Goucher College · Instructor Dr. Sasha Dukan
· Textbook
Daniel V. Schroeder: An Introduction to Thermal Physics, AddisonWesley, 2000. (http://physics.weber.edu/thermal/)
1. Your PHY125/126 textbook. 2. Your PHY220 textbook. 3. M. Boas, "Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences" (or any other undergraduate Mathematical Methods (PHY280) textbook, very useful for mathematical tricks and techniques you may have forgotten)
· Course Description Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics is a course designed for physics majors and minors and upperlevel chemistry majors. Statistical Physics (together with the Quantum Physics) is one of the fundamental disciplines on which modern physics research (in condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, astrophysics, biophysics, physical chemistry, materials science and engineering) relies. This course is devoted to the discussions of some of the basic physical concepts and methods appropriate for description of the systems involving very many particles (gases, liquids, crystals). It is intended, in particular, to present thermodynamics and statistical physics from unified and modern point of view.
· Lectures Substantial amount of time will be devoted to the problem solving sessions and discussions. Students will be asked to present on various topics during a course of the semester. Occasionally, computer simulations will be used to aid in understanding of concepts.
· Instructional Methods In PHY300 students have an opportunity to learn in depth the undergraduatelevel statistical physics and thermodynamics from a variety of sources during the semester, including: Þ Assigned textbook readings Þ Classroom lectures and discussions Þ Frequent computer demonstrations and simulations Þ Homework assignments and GoucherLearn presentation of the solutions Þ Online reading quizzes Þ Inclass review quizzes Þ Inclass problem solving exercises Þ Inclass discussions of conceptual questions aided by Socrative (www.socrative.com) Þ Inclass tests Þ Discussions with the instructor and the assistants during their office hours or by an appointment. Classroom time will be mostly centered around the discussions and student participation is required. GoucherLearn will serve as an online board where you can find updated information related to the course as well as your weekly homework assignments and quizzes. I do not keep attendance but unexcused absence will be noticed. If you regularly cut class I reserve the right to lower your grade accordingly.
· How to Succeed in this Course As a great physics educator and author David J. Griffiths says “You can perform very well in this class if you follow this timetested system “ : Þ Read the text section before lecture. If you read it first, it’ll sink in faster during lecture. Þ Take detailed notes on your reading and write down questions so you can ask them in class. Þ Come to class and stay involved. Come to office hours with questions. Þ Start the homework early. Give yourself time to work and understand. No one is smart enough to do the homework in the last hour before class, and no one is smart enough to learn the material without working problems. Þ Work together. Do your own thinking, but talking to others is a great way to get unstuck. Þ Don’t get behind. It’s very hard to catch up.
I would also add to Griffiths’ suggestions: Þ Read the homework solutions and use the opportunity to improve your homework grade by presenting a correct solution orally. Þ Make your work neat and carefully organized. If I can’t follow your solution then you will not receive a full credit. Þ Come talk to me outside of the class frequently. Asking for help or hints with solving problems, or asking for clarification of the lectures or the textbook demonstrates your interest in the subject.
· Responsibilities of Students In order to get the most out of this course: Þ Attend each class, arrive on time and come prepared . Read an assigned sections of the textbook before coming to the class to familiarize yourself with notation and topic. Read the relevant section of the textbook with comprehension before attempting to solve homework problems. Þ Participate in class by paying close attention to what is presented and offering suggestions or corrections when you think something that is presented is incorrect or confusing. Þ Work on and try to complete all homework problems on time. You are encouraged to discuss problems with your peers but, if at all possible, complete these problems without assistance from anyone else. This way you will truly understand the problem and will be prepared for the exams. Þ Read the homework solutions and use the opportunity to improve your homework grade by presenting a correct solution orally. Þ Make your work neat and carefully organized. If I can’t follow your solution then you will not receive a full credit. Þ Come talk to me outside of the class frequently. Asking for help or hints with solving problems, or asking for clarification of the lectures or the textbook demonstrates your interest in the subject.
· Homework Assignments Homework is due every Wednesday at the start of class. Late homework can't be accepted once solutions are posted. Homework is crucial for developing understanding of course material, not to mention building skills in physical and mathematical problem solving. They will require considerable time and personal effort this term. I strongly encourage collaboration, an essential skill in science and engineering (and highly valued by employers!) Social interactions are critical to scientists' success  most good ideas grow out of discussions with colleagues; essentially all physicists work as part of a group. Find partners and work together. However, it is also important that you OWN the material. I reserve the right to verbally check your understanding of the solved problems. Limit yourself to verbal help; don't take written information from others (don’t take written notes when you talk to others) This will ensure that you think things through independently after you get help. If you do well on homework and poorly on exams, you are probably getting too much help. In general, no credit will be given for a correct answer, unless accompanied by a complete derivation. The point is not to find the answer, but to find out how to construct the answer. There will be time for peer discussion during classes: try to help your partners get over confusions, listen to them, ask each other questions, critique, teach each other. You will learn a lot this way! Use of internet search for the answers, chegg.com and similar sites, pirated online/print copies of the solution manuals are not allowed. All students are bound by the standards of the Academic Honor Code and suspected violators will be sent to the Honors Board. Note: Students can improve a homework grade, within one week after the homework has been graded and solutions have been posted, by demonstrating an understanding of a correct solution on a whiteboard in my office
· Exams There will be two inclass midterm exams and a comprehensive final exam at the end. There are no makeups. You may not miss any exam except for reasons beyond your control, approved by me (usually a confirmed medical problem with written documentation.) You may bring one side of a single sheet of 8.5 in. x 11 in. paper for each exam, with your own handwritten notes. Calculators with scientific notation are allowed and sometimes needed. More details will be announced at the time of the midterms.
· Final Project Your final project should illustrate experimental applications of the concepts discussed in lecture and/or further developments of the theoretical ideas introduced. Suggested topics are:
· Grades Your grade will be based upon exams, inclass quizzes, homework and presentation. Grade breakdown is as follows: · Homework: 20% · Two exams: 40% · Quizzes 5% · Presentation: 15% · Final Exam 20%
The grade distribution will be as follows: · numerical grade larger than 90.1% is A · numerical grade between 87.1% and 90% is A · numerical grade between 83.1% and 87% is B+ · numerical grade between 73.1% and 83% is B · numerical grade between 70.1% and 73% is B · numerical grade between 67.1% and 70% is C+ · numerical grade between 63.1% and 67% is C · numerical grade between 60.1% and 63% is C · numerical grade between 57.1% and 60% is D+ · numerical grade between 53.1% and 57% is D · numerical grade between 50.1% and 53% is D · numerical grade below 50% is F
· Academic Ethics All students are bound by the standards of the Academic Honor Code, found at www.goucher.edu/documents/General/AcademicHonorCode.pdf
