Physics 121 - Mechanics - Spring 1999

General Course Information and Policies

Grading Scheme:
Laboratory Work10%
WebWork Homework25%
Hand-in Homework10%
Midterm Exams (2)15% each
Final Exam25%
Laboratory Work:

Laboratory work for this course is handled independently from the lectures. Your work in lab will be graded by the lab instructors and only passed to me at the end of the semester for computing your final course grade. All lab projects must be completed for you to receive a grade in the course. Lab manuals for the course are on sale at the campus book store (the online manual previous posted on the home page is out of date). Any questions or problems you might have concerning the laboratories should be addressed to Prof. Douglass and not to me (Prof. Teitel).

WebWork Homework:

We will be using the WebWork system for posing and grading homework problems over the internet. Many of you will already be familiar with WebWork from your calculus class. The WebWork login page for this course is Your login name is the same as your userid for your email account on uhura. Your initial password is your social security number (be sure to enter it with the dashes, i.e. as 123-45-6789). Please change your password to something else after your first login.

Once logged in, you will be able to select a problem set to work on. The current problem set will typically be opened for work on Thursday morning 8am, and closed the following Thursday morning 8am. Earlier problem sets remain available for practice work throughout the semester, but NO GRADES WILL BE RECORDED AFTER THE CLOSING DATE OF EACH SET. After selecting a problem set, you can choose to download it for printing, or select specific problems to view on the Web in your browser. I recommend that you first print a hard copy for yourself, work out the answers to the problems at home, and then go back to view the problems on the Web and enter your answers. Note that most problems will require you to enter both a numerical answer, and the physical units for that answer. A list of accepted unit abbreviations, and other help for entering your answers in the proper accepted format, can be found from links on the WebWork login or problem set pages.

Note that each student's problem set is, though the use of randomly chosen numbers for parameters, unique to that student. Simply copying numerical answers from a classmate will therefore not work! You need to understand how to do the problem and then apply the method of solution to your own uniquely specified problem. After entering an answer, you will immediately be informed if it is correct or not. If it is incorrect, you will have up to 20 chances to try again, without any penalty. If you have not succeeded to answer correctly after 10 or so tries, you are strongly advised to consult with your fellow classmates, or a TA, to get help or a hint on where you might be going wrong, before returning to WebWork and trying to solve the problem. Help from TAs should be sought by going to the help room BL208 during office hours (see Course Staff and Hours page for times).

Hard copies of problem sets can be downloaded as either a postscript (PS) or PDF format file. PS files may be printed on a postscript printer using Drop-PS from a Macintosh computer, or may be printed on other printers by viewing with GhostScript. PDF files may be printed with Adobe Acrobate Reader. TA's will be available in BL208 during their office hours to help with any questions concerning use of the WebWork system.

Hand-in Homework:

In addition to WebWork Homework, each week there will also be assigned typically two homework problems to be handed in for grading the traditional way. The specific problems assigned will be posted in the info box to be found on the corresponding WebWork problem set page. You are encouraged to consult and work with your fellow classmates on these problems, however everyone must write up their own solutions independently (obvious copying will be penalized).

Hand-in homework problems are due by the start of lecture on the same closing date of the corresponding WebWork problem set. They must be placed in the locked metal box, labeled with your TA's name, that is found on the 2nd floor of BL by the entrance to the "new" wing. Be sure to label your homework with your section number. Your hand-in homework will be graded by your recitation TA. HOMEWORK MUST BE HANDED IN ON TIME TO RECEIVE CREDIT.

Homework Solutions:

Solutions to the week's homework problems (both WebWork and Hand-in) will be available on-line, after the due date, by going to the link found in the info box on the WebWork problem set page. Solutions will also be kept on reserve in the Physics, Optics and Astronomy Library on the third floor of Bausch & Lomb Hall.

Midterm Exams:

There will be two Midterm Exams, scheduled Tuesday February 16, at 8-9:30 am in Hoyt Auditorium, and Tuesday March 23, at 8-9:30 am in Lower Strong Auditorium. Exams are CLOSED BOOK and consist of problems similar to those in the homework assignments. Midterm Exam II focuses on material from Midterm Exam I onwards (but assumes you understand the concepts in the earlier material). Midterm Exams will only be postponed for an individual with a documented medical excuse or other very serious reason. You need to contact me BEFORE the exam to receive consideration (unless in case of unforeseen emergency).

Final Exam:

The Final Exam will be Thursday, May 6, at 4pm. The exam will be CLOSED BOOK and will cover all the work of the entire semester. No changes in the date or time of the final will be made for any individual, except in the case of a documented medical excuse.


Lecture notes, together with homework and exam solutions, are kept on reserve in the Physics, Optics, and Astronomy Library (POA) on the third floor of Bausch and Lomb Hall.

Recitation Sections:

Each student is assigned to a recitation section run by a Teaching Assistant. The purpose of the recitation is to go over homework problems of the preceeding week, and answer any questions you might have. Please go to your scheduled recitation. TA's additionally will have office hours in BL208 during which they can be consulted for help with course work, and assist in using the WebWork system. You are free to consult with any of the course TA's (not just your own recitation TA) during these office hours.

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