Physics 400.02; Physics Problem Solving

Fall 2003


Purpose of the course:  to introduce you to some generally useful problem solving techniques as applied to Physics 407 problems. While we will be solving Physics problems, the main goal is to develop your problem solving skills. This means that we may not cover all 407 topics in as much depth as the regular course (so don't expect this to substitute for your Physics 407 recitation!)  but we will discuss problem solving strategies in greater detail.



Professor Dawn Meredith; Demeritt 209C;, 862-2063

Michael Briggs; Demeritt 102;; 862-2828


Meeting time and place:  The first meeting is Wednesday, September 24th from 2:10-3 PM and again from 6-7 PM in Demeritt 209C.  If you can't make either of those times, please e-mail Professor Meredith, stating your interest in the course and the times you can meet during the work-week.

Future meetings times will be determined at the first class.  We will meet once a week for 90 minutes


Credits: 1; CREN 15702; credit/fail.  Because the class starts after the official add date, the class will petition as a group to add late without paying the late fee.  Adds must be done by Monday, September 29th.


Grading Scheme:  To pass this course you must attend and participate all class meetings (one unexcused absence is allowed) and satisfactorily complete all but one homework assignment.  If there are unusual circumstances (e.g. serious illness) that keep you from completing the requirements of the class, please let me know as soon as possible so we can decide on the best course of action.


Class Activities:  In class we will solve physics problems in various ways (individually, watching the instructor, and in groups) and reflect on useful techniques to solve problems, and practice using the GOAL problem-solving format.


Homework:  Each week you will be asked to solve one complex physics problem outside of class.  You will be asked to solve this using a particular problem-solving format (the GOAL format) that we will discuss in detail during the class.  You are encouraged to work with others on this problem, but the write-up must be your own.