Syllabus for Conceptual Physics - Fall 2009

Instructor: Dr. Jerry Lisantti
Office: 6 Mickle Hall
Office Hours:M-F 10:30-11:30 Anytime before or after class
Phone: Office 869-5219, Home (before 8 pm) 896-0735

One of the purposes of a Liberal Arts Education is seeking the answer to the question "How do we know what we know?". At first this may seems like a silly question but when you think about it for awhile it actually is a very difficult question. How do you know and understand what I am writing about at this instant? One, for many years you have been exposed to the English language and understand that certain words have a certain meaning that is agreed upon by all those who speak English so you have an understanding of what I am saying. However,to really know and understand something requires another deeper level of understanding than that of agreeing to the meaning of words. There are a variety of methods for intrepreting the universe, one of them is through observation and analysis of our physical environment. Through the observation and experimentation of our universe a variety of simple concepts are obtained that can describe a large variety of physical phenomenon. This process of experimentation, observation and arriving at general principles is generally called "doing science".

It is my hope that we will learn and explore some of these simple concepts as they apply to our every day life. Physics is basically the study of everything in the physical universe. I know that sounds egotistical and some of my colleagues in the other sciences may think so but its what I believe.

In this course we will study concepts such as motion, force, energy, matter, and a variety of physical laws that describe these. This class is not intended to be mathmatical, and we will use very little math. The math that will be used in this course is simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Most of the math usage will be in the lab. You must take the lab if you are enrolled in the course. The lab and the lecture portion of this course are very closely related and sometimes you may not be able to tell the difference between the two. The grade is separate for the lab and the course.

Your course grade is based on: Homework will generally be given every Friday and will be due the following friday. The assignments and due days will be posted on the homepage for this course. The homepage is located at under Course Homepages. You may work together on the homework, but you must turn in your own work, failure to do so is a violation of the Colleges' Honor Code. Homework must be handed in on time. I WILL NOT ACCEPT LATE HOMEWORK! It is not fair to the other students who work hard on handing theirs in on time for you to hand it in late.

The test dates are scheduled for:
The exams will generally be multiple choice and true false. The questions will be similar to the homework assignments. The final exam will be comprehensive.

The text for this course is the tenth edition of Conceptual Physics by Paul Hewitt. It is a wonderful book and I hope that you enjoy reading it. Another book for this course is "Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman!" by Richard P. Feynman. This is the book in which you are to write a term paper. Your paper should discuss the following: Your personal opinion of the book and back up your statements, what you liked least about the book and why; and what you liked most about the book and why. The paper should be at least four typed pages long using a 12 point font with no more than double spacing. This paper is due the last day of the class meeting. Let's hope for a great class, and remember:

Fiziks iz Phun!