Introductory Electricity and Magnetism (PHYS*1010)

Code and section: PHYS*1010*01

Term: Winter 2011

Instructor: Martin Williams, Jason Thomas


Course Information


Name Office Email
Martin Williams MacN 213
Jason Thomas MacN 328

Tutorial Instructors

Name Email
Iain Braithwaite
Scott Van Bommel
Russel Spencer
Bryan Holland
Miranda Schmidt
Meaghan Ward
Mostafa Nategholeslam


Day Time Section Room
Mon, Wed, Fri 12:30 to 1:20 pm Section 01 MacN 105
Mon, Wed, Fri 12:30 to 1:20 pm Section 02 MacN 113


3 hours per week, various sections MacN 301/401

Course Objectives

Development of:

  1. analytical problem-solving skills
  2. basic understanding of electromagnetism, waves and quantum physics
  3. ability to communicate (in writing) a logical problem solution
  4. physical understanding of everyday phenomena
  5. skills in data collection and analysis using electronic sensors and DataStudio software
  6. expertise in determining experimental uncertainties in measured and calculated quantities

Learning Goals

Physics 1010 is the second semester of a two semester introductory sequence. Our goal is for students to learn how to approach, solve, and understand a wide variety of physics problems on both qualitative and quantitative levels, and to relate "classroom physics" to real-world examples relevant to their majors. Emphasis will be placed on conceptual understanding along with problem solving skills. We will begin with a study of electromagnetism and the associated world-changing ideas and discoveries of Maxwell and Faraday. We will continue with the extension of these ideas which underpin our understanding of electromagnetic radiations/waves. We conclude by examining the interaction of these radiations with matter and the associated quantum ideas that govern the various processes.


MATH*1080 or MATH*1200

1 of 4U Physics, OAC Physics, PHYS*1020

Required Materials

  • Textbook: University Physics, 12th Edition, Volumes 1, 2, and 3, by H. Young and R. Freedman. This book is available in the University Bookstore. Inserted inside the three-volume book is a Student Access Kit for MasteringPhysics (a web-based tutoring system). Part of your grade in PHYS*1010 will be determined by your performance in MasteringPhysics problem assignments. If you are buying a used copy of the textbook, you will need to purchase a stand-alone Student Access Kit for MasteringPhysics. Stand-alone Access Kits are available in the bookstore.
  • i-Clicker Student Response Unit (commonly known as “clickers”) is a required item for this course. These are available for purchase in the University Bookstore.

Lecture Guide

A Weekly Guide will be handed out and/or posted on the course website each week (usually on Friday) to list the lecture topics for the next week. READ THE ASSIGNED CHAPTERS BEFORE WE COVER THEM IN CLASS and come to lecture knowing what you understand and don't understand so that you can ask questions while we're still on the topic. The purpose of lecture is to clarify your understanding, to help you make sense of the material. If you don't read in advance, lectures will be much less useful to you. (Imagine going to a class on Shakespeare without doing the readings - the prof is not going to read the plays for you!). The Guide will also have a list of assigned textbook problems, and will contain information about upcoming quizzes, laboratory experiments, the midterm exam, etc.


PreLectures are animated, narrated, and visual explanations of key concepts in the course that prepare students for lectures. Each PreLecture activity is about 15 minutes long, broken into 2-minute segments. A student views conceptual animations, equations, worked examples, and text while listening to a guided explanation, checking for understanding along the way. At the end of the PreLecture, students respond to multiple-choice and free-response questions, called CheckPoints, that gauge comprehension of the material. Results provide important feedback that the instructor will use to tailor an upcoming lecture. You can access the prelectures by going to and logging in with your email address as both your username and password. You can change your password once you log in.

Mastering Physics

In addition to assigned textbook problems (which are not handed in for grading) on the Weekly Guides, there will also be assigned problems that will be graded online using Mastering Physics (see handout for more details). Research has shown that this software has a positive effect on students’ learning of physics. If you should encounter any technical problems while using the Mastering Physics platform please contact the technical support team at the toll free # 1 877 672 6877 (Mon. to Fri.; 12 noon – 8 p.m.) or try live chat facility which is available 24/7. Or visit Use the diagnostic feature to ensure your font size, browser, pixel size, java, flash, etc is installed on your computer. In the unlikely event of you not receiving timely assistance or a solution to the problem, please contact Prof. Williams.

Tentative Schedule for the Semester

Week Date Material Covered in Lecture Tutorial/Laboratory Location
1 Jan 10 Electric charges, Coulomb’s law, electric fields introduced Tutorial MacN 401
2 Jan 17 Electric field calculations (point and continuous charge distributions), motion of charges in fields Tutorial MacN 401
3 Jan 24 Electric potential energy, electric potential introduced Lab 1: Electrostatic field mapping MacN 301
4 Jan 31 Electric potential, Capacitance introduced Tutorial & Quiz #1 MacN 401
5 Feb 7 Capacitance, Ohm’s law introduced Lab 2: Ohm’s Law MacN 301
6 Feb 14 Circuit analysis Tutorial & Quiz #2 MacN 401
  Feb 21 Winter break No classes/tutorials/laboratories  
7 Feb 28 Midterm Exam Regularly scheduled labs/tutorials will be replaced with special midterm help sessions – times TBA MacN 105
MacN 113
8 Mar 7 Magnetic forces & torque, field of a current-carrying wire Lab 3: Kirchhoff’s Laws MacN 301
9 Mar 14 Wave motion, interference, diffraction Tutorial & Quiz #3 MacN 401
10 Mar 21 Refraction, EM waves Lab 4: e/m experiment
Formal lab report
MacN 301
11 Mar 28 Photoelectric effect, Compton scatter, atomic spectra Tutorial & Quiz #4 MacN 401
12 Apr 4 de Broglie waves, electron diffraction, uncertainty principle Lab 5: Photoelectric effect MacN 301

Note: The information in the table column titled “Material Covered in Lecture” is provided as a rough guide for the term. Future announcements about changes to the table or of any kind will be made in class, and (usually) posted on the web, and will take precedence over the original course outline. You are responsible for what is said in class, whether or not you are in attendance.


Assessment Weight
Tutorial Quizzes (4 quizzes, 4% each) 16%
Laboratory Experiments (4 experiments, 2.5 % each) 10%
Formal lab report (1 experiment) 5%
MasteringPhysics Online Assignments 9%
Midterm Examination
(Mult. Choice -- Wed. Mar. 2nd , 12:30 - 1:20 and Problems -- Fri. Mar. 4th , 12:30 - 1:20)
Final Exam (Tues. Apr. 12, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) 35%

Evaluation Details


During four of the tutorial periods (schedule on previous page), after receiving help for 90 minutes you will write a 30-minute quiz. Details regarding what the quizzes will cover will be provided on Lecture Guides during the semester. Tutorials will be held in MacN 401.

Laboratory Experiments

The procedures for the lab experiments (schedule shown on previous page) are provided online as pdf files (

There are five laboratory experiments to be completed for this course. For four of these, Electrostatic Field Mapping, Ohm’s Law, Kirchhoff’s Laws and the Photoelectric Effect, you will submit your work at the end of the laboratory period for evaluation. These informal reports will be worth 2.5% each of your final mark. For the fifth experiment, determining the e/m ratio, you will submit a formal laboratory report. The formal report will be worth 5% of your final mark. All 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 Examination

The midterm examination will be held in-class on Wednesday Mar 2nd and Friday Mar 4th. The Wednesday part will consist of multiple-choice questions and the Friday part will focus on longer problems. More details will be provided on a Lecture Guide as the semester progresses.
There will be no makeup midterm exam. If you miss the midterm exam due to illness or compassionate reasons, you need to provide the instructor with documentation (see your Program Counselor if you require assistance). In the (unusual) case of an excused absence, your other course grades will be used to compute your final grade.

Final Examination

The final examination (Tuesday April 12th, 11:30 a.m - 1:30 p.m., Location: TBA) will cover the entire course. More details to follow.
If you miss the final examination, see your Program Counselor. Refer to “General Information for Academic Consideration and Appeals” in the 2010/2011 Undergraduate Calendar.

Formula Card

Before the midterm examination and the final examination you will be issued a blank 5" x 8" card. You may write anything you want on one side of this card and take it with you into the exam. A formula sheet will not be provided as part of the examinations.

Tutorial Periods

The Tutorial Periods will be devoted to the development of problem-solving skills. During the weeks when tutorial quizzes will be written, the tutorial periods will have the following format:

  • 90 minutes for asking questions and solving problems on the current Weekly Guide with the assistance of the tutorial/lab instructor; please remember to bring your textbook!
  • 30 minutes for preparing solutions to questions to be handed in for grading (tutorial quiz)
  • 50 minutes for review and extra help


  1. Your best source of help is your tutorial/lab instructor during the tutorial/lab period; please remember to bring your textbook!
  2. In most of the tutorial periods, the activities are completed in the first two hours, and hence the lab/tutorial instructor usually has a great deal of time in the final 50 minutes to help students. Please feel free to drop in to MacN 401 during the final 50 minutes of any of the tutorial periods to obtain help. These times are indicated in the table below by the X:
    Times Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
    10:30 to 11:20 am X X X X X
    1:30 to 2:20 pm X X   X  
    4:30 to 5:20 pm X X X X  
    9 to 9:50 pm X X   X  

  3. The Course Instructor will be available to provide help in his office (MacN 213) during the following office hours: Mon. 4:00-6:00 p.m. & Tues. 1:00-3:00 p.m.. If you wish to obtain help from your instructor 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.

Course Policies


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.

Course Feedback

The Department of Physics 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.