University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Phys 1202W.200

Introductory Physics for Biology and Pre-medicine II

modified 2-Mar-2017 at 10:47AM by Thomas Walsh

Introductory Physics For Biology, Physics 1202.200


This syllabus and web postings may change thru the second week of class; please check for anything new; you are responsible for any subsequent quiz date or other changes either announced in class or on the class web site to be found at

We are in temporary quarters in Willy Hall while Tate Lab is being remodeled. Please understand that not everything here will be to your liking, or mine.


Professor Tom Walsh, 160 McNamara Alumni Center, 624-1371,


Our class meets MTWF in Willy Hall 125 12:20-1:10 and group problem sessions meet Thursday in assigned rooms and times. You are responsible for all lecture and group material.

My lectures will not always follow the book. I will post book sections weekly if they overlap lecture material.

I will attempt to keep to the following format. I will write out about a half hour of lecture on a projector. Fridays I will post these notes for you to review. (Please let me know if you find errors.) The remaining lecture time will be demonstrations and some summary plus question slides. Fridays I will work through a problem of the week instead.

This course covers a lot of material and so it moves quickly. You must make an effort to keep up. If you start to fall behind, please talk to me early. Check out the topic list--electricity and currents, magnetism and wave optics, nuclear physics.

I will discuss biological applications to some degree, but that does need some physics background first.


I seldom respond to email; I suggest that you talk to me directly. After all, I am here daily, MTWF. Your TAs do expect emails because of intermittent TA availability and I have asked the TAs to respond promptly. Also, be sure to put ‘1202’ in the subject line if you email a TA. If you do not get a response, talk to me.

Required Course Materials:

We will not be using ‘clickers’.

Text Book: "General Physics", second edition, Sternheim and Kane. There is a UMN Volume 2.

Laboratory Manual: 1202_LabManual.pdf (posted on Physics website)

Laboratory Notebook: University of Minnesota 2077-S (Bookstore)

Supplementary (not required) course materials:

The Competent Problem Solver - Calculus Version (posted on the website).

Thompson: Calculus Made Easy. There are other calculus and algebra background books. The Schaum Outline series is often good. If you are worried about your math background, check out the Schaum Outlines in the bookstore.

There are a number of books related to the course and at our level. Used copies can be reasonably priced. Here is a partial list

Physics in Biology and Medicine, Davidovits, Academic Press; broad coverage—I like this book.

Introduction to Physics in Modern Medicine, Kane, CRC Press; mostly just on imaging in medicine.

Approximate Lecture Schedule

Weeks 1-7--roughly electricity and electric currents

Weeks 8-12--roughly magnetism, waves and optics

Weeks 13-15--roughly nuclear physics

Here is a little more detail:

Weeks 1-4 are on Coulomb's law, Electric fields, Electric Potential and motion in electric fields

Weeks 5-7 are on Currents, Circuits and Electric Fields in Cells.

Weeks 8-10 are on Magnetism and Induction and material in magnetic fields

Weeks 11-12 are on Waves and Optics

Weeks 13-15 are on Nuclear Physics

Lab Schedule:

There will be a Friday posting of what lab we will do the following week. There will be four lab reports due, details to be posted. Please show up on time for lab. If you are a half hour or more late to a lab session, the TA may dock you half credit off the following lab report.

The lab manual will be posted separately as a PDF document. You should download it for future use.

Labs meet in (TBA)

Here is a very tentative lab schedule with the problems you will do by week (e.g. "IV 1,2" is lab IV, problems 1 and 2). This may change!

Week 1 - no lab
Week 2 -Orientation Lab
Week 3- Lab 4- electric field and potential - IV 1,2
Week 4- Lab 4- electric field and potential - IV 5,6
Week 5- Lab 3- energy and capacitance - III 1,2
Week 6- Lab 3- energy and capacitance - III 6,7
Week 7- Lab 2- energy and circuits - II 3,4
Week 8- Lab 2- energy and circuits - II 6,7
Week 9- Lab 5- magnetic fields and force - V 7,8
Week 10-Lab 5- magnetic fields and force- V 1,2,5
Week 11-Lab 6- electric fields from magnetic fields (induction) - VI 3,5
Week 12-Lab 6- mechanical waves, material to be posted
Week 13-Lab 7- wave optics - VII 1,2
Week 14-Lab 8- nuclear physics - VIII 3,4
Week 15- Open

Quizzes (all during Friday class hour in Willy Hall 125):

February 3, February 24, March 24, April 21

Quizzes will consist of a number of multiple choice problems plus two word problems. It is vital that you fill out the bubble sheet for the multiple choice. It is also vital that you present a fully coherent, complete solution to a word problem. Graders are not mind readers and a hopelessly confused solution will cost you points--even if, after the fact, you think that the answer is in the mess somewhere. Also, if you just write down a solution with no steps, it will cost you points. And we will suspect cheating.

If you disagree with grading on a quiz, write a one paragraph explanation on a separate page, staple it to the quiz and give the disputed quiz to me. You must do this not more than one week after the quizzes are returned. A consistently applied grader policy on quiz errors I usually leave as is. There is a reason for this: student errors are almost always more common than you think. Your disputed mistake may be the same mistake others made. We try to be as fair as possible in the initial grading.

The lowest of four quiz scores will be dropped. This means that you can miss one quiz for any reason. There are no early, late or makeup quizzes. If you are in an approved athletic program, see your athletic advisor regarding quiz conflicts.

Final Exam:

May 11, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Alternate if you qualify


I expect to approximately follow the grade distribution for past 1202 courses. This has led historically to about 60% of the class getting grades of B- or better. I will also attempt to make the grade distribution of this section as close as possible to that of the other section, 1202.100.

If you have difficulty with the first quiz, you will likely do much better than you think you will early on. You just have to readjust your schedule of work for the course. Try to identify your difficulties early on and talk to me. I can almost always show you how to do better on quizzes, for example.

Course grades will be based on your performance in the laboratory, group problem solving sessions, best 3 of 4 quizzes and the final exam. There is a rough grading for the group problems each week, with all members of the group getting the same score.

The grade percentages are calculated as follows: Laboratory 20% + Group problems 10% + Three best (of four) quizzes 40% + Final exam 30%.

The following are guaranteed grades based on overall percentages. At the end I will relax these divisions somewhat to correspond to grades in the other section of 1202 and the historical grades for the course, as I mentioned above.

Notice that 30% of your grade simply depends on your diligence in lab and in the group problem work. You are certain to do better than your quiz scores.

A- or better: at least 85%

B- or better: at least 70%

C- or better: at least 55%

If you maintain 90% overall or better you are likely but not guaranteed to get an A. If you get below 40% or less than 60% in lab (or cheat) you are guaranteed to get an F.

Group Problem Sessions on Thursday:

The group problem sessions are your opportunity to work with other students on problems. The group problems are graded according to a simple schema and will contribute to your course grade. If you are not present you will get a zero group grade for that week.


There will be weekly homework with solutions posted the following week. You should spend time on the homework, as I often make up quiz problems very similar to homework problems. This is your opportunity to work with other students to clear up any confusion or misconceptions you may have.

You must keep your homework solutions in a separate notebook and bring it to the group problem session. Your TA will check off whether or not you did a reasonable amount of work and this will form part of your group problem session grade.

Lab Assignments:

The laboratory schedule and room assignment is posted separately from this syllabus; there may be changes and you should check the schedule the first week of class.

You will be expected to submit 4 laboratory reports, subjects determined by your TA. The grading schema will be posted. I consider a properly prepared and maintained laboratory notebook to be important. Your notebook will form part of your lab grade. Because this is a writing intensive class, we expect literacy and you may be penalized for bad English.

You will need to get 60% or better score on lab reports to pass the course. It is embarrassing to otherwise do well but get 50% in lab and thus an‘F’ grade.

Office Hours:

As given by the web page link. Our TA office hours will be in a room TBA, with the hours posted here and outside the room. You should ask any 1202 TA for help, including those for the other section of the class (there are two sections). But please remember that the sections do not cover exactly the same material in exactly the same order. In addition to my own office hours, I will be available just before and after class, either in the lecture room (or outside if there is a following class); this is a good time to ask questions that are on your mind then.


Do not do it, cheating is bad for you psychologically; you may become a Wall Street banker. Cheating consists of copying another student’s lab report; using disallowed material during quizzes or the final; talking to anyone but a proctor during a quiz or final exam; making your exam papers or any other paper visible to another student. This is not an exclusive list. The penalty for cheating is a prompt ‘F’ grade in the course and a report to the bureaucrats.

Required University of Minnesota and Departmental Material:

This is obligatory. It is to make our academic bureaucrats happy and you have to read it and also check the links at least once.


This class satisfies the University of Minnesota Liberal Education requirement of a physical science course with a laboratory component, as part of the Liberal Education Core. Discoveries and inventions that have profoundly altered the course of human history arose from the physical sciences. As citizens and voters (whether in the United States or in another country), today’s students will be called upon to make decisions on such topics as global climate change, alternative energy sources and resource management. A familiarity with the methods and findings of the physical sciences has never been more important and forms a crucial component of a common education.
This class will expose the student to physical principles and concepts, demonstrate how these principles can be applied to quantitatively describe natural phenomena, and provide the student with an opportunity to perform hands-on experiments and measurements that replicate how physical knowledge is obtained. The fundamental principles of electricity and magnetism are explored, and their application in electronic circuits will be emphasized. The basic physics that underlies wireless communication technology will be explored and elucidated, providing a necessary solid grounding for future engineering or physical science studies. The class will include discussions of electrostatics, dc and ac circuits, electrical energy and capacitors. Magnetism, electromagnetic induction and oscillations will also be described. Throughout the semester, the application of these physics concepts in modern technology will be emphasized.
All knowledge in the physical sciences is empirically acquired, and a proper exposure to the ways of knowing and thinking in the physical sciences requires a laboratory component to any formal coursework. The lab component of the class will give you experience in making predictions based upon hypotheses, which are then empirically tested by experiment or observation, through which scientific knowledge is developed. The language of the physical world is mathematical and students will be expected to employ mathematical reasoning in order to solve problems both qualitatively and quantitatively. Physics is a social endeavor, and the student will gain experience in cooperative problem solving, working in small groups with other students, in both the laboratory and Discussion sections of the course.
ATHLETES must provide their official University of Minnesota athletic letter containing the approved competition schedule to their instructor and the staff in office 148. Away exams will be arranged with the athletic adviser traveling with the team. Accommodations will be made for official university sports only (i.e. no accommodations will be made for intramurals, club sports, etc.)
DISABILITY SERVICES: If you have accommodations for this course, please provide the staff in office 148 with a copy of your accommodation letter for the current semester. Exams will be arranged according to accommodations and sent to the testing center for administration.
• Student conduct code
• Scholastic Dishonesty See student conduct code
• Disability Accommodations
• Use of Personal Electronic Devices in the Classroom
• Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences
• Appropriate Student Use of Class Notes and Course Materials
• Grading and Transcripts
• Sexual Harassment
• Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action
• Mental Health and Stress Management 
Student Conduct Code
The University seeks an environment that promotes academic achievement and integrity, that is protective of free inquiry, and that serves the educational mission of the University. Similarly, the University seeks a community that is free from violence, threats, and intimidation; that is respectful of the rights, opportunities, and welfare of students, faculty, staff, and guests of the University; and that does not threaten the physical or mental health or safety of members of the University community.
As a student at the University you are expected adhere to Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code. To review the Student Conduct Code, please see:
Note that the conduct code specifically addresses disruptive classroom conduct, which means "engaging in behavior that substantially or repeatedly interrupts either the instructor's ability to teach or student learning. The classroom extends to any setting where a student is engaged in work toward academic credit or satisfaction of program-based requirements or related activities."
Scholastic Dishonesty
You are expected to do your own academic work and cite sources as necessary. Failing to do so is scholastic dishonesty. Scholastic dishonesty means plagiarizing; cheating on assignments or examinations; engaging in unauthorized collaboration on academic work; taking, acquiring, or using test materials without faculty permission; submitting false or incomplete records of academic achievement; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsement; altering, forging, or misusing a University academic record; or fabricating or falsifying data, research procedures, or data analysis. (Student Conduct Code: If it is determined that a student has cheated, he or she may be given an "F" or an "N" for the course, and may face additional sanctions from the University. For additional information, please see:
The Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity has compiled a useful list of Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to scholastic dishonesty: If you have additional questions, please clarify with your instructor for the course. Your instructor can respond to your specific questions regarding what would constitute scholastic dishonesty in the context of a particular class- e.g., whether collaboration on assignments is permitted, requirements and methods for citing sources, if electronic aids are permitted or prohibited during an exam.
Disability Accommodations
The University is committed to providing quality education to all students regardless of ability. Determining appropriate disability accommodations is a collaborative process. You as a student must register with Disability Services and provide documentation of your disability. The course instructor must provide information regarding a course's content, methods, and essential components. The combination of this information will be used by Disability Services to determine appropriate accommodations for a particular student in a particular course. For more information, please reference Disability Services:
Use of Personal Electronic Devices in the Classroom

Using personal electronic devices in the classroom setting can hinder instruction and learning, not only for the student using the device but also for other students in the class. To this end, the University establishes the right of each faculty member to determine if and how personal electronic devices are allowed to be used in the classroom. For complete information, please reference:
Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences
Students will not be penalized for absence during the semester due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances. Such circumstances include verified illness, participation in intercollegiate athletic events, subpoenas, jury duty, military service, bereavement, and religious observances. Such circumstances do not include voting in local, state, or national elections. For complete information, please see:
Appropriate Student Use of Class Notes and Course Materials
Taking notes is a means of recording information but more importantly of personally absorbing and integrating the educational experience. However, broadly disseminating class notes beyond the classroom community or accepting compensation for taking and distributing classroom notes undermines instructor interests in their intellectual work product while not substantially furthering instructor and student interests in effective learning. Such actions violate shared norms and standards of the academic community. For additional information, please see:
Grading and Transcripts
The University utilizes plus and minus grading on a 4.000 cumulative grade point scale in accordance with the following:
A 4.000 - Represents achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements
A- 3.667
B+ 3.333
B 3.000 - Represents achievement that is significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements
B- 2.667
C+ 2.333
C 2.000 - Represents achievement that meets the course requirements in every respect
C- 1.667
D+ 1.333
D 1.000 - Represents achievement that is worthy of credit even though it fails to meet fully the course requirements
S Represents achievement that is satisfactory, which is equivalent to a C- or better.
For additional information, please refer to:
"Sexual harassment" means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment in any University activity or program. Such behavior is not acceptable in the University setting. For additional information, please consult Board of Regents Policy:
Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action
The University will provide equal access to and opportunity in its programs and facilities, without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. For more information, please consult Board of Regents Policy:
Mental Health and Stress Management
As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance and may reduce your ability to participate in daily activities. University of Minnesota services are available to assist you. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus via the Student Mental Health Website: