction rule. We went over why you'd rather have your car headlights wired in parallel, and why turning on all your household electronic appliances at once will often lead to a blown fuse by overloading the line current.
We learned about electric potential and did an example using voltage, then I introduced the idea of current and circuits. We went over the quantities of current, resistance, and voltage, and talked about how they are related in circuits. We ended class with an example showing how to draw circuit diagrams and use Ohm's Law to solve circuit problems.
Today's class focused on the electric field, and we did some examples drawing electric field diagrams for various charge configurations. For participation, I had everyone draw the electric field for a set of parallel charged plates. I also did a demonstration of charging by friction or induction, and we talked about how the electric field stores potential energy for + or - charges.
We started a new unit today on electromagnetism, and we began by looking at the formula that describes the force between two charged particles (called Coulomb's Law). I drew several parallels and comparisions between Newton's law of gravity and Coulomb's law, and we did a couple of voting questions investigating these properties. I also talked about how the electric force (unlike the gravitational force) can be either attractive or repulsive, and how objects end up with either a net positive or negative amount of charge.
I began class by reviewing the difference between transverse waves and longitudinal waves, then did some demonstrations of standing waves and wave interference. We talked about the human range of hearing for sound waves, and did an example using the wave speed equation, then talked about the different ways that we can make musical sounds. I ended class with a demonstration of how wavelength, frequency, and pitch are connected using a ukulele.
Today we took the second midterm during class.
We started a new unit on waves and sound today, and began by going over the basic properties of waves. I talked about the relationship between frequency and wavelength, and the relationship between frequency and period and did some voting questions on frequency, wavelength, and period. Next, I went over the Doppler Effect for both sound and light waves, then went over the difference between transverse waves (such as water waves) and longitudinal waves (such as sound waves).
We spent today's class going over phase changes, and the laws of thermodynamics.
Today we went over the three main methods of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation. I also talked a little bit about the properties of light, and where the principle "hot air rises" originates. We ended class with a short group discussion on how to categorize methods of cooling off a hot cup of coffee.
We began class today by talking about the difference between heat and temperature, and talking about the physical basis for the Kelvin temperature scale. Next I went over thermal expansion, and we did a short participation question and demonstration of thermal expansion. I ended by going over the concept of heat capacity and how easily heat energy flows between objects in thermal contact.
Today we learned about properties of gasses, Boyle's Law, and Bernoulli's principle. We also revisited buoyancy for gasses instead of liquids, and did an example problem using Boyle's Law.
We started class with an example problem using liquid pressure, then talked more about buoyancy and explained Archimedes' principle and Pascal's principle. I also did some participation questions about how density and buoyancy are related, and did a flotation demo.
Today's class began with some review questions about mass, volume, and density, then we spent the rest of class focusing on pressure. I talked about pressure between solids, and we did several voting questions on pressure. Next we talked about how pressure in a liquid depends on how deep the object is in the liquid, and introduced the idea of the buoyant force. We ended class with a demo of the buoyant force on a cylindrical piece of steel in a water tank.
We started a new section of the book today on the physics of matter. I went through a lot of background information about the structure of atoms, the names and properties of various subatomic particles, and we looked a little at the periodic table of elements. Next, I introduced the idea of density and did an example using the formula for density of an object.
Today's class began with two examples using Newton's law of gravity, then we talked about projectile motion and how it's similar to what happens in free fall. Next, I went into the minimum speed needed for a projectile to stay in a circular orbit arround the curvature of the Earth, and we looked at orbits as an application of several concepts from all of mechanics.
We started out by doing participation for the week, then we covered two main topics today in class: centripetal force (which keeps objects moving in circles), and gravity.
We took the first exam during class today. Scores will be posted on iLearn later next week.
Class today focused on torque (the rotational analogue to force) and angular momentum. I talked about how torque depends on force strength, direction, and the length of the lever arm, and then we talked about the similarities between force and torque. I showed everyone how to figure torque direction using the right hand rule, and we did an equilibrium example. Next, I did a demonstration of conservation of angular momentum at the end of class.
Today we started looking at rotational motion. I went over definitions for angular position, angular velocity, and angular acceleration. Next we did a few demos on what contributes to rotational inertia (that is, what it is about an object that makes it more difficult to spin. I showed two meter sticks, one with a large lump of clay, and dropped them onto the floor at the same time to show which one was harder to rotate, and we watched a race between a solid disk and a hollow hoop down a ramp.
Today we delved into the connected between work and energy, and did a few conservation of energy example problems. I also went over some of the sticky points from the roller coaster problem from Wednesday, and we did a participation question about the relationship between kinetic and potential energy.
Today's class focused on the concepts of work, power, and energy. We got into the definitions of work and power, and I did a numerical example of how to use the work formula. I also showed how the work done on an object can sometimes be either negative or positive. Next we started looking at kinetic energy and potential energy, and we ended class with a few voting questions on how those quantities can be exchanged back and forth within an individual object.
We spent today's class going over conservation of momentum and doing a long example problem where a large fish eats a smaller fish swimming in the opposite direction.
We spent class today introducing the concepts of momentum and impulse. We did several voting questions on how to calculate momentum and impulse, and watched a demonstration where I fired two different darts (one sharp and one blunt) at a block of wood. I also went into the connection between impulse and momentum, and we looked at how these concepts are connected to Newton's Second law.
Today's class focused on using Newton's laws of motion to analyze the "stubborn donkey" problem. We also practiced drawing force diagrams and turned them in for our participation activity. Next, I went over the parallelorgram rule for adding vectors that are not parallel or antiparallel to one another.
We started class today with another example using Newton's second law, and then had a small-group discussion on how to use net force in conjunction with this law. Next I went over Newton's third law of motion, and we talked about how it can and cannot be used.
Today's class focused on Newton's second law of motion. I went over the basics of how the equation F=ma works, and we did several voting questions and example problems using Newton's second law. I also went into the units of force (the newton), and how that is defined in kg, m, and s. I ended class by going over free body diagrams and doing a demo showing what happens when there's no air resistance.
I started today's class by quickly reviewing the formulae for velocity and acceleration, and then we did a short participation activity on the directions of velocity and acceleration vectors in different kinds of motion. Next, I talked about free fall and how the acceleration of an object in free fall is always g, then we did a few example questions on free fall.
I started class today with some discussion about vector notation and why we need to use vectors to represent forces acting on an object. Next, we talked about speed, velocity, and acceleration. I did a few examples on how to calculate velocity and acceleration, and we did a few voting questions on relative velocity.
Today's class focused on Newton's first law of motion and the idea of net force. I broke down Newton's first law in some detail, and we talked about how forces can act in various directions and combine with each other. Next we did a small-group activity on calculating net force, then ended class with a discussion of the equilibrium rule and how net force can tell us about whether an object is in uniform motion.
We started class today with a small-group discussion on some of the central ideas behind science, and the differences between hypotheses, theories, and laws. Next I went over the basic units systems that we will be using in this class, and did a units conversion example with the length of time in one year.
Welcome to Physics 101! I spent most of class today going over the syllabus and how the course is going to be structured. We also did a practice run for how the voting cards will be used to facilitate voting questions and small-group discussions in class. Please read through the entire syllabus (see link above), and bring a signed copy of the student contract on the last page to class with you on Wednesday to hand in.