PHYSICS 183 -- FALL 2003
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I
Section 1

Course Website:


Course Description:

Physics 183 is the first semester of a two semester course in Physics for Scientists and Engineers. The prerequisite is MTH 132. Topics to be covered are mechanics, Newton's laws, momentum, energy conservation laws, rotational motion, oscillation, gravity, and waves.

Prof. Hendrik Schatz
Room: W-211 Cyclotron Building
Telephone: 333-6397
Office hours: after class and by appointment


Halliday, Resnick, and Walker
John Wiley and Sons, Inc. (2000)
6th Edition
(Volume 1)

Class Organization:

The lecture is on M,T,W, and Th, at 1:10 to 2:40 PM in Rm 1410, Biomedical and Physical Science Building BPS. In addition, each student is required to spend at least one hour per week in the Physics Learning Center (PLC). At the PLC, PHY183 questions and problems are discussed and worked on in a cooperative learning environment in groups with other students and with the help of TA's. Help on physics problems can also be obtained through the online discussion group, which is part of the CAPA system used for homework assignments. The discussion group can be used at any time to post messages related to PHY183 homework, and will be monitored by a TA at scheduled times.  

Students are encouraged to work in groups on homework assignments and to prepare for exams. Students should be aware that in the end the class grade is determined largely by individual exams. Therefore, working groups should make sure each member of the group understands how to solve the problems worked on. The class is graded on a fixed scale so it can never hurt you when you help a fellow student ! 

More information on PLC and discussion group below.


There will be three 1-hour Midterm Exams with optional 30% partial credit for corrections, and one 2-hour Final. The exams will be based on the lectures, textbook, quizzes and homework.

The partial credit for corrections (PCC) works the following: After the exam, the same set of problems is handed out as homework (the PCC set). Answers can be entered through CAPA as for any other homework (with slightly different logon instructions) until the respective due date. If your PCC score is higher than your exam score, 30% of the difference will be credited to your exam. For more Frequently Asked Questions see the website.


Unannounced quizzes will be given frequently in class (I anticipate at least one quiz per week). For each student 1/3 (rounded up) of the lowest quiz scores will be dropped automatically at the end of the semester. Quiz formats will vary - some will be worked on in groups, some will be worked on individually. 


There will be 12 assignments for which solutions must be entered using MSU's CAPA system on the Web. Due dates can be found in the class schedule. For your convenience, a printed version of the homework with your personal CAPA ID for that set will be handed out in class, but the answers have to be entered on the computer. If you could not pick up your printed homework, you can still do the homework on the Internet (there is a button "lost my CAPA" that will e-mail you your CAPA ID) and what you see on the screen will be identical to what is on your paper version. Note that homework is individualized. 

Excuse Policy:

If any course requirements are missed you must have a valid documented excuse in order to retake or to have those requirements dropped/averaged. Excused absences or extensions will be approved only with proper documentation. When possible, please notify the instructor in advance if you must miss a course requirement, otherwise notify the instructor as soon as possible afterwards.

Grading Procedure:

Grades are based on the following formula:
Homework 30%; 3 Hour Exams 30%; Quizzes 12% (1/3 lowest scores dropped); Final Exam 30%. This comes to a total of 102%. The final grade is set by a fixed scale, given below. In other words, the course in NOT "graded on a curve". Final percentages are rounded to a full percent before the scale is applied !

The guaranteed scale (it may be lowered a little but not raised) is:
93 - 102 % --> 4.0
88 - 92 % --> 3.5
83 - 87 % --> 3.0
78 - 82 % --> 2.5
73 - 77 % --> 2.0
68 - 72 % --> 1.5
60 - 67 % --> 1.0

University policies concerning academic integrity will be strictly applied.

Honors Option:

There is an honors option for this class. Students interested in that option should contact Prof. Schatz at the end of the first lecture.

Physics Learning Center PLC:
The Physics Learning Center is in 1248 BPS (Strohsacker Center). It is used by several different physics courses. It will be staffed by members of the teaching team for Physics 183 according to a schedule that will be posted on the website. The instructors at the Learning Center will be available for help on any physics topic covered in the course. You may attend any and as many of the sessions as you wish, but we require students to spend at least one hour per week in the learning center.

Forming study and problem solving groups has been shown to be an effective way to improve understanding and performance. The PLC provides a cooperative learning environment where students work in groups to discuss and solve problems. TA's are present to monitor the groups and help to answer difficult questions  if needed.

Asynchroneous Learning Network ALN:

The Asynchronous Learning Network is part of a project supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Selecting the 'Discuss' button in CAPA takes you to the ALN. You can post questions which will be answered by the teaching team, or by a fellow student. Students can also read the Questions/Answers which other students have posted on the ALN. You can also interact with a teaching assistant who will be on line at the times indicated on a schedule that will be posted on the website. You may use the ALN at any time, 24 hrs/day.

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