Syllabus contents:

Schedule of Topics

Homework, Exams, and Grading

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Phys 224, Spring 2003: Thermal Physics  (Physics A-Wing, Room 110, MWF 10:30)

Professor Matt Strassler
Office: Physics B403 (fourth floor, east end)
Office Phone: 616-9649
Email: strassler@phys.washington.edu
My main website is http://www.phys.washington.edu/~strasslr.

Office hours are still to be determined, based on your schedules.

Tentative Schedule (subject to adjustment)

Week 1-2: Fluids (Giancoli Chapter 13)
Week 2-3: Temperature; Ideal Gas (Chapter 17)
Week 4: Molecules and Gases; Diffusion; Phase Transitions (Chapter 18)
Week 5-6: Review; Midterm May 2nd; Advanced Fluids; More on Phase Transitions
Week 7-8: First Law of Thermodynamics: Heat and Energy Transfer (Chapter 19)
Week 9-10: Second Law of Thermodynamics: Engines, Entropy (Chapter 20)



Homework, Quizzes, Exams and Grading Policy

Note the midterm is Friday May 2nd in class, and the final is Monday June 9th at 8:30 am, both in room A110.

There will be weekly quizzes (some graded only on participation, some fully graded) and there will be weekly homeworks (essential for passing the course!)  

Quizzes will be on Friday and will typically involve a little bit of preparation before class.  
Homeworks will be due Wednesday.  [I promise good demonstrations on Monday, so you'll have no reason to skip a day.]

Let me know as soon as possible when you cannot make it to class on a Friday!  And similarly for homeworks. Late homeworks will be penalized if I am not given a decent excuse in advance, so establish your alibis before Monday morning. :-)   Repeated late homeworks will be docked points, period, so don't use up your supply too early.

You may consult each other on the homework, but may not work together in teams. If you are stuck, ask a friend for advice as to how to solve the problem, and feel free to discuss the physics principles involved in great detail, as much as you want.  But please, do not look at the details of his/her solution and essentially copy them down.  That does you no good, for one thing, and for another it will be viewed as cheating. [The TA will be on the lookout, so don't test the system.]

Exams will be closed book, closed notes.  However I will provide an extensive formula sheet so that memorizing formulas is not necessary.  [Knowing how to use them is the important part, anyway.]  Simple calculators are allowed, but pocket computers are not.

Grades will be weakly curved and will give benefit of doubt.  By this I mean:  although grading will largely be on an absolute scale, (a) a shift may be applied to everyone's exam score if I determine the exam was too hard or too easy [which ideally will not be necessary] and (b) if you do very well on almost everything but screw up on one thing, I'm liable to give you some extra credit for your successes and weight your failures as less important.  So if you often do not do well on exams, work hard on the homework!!

Approximately, your quizzes will be worth 20%, homework 20%, midterm 20%,
final 40%.  

Note there is no lab associated with this course.


Due to a long-standing commitment, I will be away for about ten days in the middle of the term (April 29th-May 8th?)  I'll make sure you're well taken care of and will not receive inferior instruction during that time.  There will, however, be a delay in grading the midterm.Only an preliminary grade will be available initially, and only on request..



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Contact the instructor at: yourname@u.washington.edu