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Phys 223 - Waves and Optics

Syllabus for Physics 223 Fall 2017

Meeting times:

MWF 10:00-10:50 am in SAM 202
T: Tutorial 9:00-10:50 am in SAM 205
Th: Lab 9:00-10:50 am in SAM 205


Office Hours:



François Lepeintre

SAM 212: T, W, Th 12:20-1:00 pm, and F 12:30-1:30 pm

(206) 934-5438



"Physics for Scientists and Engineers" by Randall D. Knight (4th edition).
"Tutorials in Introductory Physics" by Lillian McDermott, Peter Shaffer and the Physics Education Group.


Phys 222 and Math 153 with 2.0 or better

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course, students will be able to do the following:

  • Solve rotational dynamics problems.
  • Solve problems involving momentum and energy and their conservation for rotational motion.
  • Describe oscillations mathematically and solve problems involving simple harmonic motion.
  • Explain how waves originate and propagate in various media and how ubiquitous they are in our environment.
  • Explain wave‐wave and wave‐matter interactions, such as reflection, refraction, diffraction, interference, and the Doppler effect.
  • Solve problems with different types of waves such as waves on a string, sound waves, EM waves.
  • Draw ray diagrams to produce images produced by mirrors and lenses.
  • Use scientific methods, analyze physical systems, apply quantitative measures to answer questions, and solve problems through experiments and hands-on activities based on the principles introduced in Phys& 223.

Course Content:

This class covers rotation and the basic principles of waves and optics. We will study waves (on a spring, sound waves, EM waves), reflection and refraction, lenses, diffraction, interference, duality wave-particle. I will closely follow the text. We should cover chapters 12, 15-17, and 31-35.

Course Format:

We will meet three times a week for an interactive lecture. A lecture is not a monologue on the part of the instructor. Read the text before coming to class and ask questions (if not, I will ask you some). There are also a 2-hour lab and a 2-hour tutorial, during which you will have the opportunity to apply the concepts covered in lecture.


3 exams: 70% (the two best scores count for 27.5% each, the lowest score counts for 15%)
Labs + tutorials: 20%
Mastering Physics (reading assignments + problems): 10%


There will be 3 exams. Exam dates will be given later in the quarter on the class web site (see the calendar). There won't be any makeup exams.


Homework will be assigned once or twice a week. The problem sets are available on the class web site and should be completed using MasteringPhysics (to register use the class ID: PHYS223F2017).

Though you may discuss how to approach a problem with other students in the class (and I encourage you to do so), your final work has to be yours.

Your homework must be turned in on time. I won't accept any late homework.


We will meet weekly for a 2 hour lab. During this time, we will either go over a tutorial, or conduct an experiment, or go over problems together on the board.

Write-ups must be turned in about a week after the lab whenever we do an experiment (check the date on the homework page). I will give you details about what to turn in for each lab.


We will meet weekly for a 2 hour tutorial. During this time, in groups, students will work through an activity from the tutorial book. At the end of the session, each group will turn in one book which will be graded. Also, for every tutorial that we do in class, tutorial homework will be assigned from the homework tutorial book. It will typically be due the following week (check the date on the homework page).


Attendance in lecture will not be taken. It is all too common that those who don’t come to lecture on a regular basis will not be able to do well in the course. Although attendance in lecture will not be taken, attendance in lab is required.

Special Assistance:

Students with documented disabilities who need course accommodations, have emergency medical information, or require special arrangements for building evacuation should contact the instructor within the first two weeks of class.

Title IX:

Seattle Central College seeks to provide an environment that is free of bias, discrimination, and harassment.  If you have been the victim of sexual harassment/misconduct/assault we encourage you to report this. For more information about your options at Seattle Central, please go to: http://seattlecolleges.edu/HR/about.aspx

My contract to you!

If you come to class, do your homework and genuinely try to learn the concepts, I promise you to do my best to make your time as valuable as I can!

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