Principles of Physics II Syllabus for 2021-2022
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PHYS-2426-001 Principles of Physics II


Prerequisites: PHYS 2425 and MATH 2414

Course Description

Principles of physics for science, computer science and engineering majors, using calculus, involving the principles of electricity and magnetism, including circuits, electromagnetism, waves, sound, light and optics.
Laboratory experiments supporting theoretical principles presented in lecture involving the principles of electricity and magnetism, including circuits, electromagnetism, waves, sound, light and optics; experimental design, data collection and analysis, and preparation of laboratory reports.

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(4 sem hrs; 3 lec, 3 lab)

Class Type

On Campus Course

Syllabus Information


Lecture: Physics for Scientists and Engineers 10th edition, Serway & Jewitt (optional, the WebAssign access includes an ebook version)

Lab: Laboratory Manual for PHYS 2426, on Blackboard.

Homework: You will need to get a code for WebAssign if you do not already have one.  If you took Principles of Physics I from Professor Van Domelen in Fall 2021, your old code should still work.  If you took Physics I here prior to that, you will need to contact Cengage support to get your account upgraded to 10th Edition.


Calculator: You will need a calculator that is not your phone that can handle scientific notation, exponents, and trigonometric functions.

Ruler and Protractor: While there are ones to borrow in the classroom, you may wish to have your own.

Student Performance

After completing the lecture part of this course, students should be able to:

1. Articulate the fundamental concepts of electricity and electromagnetism, including electrostatic potential energy, electrostatic    potential, potential difference, magnetic field, induction, and Maxwell’s equations.
2. State the general nature of electrical forces and electrical charges, and their relationship to electrical current.
3. Solve problems involving the inter-relationship of electrical  charges, electrical forces, and electrical fields.
4. Apply Kirchhoff’s laws to analysis of circuits with potential sources, capacitance, and resistance, including parallel and series capacitance and resistance.
5. Calculate the force on a charged particle between the plates of a parallel-plate capacitor.
6. Apply Ohm’s law to the solution of problems.
7. Describe the effects of static charge on nearby materials in terms of Coulomb’s law.
8. Use Faraday’s and Lenz’s laws to find the electromotive forces.
9. Describe the components of a wave and relate those components to mechanical vibrations, sound, and decibel level.
10. Articulate the principles of reflection, refraction, diffraction, interference and superposition of waves.
11. Solve real-world problems involving optics, lenses, and mirrors.

After completing the lab part of this course, students should be able to:

1. Prepare laboratory reports that clearly communicate experimental information in logical and scientific manner.
2. Conduct basic laboratory experiments involving electricity and magnetism.
3. Relate physical observations and measurements involving electricity and magnetism to theoretical principles.
4. Evaluate the accuracy of physical measurements and the potential sources of error in the measurement.
5. Design fundamental experiments involving principles of electricity and magnetism.
6. Identify appropriate sources of information for conducting laboratory experiments involving electricity and magnetism.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

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In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior

The lecture meetings will include class discussion and some activities, so students will not be expected to sit quietly the entire time.  Students will be expected to exercise good judgement regarding when to speak and when to listen, however, both with Dr. Van Domelen and their fellow students.

Students are expected to remain up-to-date on their own grades, and bring any disputes to the instructor in a timely manner.  Other than disputes regarding the final exam itself, all disputes must be brought up prior to taking the final exam.

To avoid disruption and potential embarrassment, please silence all electronic devices.  Outside of quizzes and exams, portable electronics will be allowed.  However, unless they are part of an assistive system (see Disability Services if in doubt), please remove any earpieces or headphones.

You may record (audio or video) lectures for your personal use or to share with other students currently taking this course.  You do not have permission to post them online for wide distribution or to sell them or otherwise profit by the distribution of the lectures.

Academic dishonesty will at a minimum be punished by a score of zero on the relevant task.  This includes cheating on exams, and turning in lab reports for a lab that was not actually attended.  (The online homework is harder to cheat than to just do honestly, but please do not take this as a challenge.)  Additional sanctions at the College level may be applied if the situation merits.

Grading Criteria

Three hour-long exams will together compose 30% of the class grade, while the final exam will count as 20%.  Homework will count for 20% of the grade, Laboratory writeups count for 15%, and Pre-Lab exercises for 5%. Participation in group work during recitation will make up the remaining 10%.

If it will raise your average, the lowest regular exam grade (unless it is a zero given for cheating) will be replaced by the percentage score of the final exam.

The laboratory grade will use the best 9 reports out of 10 assigned.  A bonus of one full lab's worth of points will be given if all 10 reports are completed (or if any absences are excused, at Dr. Van Domelen’s discretion).

Attendance will be taken at the beginning of lecture.  Good attendance will be rewarded with bonus points on the last homework assignment, with 15 points (1.5 full homework assignments' worth) for perfect attendance, one point less for each lecture missed, to a minimum of zero.  If you arrive late, it is your responsibility to make sure you get marked present.

The harshest grading scale that will be applied will be as follows: 89.5% = A, 79.5% = B, 69.5% = C, 59.5% = D.  Dr. Van Domelen reserves the right to adjust the curve to be more forgiving, but will not make it harsher.  The final analysis will consider the grades of all students: a few very high scores will not prevent a relaxing of the curve if most of the class struggled.  The resulting curve will probably be uneven, meaning the numerical ranges of each letter grade will not be the same.


Student attendance in lecture and lab is expected.  Note that the lecture is not just a reading of the textbook, and portions of the tests will be over material not covered in the textbook.

If a student has what Dr. Van Domelen considers to be a reasonable excuse for missing lab, it will not be counted against the "perfect attendance" bonus.

Important note: Students who miss all meetings of the class in the first two weeks will be automatically dropped.


          There will always be lectures during the lecture times.  Unless otherwise specified in a week’s entry, the weekly schedule for other matters will be as follows:

          Mondays: WebAssign homework over the week’s new material is available at 10:00 AM.  Lab during lab time, with the previous week’s lab report (if any) due at the beginning of the time.  If there is an exam this week, lab time will be used for recitation instead.  At 11:59 tonight, homework over the previous week’s material is due (exceptions for the first week, last week, and holiday breaks).  Pre-Labs are due at the start of lecture, and all but Experiment 1 have them.

          Wednesdays: Recitation during lab time.  Exams will be on this day during weeks they are scheduled, otherwise there will be group work problems and discussion of the homework that was due this week.

Week 1 (1/19)
Lecture: Start Chapter 22 (Electric Forces and Fields) 
First Lab: Policies and Webassign setup.
Second Lab: There is no second lab this week.  Note, Pre-Lab 1 is long, plan to spend time on it.

Week 2 (1/24, 1/26)
Lecture: Finish Chapter 22, all of Chapter 23 (Continuous Distributions and Gauss’s Law). 
First Lab: Experiment 1 (Friction and Torque).  No Homework due this week, but Homework 1 is extra-long, covering Chapters 22 and 23.
Second Lab: Group Problems. 

Week 3 (1/31, 2/2)
Lecture: All of Chapter 24 (Electric Potential), start Chapter 25 (Capacitance). 
First Lab: Experiment 2 (Electrical Measurements).  Homework 1 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 4 (2/7, 2/9)
Lecture: Finish Chapter 25, start Chapter 26 (Current and Resistance). 
First Lab: Group Problems.  Homework 2 due. 
Second Lab: Exam 1.
EXAM 1 on 2/9 (covers Chapters 22-25).

Week 5 (2/14, 2/16)
Lecture: Finish Chapter 26, start Chapter 27 (DC Circuits). 
First Lab: Experiment 3 (Potential Mapping).  Homework 3 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 6 (2/21, 2/23)
Lecture: Finish Chapter 27, all of Chapter 28 (Magnetic Fields).
First Lab: Experiment 4 (DC Circuits).  Homework 4 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 7 (2/28, 3/2)
Lecture: All of Chapter 29 (Sources of Magnetic Field).
First Lab: Experiment 5 (RC Circuits).  Homework 5 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 8 (3/7, 3/9)
Lecture: All of Chapter 30 (Faraday’s Law).  
First Lab: Group Problems.  Homework 6 due. 
Second Lab: Exam 2.
EXAM 2 on 3/9 (Chapters 26-29).


Week 9 (3/21, 3/23)
Lecture: All of Chapter 31 (Inductance). 
First Lab: Experiment 6 (Magnetic Force on a Wire).  Homework 7 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 10 (3/28, 3/30)
Lecture: All of Chapter 32 (AC Circuits). 
First Lab: Experiment 7 (Charge-Mass Ratio of Electrons).  Homework 8 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 11 (4/4, 4/6): Lecture: All of Chapter 33 (Electromagnetic Waves). 
First Lab: Experiment 8 (RLC Circuits).  Homework 9 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 12 (4/11, 4/13)
Lecture: All of Chapter 34 (Ray Optics). 
First Lab: Group Problems.  Homework 10 due. 
Second Lab: Exam 3.
EXAM 3 on 4/13 (Chapters 30-33)

Week 13 (4/18, 4/20)
Lecture: All of Chapter 35 (Image Formation). 
First Lab: Experiment 9 (Reflection and Refraction).  Homework 11 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 14 (4/25, 4/27)
Lecture: Chapter 36 (Wave Optics), Chapter 39 (Dispersion and Polarization). 
First Lab: Experiment 10 (Lenses).  Homework 12 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 15 (5/2, 5/4)
Lecture: Intro to Quantum Mechanics (not in textbook). 
First Lab: Group Problems unless weather cancellation requires a make-up lab.  Homework 13 due.
Second Lab: Group Problems.

Week 16 (5/9-5/12)
No Lecture, no Labs.  Homework 14 due SUNDAY night, May 8, at 11:59PM.
Final exam (comprehensive, but heavy on chapters 34-37, Quantum) should be 10:30AM-12:30PM Wednesday May 11 (assuming that the finals schedule follows the same pattern as Fall 2021).

Additional Information

If you are going to miss class due to weather, illness, or other issues, please notify Dr. Van Domelen by email as soon as possible.  Non-final Exams can be given later in the week (or during another section’s exam time), and lab absences can be excused by the circumstances.

Should COVID levels result in the school returning to a restricted in-person format, further details will be provided based on the school's decisions, including the possibility of online exams.  A course Discord exists and you are encouraged to join it, as it can be useful even if we stay in-person (e.g. if you are quarantined, you can listen to lectures live and participate in group problems).

Syllabus Created on:

12/24/21 1:27 PM

Last Edited on:

12/28/21 1:31 PM