DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS Syllabus
For majors in the life sciences (biology, medicine, dentistry, psychology, physical
therapy) and for liberal arts students. Fundamental ideas and laws of physics from
mechanics to modern physics. Included are electricity and magnetism, optics, relativity,
quantum mechanics and nuclear physics. Emphasis is on the basic principles and general
laws.3 LECT., 2 LAB/ REC. HR./WK.; 4 CR./SEM.
Use of mathematics is restricted to elementary algebra and some trigonometry.
Textbook and other suggested material:
After successfully completing this course, students should be able to
1. understand the fundamentals of wave motion and sound
2. understand and apply the principle of linear superposition to interference
3. understand the concepts of electric fields, electric forces and electric potential
4. understand and be able to analyze electric circuits, including alternating current
5. understand the concepts of magnetic forces and magnetic fields
6. understand the concept of electromagnetic induction
7. understand the concept of and phenomena associated with electromagnetic
8. understand the concepts of reflection and refraction of light, interference and
the wave nature of light
9. understand the concepts associated with the theory of special relativity
10. understand the basic properties and phenomena associated with the atom,
nuclei, radioactivity, nuclear energy, and elementary particles
1. Waves and Sound
Textbook and other suggested material (this includes the full text & is good for both halves of the
Cutnell's 10th Edition of Physics ISBNs:
Wiley E-Text Physics, 10th Ed ISBN: 978-1-118-89917-5 992 pages
December 2014, ©2015 $112.00
Loose-leaf Physics, 10th Ed Binder Ready Version ISBN: 978-1-118-65188-9 992 pages
December 2014, ©2015 $182.95
For Physics 20400 only:
Physics, Volume Two: Chapters 18-32, 10th Edition
John D. Cutnell, Kenneth W. Johnson
ISBN: 978-1-118-83687-3 512 pages December 2014, ©2015
2. Principle of Linear Superposition and Interference Phenomena
3. Electric Fields
4. Electric Forces Electric Potential
5. Electric Circuits
6. Magnetic Forces and Magnetic Fields
7. Electromagnetic Induction
8. Alternating Current Circuits
9. Electromagnetic Waves
10. Reflection of Light
11. Refraction of Light
12. Interference and Wave Nature of Light
13. Special Relativity
14. The Atom
15. Nuclear Physics and Radioactivity
16. Ionizing Radiation, Nuclear Energy, and Elementary Particles
two 75 minute lectures, one 50 minute recitation, and one 2 hour and 50 minute lab (lab on alternate weeks)
Relationship of course to program outcomes:
The outcomes of this course contribute to the following departmental learning outcomes:
g. students of other disciplines will be able to synthesize and apply their knowledge of physics and mathematics to solve physics-related problems at an appropriate introductory level in important fields of classical physics, including mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, optics, and experimental physics, as appropriate to their majors.
h. students of other disciplines will have the background in physics needed to perform well in advanced courses in their own disciplines for which introductory physics courses are a prerequisite.
2. Homework assignments
3. Results of quizzes
4. Lab reports (if applicable)
5. Class participation
6. Results of Final Exam
Person who prepared this description and date of preparation:
Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
The CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity can be found at
This policy defines cheating as “the unauthorized use or attempted use of material, information, notes, study aids, devices or communication during an academic exercise.” The CUNY Policy on plagiarism says the following about plagiarism (the CUNY Policy can be found in Appendix B.3 of the CCNY Undergraduate Bulletin 2007 -2009 as well as the web site listed above):
Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. The following are some examples of plagiarism, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:
1. Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes attributing the words to their source.
2. Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source.
3. Using information that is not common knowledge without acknowledging the source.
4. Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments.
5. Internet plagiarism includes submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the internet without citing the source, and “cutting and pasting” from various sources without proper attribution.
The City College Faculty Senate has approved a procedure for addressing violations of academic integrity, which can also be found in Appendix B.3 of the CCNY Undergraduate Bulletin.”
DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS Syllabus