Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Physics (IPS*1510)

Code and section: IPS*1510*01

Term: Winter 2019

Instructor: Martin Williams


Instructor Information


Daniel Ashlock
MacNaughton 521

Martin Williams
MacNaugton 213

Tutorial Instructors

  • Amanda Saunders (math)
  • Bryn Knight (phys.)
  • Christina Burbadge (phys.)
  • Matt Steffer (phys.)

Course Description

This is the second foundational course for students in B.Sc. mathematical and physical sciences majors. The disciplines of Mathematics and Physics are taught in an integrated fashion that demonstrates how they support and enrich one another. Circuits, integration, electrostatics, magnetism, partial derivatives,multidimensional integrals, and Taylor's series are presented in a harmonized fashion to ensure students have an improved understanding of these fundamentals.





Course Objectives

The course is intended to give a student a grounding in topics in physics and calculus in a manner that uses the physics as an example to
ground the calculus and provides the calculus needed for the topics in physics. This integration of the two topics is intended to make both sets of material easier to absorb. Specific topics are listed subsequently under the heading Course Topics.

Meeting Times


Math: 2:30-3:20 in LA 204,
Physics: 1:30-2:20 in MacN 113

Physics Lab Times

Section Time Location
0102 Wed. 7:00-9:50 MacNaugton 301/415
0103 Tues. 11:30-2:20 MacNaugton 301/415
0104 Thurs. 11:30-2:20 MacNaugton 301/415
0106 Wed. 7:00-9:50 MacNaugton 301/415
0107 Tues. 11:30-2:20 MacNaugton 301/415
0108 Thurs. 11:30-2:20 MacNaugton 301/415
0109 Tues. 7:00-9:50 MacNaugton 301/415
0110 Tues. 7:00-9:50 MacNaugton 301/415

Mathematics Tutorial Times

Friday 8:30-9:20 MacDonald Institute 103 or Friday 9:30-10:20 MacDonald Institute 103

The quiz bowls will be given during the math labs

Course Materials

  • University Physics, 14th Edition, Volumes 1, 2, and 3, by H. Young and R. Freedman (this was also used in IPS*1500 in Fall 2016). This book is available in the University Bookstore.
  • Fast Start Calculus for Physics, 3rd Edition, by D. Ashlock This book is available in the University Bookstore and the Co-op Bookstore.
  • FlipIt Physics Homework There will be assigned warm-up questions that will be graded online using FlipIt Physics. Research has shown that this software has a positive effect on students learning of physics. To complete the online homework, you will need to purchase a stand-alone Student Access Kit for FlipItPhysics from the University Bookstore unless you purchased the two semester cards in the Fall.
  • i-Clicker Student Response Units (commonly known as clickers) are available for purchase in the University Bookstore. A discretionary bonus mark is awarded to students who have conscientiously used their device over the course of the semester.

Credit Weight

1.0 credit. Because this is a 1.0 credit course, students should expect to invest on average 10 hours per week over the semester.

Course Website


Library Reference Material

A copy of the course textbooks will be made available at the Reserve Desk in the Library, listed under Prof. D. Ashlock/M. Williams and course IPS*1510.
There are many additional reference texts available on the library shelves. Look for call numbers beginning with QC21 or QC23 (Physics), QA155, QA303 (Math).

Course Themes

This course is divided into themes in order to emphasize some of the applications of physics and mathematics. The thematic approach is intended to give the material a grounding in the physical world outside of the classroom.

  1. Physics of electric charges: This section will examine the nature of electric charge and charges in motion and at rest with applications to DNA molecules, electric dipoles, ion channels and membrane proteins, thunderstorms and the Large Hadron Collider.
  2. Charges at work: Students will learn how to model and analyse electric charge behaviour in various real-world situations and how to analyse electric circuits using mathematical models.
  3. Medical imaging and therapy: Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of the the physical phenomena that underpins the medical Field e.g different types of spectroscopy and imaging techniques.


Assessment Weight
Math Quiz Bowl (10) 10 %
Math Homework (9) 10 %
FlipIt Physics Homework (4-6) 5 %
Case Study 8 %
Physics Quizzes 12 %
Lab Experiments (5) 15 %
Midterms (2) 20 %
Final Exam 20 %
Total 100%

Math Quizzes

Mathematics tutorials will be run as a quiz bowl this semester. The participants will be divided into two
groups and compete. A deck of questions on current and review topics will be used. See the Courselink site for the quiz bowl

Physics Homework

Problem sets will be regularly assigned; due dates will typically be on the Monday following tutorial weeks. Any variation to this will be announced in class at the time that assignments are released. Drop boxes for assignments can be found in the hallway of the 4th 
floor of the MacNaughton building; details will be provided in the first week of class.

Physics Reading/Class Quizzes

Throughout the semester regular readings will be assigned and accompanied by short online quizzes (Courselink). Additionally, regular in-class activities, such as i-Clicker quizzes, will be evaluated.

Laboratory Experiments

The laboratory experiments (see schedule) are described in detail in the Laboratory Manual. Experiments are to be completed and reports handed in during the laboratory period. The laboratory experiments will be done in MacN 301. If you miss a quiz or a lab, you must provide your TA with a written explanation for possible academic consideration.

Midterm Examinations

The midterm examination will be held outside of class time in week 5 and week 10 (time & location TBA). The midterms will consist of both multiple-choice questions, and longer problems. More details will be provided by the Professors as the semester progresses.

Final Examination

The Final examination will be held on Tuesday April 9 from 2:30-4:30pm. The location will be provided during the semester. The exam will cover the entire course.

Tutorial Periods

The tutorial periods will be largely devoted to the development of problem-solving skills, but may also introduce additional new material which will complement topics provided in lecture. Additionally, Math Quizzes will be given in the math tutorial.

Course Topics, by Week

Week Physics Topics Young & Freeman Math Topics Fast Start Calculus
Jan. 7-11 Electric charges, forces and fields Ch 21 Implicit differential and related rates 2.5
Jan. 14-18 Electric force and field calculations Ch 21 Partial derivatives, gradients, directional derivatives 10.1, 10.2
Jan. 21-25 Work, Energy, Electric Potential Ch 23 Tangent planes and optimization 10.3, 11.1
Jan 28-Feb 1 Dipoles, Electric Flux, Gauss' Law Ch 21, 22, 24 The extreme value theorem, redux 11.2
Feb. 4-8 Capacitance, Dielectrics, Circuits Ch 24, 25 Constrained optimization
Midterm 1
Feb. 11-15 Circuit analysis: Ohm's Law Ch 25, 26 Volumes of rotation, arc length 12.1,12.2
Feb. 18-22 Winter Break      
Feb. 25-Mar. 1 Circuit analysis: Kirchhoff's Rules Ch 26 Surface area and review of integration 12.2, 7.1-7.5
Mar. 4-7 Magnetism, Lorentz Force Law Ch 27 Multiple integrals, center of mass 12.3
Mar. 11-15 Magnetic fields, Ampere's Law Ch 28 Sequences and geometric series 13.1
Mar. 18-22 Induction, Faraday-Lenz Law Ch 29 Series convergence tests
Midterm 2
Mar. 25-29 Mechanical waves, interference Ch 15, 32, 35, 36 Power series and Taylor series 13.3-13.4
Apr. 1-5 EM waves, modern physics Ch 32, 38 Review and reflection 1.1-13.4

Getting Help

  1. Your best source of help is your tutorial/lab instructor during the tutorial/lab period and, in math, the instructors office hours.
  2. In most of the ten physics lab/tutorial periods, the activities are completed in the first two and a half hours, and hence the lab/tutorial instructor usually has a great deal of time in the final 30 minutes to help students. Please feel free to drop in during the final 30 minutes of any of the tutorial periods to obtain help.
  3. The math-stats and physics learning centers on the 3rd  floor of the library is available for help during their posted hours.
  4. The course professors will be available to provide help in their offices (Physics: MacN 213, Math: MacN 521) during their posted office hours. These are given on Courselink. If you wish to obtain help from your professor at another time, please see him before or after lectures to arrange a mutually convenient time. Short questions can often be handled in the lecture room just before or after lectures.
  5. Computer Tutorials: There are a number of physics tutorials available for you on the Physics Department tutorial webpage. Of particular usefulness in this course are the tutorials on: Algebra (review), Significant Digits Unit Conversions Trigonometry (review), Free-Body Diagrams Graphing Log Paper Vectors (review)and Dimensional Analysis

Rights and Responsibilities

Conflicts with Midterms in Other Courses

Sometimes students will have a conflict between a midterm exam in another course and either a lecture or a lab in this course. The University has a very clear policy to cover this situation: the regularly-scheduled lecture or lab holds priority. In other words, it is the responsibility of the faculty member who has scheduled the midterm exam to make special arrangements with students who have conflicts. This policy is stated explicitly in the Undergraduate Calendar.


This course encourages collaborative teamwork, a skill that is an essential feature of science, and valued by most employers. Scientists and engineers work in groups as well as alone. Social interactions are critical to their success! Most good ideas grow out of discussions with colleagues. As you study together, help your partners to get over confusions, ask each other questions, and critique your assignments and lab write-ups. Teach each other. You can learn a great deal by teaching. While students are encouraged to share ideas, all material submitted for grading must be each student's own work. Plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct, and will not be tolerated.

Physics Tutorial/Lab Schedule

Week Date Topic Location
1 Jan 7-11 Physics Lab 1: Electric field mapping MacN 301
2 Jan 14-18 Physics Tutorial / Case Study Help MacN 415
3 Jan 21-25 Case Study: Data Acquisition/Analysis MacN 301
4 Jan 28- Feb 1 Physics Quiz 1 / Midterm 1 prep MacN 415
5 Feb 4-8 Physics Lab 2: Ohm's law
Midterm 1
MacN 301
6 Feb 11-15 Physics Tutorial/Case Study Help MacN 415
  Feb 18-22 Winter break { No classes/tutorials/labs  
7 Feb 25 - Mar 1 Lab 3: Kirchoff's laws MacN 301
8 Mar 4-8 Physics Quiz 2 MacN 415
9 Mar 11-15 Physics Lab 4: Charge to mass ratio of electron/ Case Study due MacN 301
10 Mar 18-22 Physics Tutorial
Midterm 2
MacN 415
11 Mar 25-29 Physics Lab 5: EKG lab MacN 301
12 Apr 1-5 Physics Quiz 3 MacN 415


Illness, etc.: Attendance at the tutorial/lab periods is, of course, very important. If you miss a tutorial quiz or laboratory experiment because of illness or for compassionate reasons, please see your laboratory/tutorial instructor for possible academic consideration. If you miss the midterm exam, please see a course professor. If you miss the final exam, please see your Program Counsellor. For more details, refer to the Undergraduate Calendar { go to Undergraduate Degree Regulations and Procedures, and click on the heading Academic Consideration, Appeals and Petitions.

Formula Sheet

You may bring a single normal sheet of printer or notebook paper with notes and formulas on both side to examinations including the math quiz bowl. A formula sheet will not be provided as part of the examinations.

Course Feedback

Both sponsoring departments requires student assessment of all courses taught by the Department. These assessments provide essential feedback to faculty on their teaching by identifying both strengths and possible areas of improvement. In addition, annual student assessment of teaching provides part of the information used by the Department;s Tenure and Promotion Committee in evaluating the faculty member's contribution in the area of teaching. The Department's teaching evaluation questionnaire invites student response both through numerically quantifiable data, and written student comments. In conformity with University of Guelph Faculty Policy, the Department's Tenure and Promotions Committee only considers comments signed by students (choosing "I agree" in question 14). Your instructor will see all signed and unsigned comments after final grades are submitted. Written student comments may also be used in support of a nomination for internal and external teaching awards. NOTE: No information will be passed on to the instructor until after the final grades have been submitted.

Electronic Recording of Classes

The electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without the prior consent of the instructor. This prohibition extends
to all components of the course, including, but not limited to, lectures, tutorials, and lab instruction, whether conducted by the instructor or teaching assistant, or other designated person. When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community, faculty, staff, and students to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring.

University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before
submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the Undergraduate Calendar.


The University of Guelph is committed to creating a barrier-free environment. Providing services for students is a shared responsibility among students, faculty and administrators. This relationship is based on respect of individual rights, the dignity of the individual and the University community's shared commitment to an open and supportive learning environment. Students requiring service or accommodation, whether due to an identified, ongoing disability or a short-term disability should contact Accessibility Services as soon as possible.

For more information, contact SAS at 519-824-4120 ext. 56208 or email or see Accessibility Services.

Drop date

The last date to drop one-semester courses, without academic penalty, is Friday March 8th, 2019. For regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses, see the Academic Calendar.