Syllabus Physics 20700 GH Fall 2020

The City College of New York

Department of Physics Fall 2020

Physics 20700 - Section GH – GH3

Prof. S. A. Vitkalov: office: CDI 11382; 212-650-5460;

Online Office hours:           Mo and Wed from 10:00 -11:00 am via zoom

Text: Fundamentals of Physics (10th/11th eds.) by Halliday, Resnick and Walker, Vol.1.

Live Online Class schedule:    Mo &Wed 5:00-6:40 PM







(no classes)

 1(1-7): Introduction, physical quantities, units;

2(1-10): motion in one dimension, position, velocity, acceleration, freely falling objects


3(1-7): vectors;

4(1-3): two-dimensional motion, projectile motion.

 4(4-7): circular motion, relative velocity;

5(1-6): force, mass, Newton’s 1st and 2nd laws.


(no classes)

5(7-9): weight, Newton’s 3rd law, free body diagrams.


6(1-3,5): friction forces, circular motion; Applications of Newton’s Laws.

REVIEW: (Ch.1-6)



EXAM 1 (Ch. 1-6)

7(1-9): work, kinetic energy, work-energy theorem, work done by gravity and by spring, power; scalar products of vectors.


8(1-8): potential energy, conservation of mechanical energy, effect of external forces.

(class is on 9/29, Tuesday)

9(1-6): center of mass, linear momentum, and impulse, conservation of momentum.


9(7-11): conservation of momentum, collisions

REVIEW (Ch.7-9)


College Closed

EXAM 2 (Ch. 7-9)


10(1-8): rotation of rigid bodies, torque, dynamics and energy of rotation.

11(1-11): angular momentum, conservation of angular momentum.


12(1-5): equilibrium of a rigid body, lines of action of normal forces.

13(1-8): gravitation, gravitational PE, satellites, escape speed.


14(1-7): fluid mechanics, density, pressure, buoyancy.

14(8-10): fluids in motion, Bernoulli’s equation


REVIEW (Ch.10-14)

EXAM 3 (Ch. 10-14)


15(1-5):  oscillatory motion, simple harmonic motion, energy in SHM.. 

15(5-7): reference circle, pendulum;

18(1-5): Introduction to thermodynamics, temperature, thermometry



18(6-9): thermal expansion, heat, specific heat; work and heat, internal energy.

(no classes, Friday schedule )


18(10,11): first law of thermodynamics;

19(1-3): kinetic theory of gases, ideal gases

19(4,5,8,11): kinetic theory of gases II.


20(1-5): heat engines, second law of thermodynamics

REVIEW of P207












Week               Topics covered                                             Homework Assignment


8/24                 physical quantities, units, motion                   1(1,3,9,12,21,23)

                        in one dimension, position, velocity,              2(2,3,17,19,25,30,45,46,49,77)



8/31                 freely falling objects, vectors,                        3(1,2,3,6,9,11,16,46)

two-dimensional motion,                                 4(1,6,7,8,15,19,22,26,33)

                       projectile motion

                        circular motion, relative velocity,                    4(56,62,70)

force, mass,

Newton’s 1st and 2nd laws                               5(3,4,7,17,31)


9/7                   weight, Newton’s 3rd law,                                5(49,55,57,65)

free body diagrams


9/14                 friction forces, circular motion             6(1,7,10,16,23,27,29) 


9/21                 EXAM 1 (Ch. 1-6) on   9/21

work, kinetic energy, potential energy            7(2,8,9,12,16,19,20,26,30,34,36,45)  


9/28                 energy conservation, power                           8(1,2,3,5,10,11,13,49,54)

center of mass, momentum, impulse,

conservation of momentum                            9(2,9,12,13,18)           


10/5                 collisions, ballistic pendulum                          9(25,39,49,52,58)


10/12               EXAM 2 (Ch. 7-9) on 10/14


10/19               rotation of rigid bodies, torque                        10(4,9,10,15,33,35,44,45,52,58)

dynamics and energy of rotation

angular momentum                                        11(2,14,7,19,26,28,29,31,37,38,45,51)


10/26               equilibrium of a rigid body,                             12(3,5,12,17,21,40)

                        lines of action of normal forces

gravitation, satellites,                                      13(3,4,8,19)

gravitational PE, escape speed



11/2                 fluid mechanics, density, pressure,                14(3,4,14,18)


fluid flow, Bernoulli’s equation                        14(31,32,51,52,57,67)


11/9                 EXAM 3 (Ch. 10-14) on 11/11


11/16               oscillatory motion, simple harmonic               15(1,7,11,15,27,29,30,31)

motion, energy in SHM  

reference circle, pendulum.                            15(39,41,42)               


11/23              introduction to thermodynamics                     18(8,9,21,23,24,30)

thermal expansion, ideal gas, heat,   

internal energy, work and heat          




11/30               first law of thermodynamics                           18(43,46,48)

kinetic theory of gases,                                 19(3,4,11,15,19,2642,48,58)              


12/7                 heat engines,                                                  20(1,2,5,11)

second law of thermodynamics                   




Important Information for Physics 20700 students:


Course Objectives: Students are expected to understand the basic physics involved in mechanics (the study of motion and its causes) and in thermodynamics (the study of heat and work) which is needed for science and engineering. The emphasis will be on analytical reasoning and problem-solving skills. A list of course objectives is given below.


Reading Assignment: The text material that will be covered in class each day is listed on the Class schedule. You should read the indicated sections in the textbook before the online class. Solutions of some illustrative examples will be presented during online lectures.


Online access: The course requires access to Blackboard. Blackboard provides access to the course material and grades. If Blackboard is not available, the material will be available at   


Online lectures are given via zoom at the time listed above. During the online lectures the student presence is recommended (you may ask questions and discuss material) but is not required since the lectures are recorded.  The recorded lectures will be posted on Blackboard. Access to zoom meetings is available on Blackboard.


Homework: The homework problems are taken from the textbook and will be graded via WileyPLUS.  If you have purchased a used textbook with no code, you can purchase the access to WileyPLUS online. To use WileyPLUS you have to register for the class:

  1. go to   create account and/or do login. Click “Add more courses”
  2. Enter your course section ID
  3. Click the course section link to access the course


course section ID

Section GH:              A52320

Section GH2:            A52321

Section GH3:            A52322


Exams:  There will be three midterm exams (120 min.) and a final exam (140 min.). All exams are online scheduled events using Blackboard. Exams have to be submitted before due time.  No exam grades will be dropped and no make-ups will be given except in the case of documented illness.


Grades: Grade will be based on the highest score obtained in a) and b):

a)        exams (3 midterms + final)            60%

            homework (WileyPLUS)                 30%   

            lab reports (7)                                   10%


b)        exams (3 midterms + final)            90%   

            lab reports (7)                                   10%



Labs: The Physics Department Lab manual is available online at

The Physics Department Lab schedule is available online at

There are seven labs to be completed during the semester. Note that the grade of incomplete (INC) will be assigned for Physics 20700 if all seven lab reports have not been submitted by the required dates. As detailed in your lab section, attendance and participation in all lab sessions and completion of associated lab reports is required to pass the course. Your grade in the lab sessions will comprise 10% of your grade for the course. In addition, material covered in the lab sessions may appear on the midterms and final.


Effort required: Don’t underestimate the amount of effort required for you to succeed in this course. Many students, in particular those who have not taken a previous course in physics, will need to spend 5-10 hours per week, every week, studying physics and doing the assigned homework problems, in addition to the time spent in lecture and lab (7 hours per week).


Academic Integrity: Academic dishonesty is prohibited in the City University of New York and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.


Course objectives: After successfully completing this course, students should be able to

1. recognize and use SI units and be able to use vectors and their components.

2. understand the relationships between position, velocity, acceleration and time in the motion of physical objects

3. understand the concepts of force and equilibrium and their relation to Newton’s laws of motion.

4. understand and apply the concepts of work and energy, including kinetic and potential energy; understand and be able to use the principle of conservation of energy.

5. understand and apply the concepts of momentum and impulse; understand and be able to use the principle of conservation of momentum.

6. understand how to describe the rotation of physical objects; understand the concept of torque as applied to the equilibrium of objects.

7. understand gravitational interactions and their relationship to satellite motion.

8. understand the phenomenon of simple harmonic motion.

9. understand and apply the basic principles of fluid mechanics as applied to buoyancy and fluid flow.

10. understand the properties of temperature and heat.

11. understand and apply the first and second laws of thermodynamics involving work, heat and internal energy.



In addition to Blackboard some parts of the course are available at  website: