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Contact Info

Course Info






PHY 142: Electricity & Magnetism (Honors)
Prof. S. Teitel stte@pas.rochester.edu ---- Fall 2009

Course Information

Instructors | Lectures | Textbooks | Examinations
Homework | Laboratory | Recitations | Grading

PHY 142 is the third in the three course honors sequence of introductory physics (141, 143, 142), covering electromagnetism from Coulomb's Law through Maxwell's equations. To enroll in PHY 142 you must have completed PHY 141 or received a grade of B- or better in PHY 121 (or its equivalent). This course covers the same material as PHY 122, but at a more advanced mathematical level. Students who find the pace of this course too fast, or the mathematical level too difficult, should consider transferring into 122.


For the names and contact information of the faculty and teaching assistants for this course, see the Contact Information page of this website.
Tuesday and Thursday 11:05 - 12:20 in Hoyt Auditorium

Notes for each day's lecture will be posted on the Calendar page of this website after the lecture has been presented. The Calendar page will also contain the course syllabus (which may get revised as the course progresses) and suggested reading assignments from the text to accompany each lecture. The Calendar will also contain Exam dates and Homework due dates.

The text for this course will be Electricity and Magnetism: Berkeley Physics Course Volume 2, 2nd edition, by E. M. Purcell, which you may purchase at the campus bookstore.

This is an excellent book, well suited for an honors introductory class. It is written in CGS units, which is what we will use in this class. Note, however, that most other introductory electromagnetism textbooks use MKS units. Most physicists (particularly theorists) greatly prefer CGS units, and this is usually what you will encounter in graduate school. But most engineers prefer MKS units, and this is also what you will encounter if you take our junior level E&M course. Be prepared for this difference in units if you read other textbooks!

Also on reserve in the POA Library (3rd floor Bausch and Lomb Hall) are the following useful texts:

  • Introduction to Electrodynamics, 3rd edition, by D. J. Griffiths
    Somewhat more mathematically advanced than this course, this is the standard text for the junior level E&M course.

  • Physics for Scientists and Engineers Volume 2, by D. C. Giancoli
    Somewhat lower mathermatical level than this course, this is a standard text for non-honors introductory E&M courses and will be used this semester in PHY 122

  • Physics for Engineers and Scientists, 3rd edition, by H. C. Ohanian and J. T. Markert
    Another introductory text at a PHY 122 level

  • The Feynman Lectures on Physics Volume 2, by Feynman, Leighton and Sands
    A classic text, not perhaps the best to read as an introduction, but one to learn from your entire career long.
There will be two in-class mid-semester exams and one final exam given at the following times:

in-class Exam 1Thursday, October 111:05 - 12:20 Hoyt Aud
in-class Exam 2Thursday, November 511:05 - 12:20 Hoyt Aud
Final ExamSaturday, December 194:00 - 7:00 pm Hoyt Aud

Exams will be closed book, no notes. You must bring a scientific calculator - check that it is charged up because no calculators will be provided by the proctors.

A missed exam counts as a zero. Make-up exams will be given only for medical or similar serious excuses, and only when advance permission has been received from Prof. Teitel (except in cases of unexpected emergencies). The instructor reserves the right to give an oral make-up exam.

There will be ten homework problem sets, assigned on a weekly basis. Problem sets will be posted on this website by Friday, and are due the following Friday by 2 pm. Your solutions must be turned into the PHY 114 homework locker located on the ground floor of B&L (near the entrance to the tunnels). Late solutions will not be accepted, except by prior approval from Prof. Teitel for only serious reasons (night before due requests will not be considered).

You are encouraged to work on and discuss homework problems with your classmates. However you must write up your solutions on your own. Copying of solutions from other students will be dealt with according to the University's Academic Honesty code.

Solutions will be posted on the Homework page of this website. Regardless of how well you think you have done on your own solutions, you should read these posted solutions carefully.

The laboratory part of this course is conducted independently of the lectures. Information about the labs may be found on the lab website:
All questions concerning the laboratory should be addressed to the laboratory email address:
You must satisfactorily do and pass all the labs in order to get a grade for this course. Anyone failing to satisfactorily pass all the labs receives an incomplete in the course. Since labs are graded pass/fail, they will not contribute a point value to your final class average.

Each student in the course must be enrolled in one recitation section that will meet once a week for one hour. Your TA will usually have problems to discuss in recitation, but this is also where you may ask questions about lectures and homework. Your homework will also be returned to you in recitation.

Recitation participation is not graded, however input from the recitation TA as to student level of effort may be taken into account when assigning final letter grades for the course in cases that are on the boarderline between two letter grades.

The schedule of recitations is given below. Recitation sections will start on Tuesday, September 8.

1Monday2:00 pmMEL 21878781Jacob Brock
2Monday6:15 pmB&L 26978794Jacob Brock
3Tuesday4:50 pmCSB 20978730Jacob Brock
4Wednesday4:50 pmB&L 27078775Brad Christensen
Your final course average will be computed as follows:

Exam 120%
Exam 220%
Final Exam35%

* You must satisfactorily complete all four labs to get a grade in this course. Failure to do so will result in an incomplete.

Note that homework is a relatively large part of your final grade. The surest way to do poorly in the course is to not hand in a homework assignment and so get a zero for it! Even if you are late, hand your homework in!

Your grades on the various componets of the course will be reported to you, as they get recorded, via the University's Blackboard system. It is your responsibility to notice any recording errors and report them to Prof. Teitel (stte@pas.rochester.edu) as soon as possible, and no later than one week of their being posted.