Modern Physics (PH 253)
Spring 2002

Instructor: Andreas Piepke (202A Gallalee; 348-6606;
Time and place: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 11:00 to 11:50 in room 200 (Gallalee Hall)
Office hours: 10:00 to 12:00 Tuesday or by appointment
Text used: Serway and Beichner, Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics (Fifth Edition)
Prerequisites: MATH 126 and either PH 102 or PH 106
Web site:

Class Format

The class format will be formal lecture segments separated by short quizzes. Your answers to the quiz questions will be collected and graded and used to keep attendance. The quizzes are intended to test and improve your understanding of the material being presented.


The class will cover the following topics: The corresponding textbook material may be found in chapters 19-22 and 39-46.


Homework assignments will be posted to the web site (click on "Homework") each Monday by 5 pm. Answers to the questions and problems assigned in homework are due in class the Monday of the following week. The answer paper must be turned in flat, stapled and legible. The answer key for the questions and problems will be posted to the web later that day. No homework will be accepted after the answers have been posted.
Each student is expected to turn in his/her own assignment. However, students may work together in groups.
Include the derivation of your result in the homework. Numerical answers for which no work is shown will receive zero credit, even if the answer is correct. Use scientific notation and always give units with the numerical results. SI units will be used throughout this class.


Two exams will be administered, a midterm (Monday March 11) and a comprehensive final exam (Saturday May 11). The instructor will provide formula sheets for the exams.


The exams, homeworks and quizzes will be weighted towards the final grade as follows: Each homework/exam problem will be assigned a point value. Problems marked with a * are optional and will earn extra credit when correctly solved. 100% is calculated excluding the * problem. Percentage cutoffs for the letter and numerical grades will be:
100% or more A+ 4.33
93% A 4.00
90% A- 3.67
86% B+ 3.33
83% B 3.00
80% B- 2.67
76% C+ 2.33
73% C 2.00
70% C- 1.67
66% D+ 1.33
63% D 1.00
60% D- 0.67
Less than 60% F 0.0
Students are expected to do their own work on quizzes and exams. Suspected violators of this policy will be referred to the Dean's Office in the College of Arts and Sciences.