Physics 1020-02:
Fundamentals of Physics -- About Time

Instructor: Horst D. Wahl Office: 512 Keen Phone: 644-3509  Email
Office Hours: Mon 08:30 - 09:30Wed 08:30 - 09:30 or by appointment
Class meeting : Tue 9:30 - 10:45 Thu 09:30 - 10:45 UPL110
Discussion Sessions: TBA see Blackboard

  1. Course Description:
  2. This course is intended to provide a general knowledge of many of the basic concepts, facts and methods of physical science. It is designed to help you acquire "scientific literacy'' enabling you to appreciate news relating to science, and to make reasoned judgments about societal issues relating to or influenced by science. We will discuss the concept of "time" and in doing so we will introduce a number of important concepts of physics. Rather than presenting a top-down, deductive approach, we will try to understand concepts when their understanding is needed in the context of our discussion of time. Even though this course tries to put emphasis on a conceptual understanding, the use of simple mathematics cannot be completely avoided without sacrificing knowledge of one of the important characteristics of physics, namely its quantitativeness. Therefore, some mathematical concepts and tools will be introduced and used as needed.

    We will discuss, in various levels of detail, a number (not necessarily all) of topic areas from the list below, and on the way introduce and explain concepts of physics relevant to the topic:

    The order of discussion may change, and we may jump back and forth between different topic areas since they are interrelated.

  3. Class Meetings
  4. Class meets Tuesday and Thursday 9:30 to 10:45 in UPL110. Classes will involve discussions, opportunities to ask questions, exercises and demonstrations designed to help you understand physical phenomena. Reading the designated reading assignments before class is required. There will be a short quiz given at the beginning of each Tuesday lecture that may cover the assigned reading as well as material covered in the previous class. Approximate schedule of material to be covered, reading assignments, homework, etc. can be found here. Note that the schedule is tentative and will be modified, updated,.. , as we go along.

    Iclicker remotes.
    We will use the iclicker personal response system that allows students to individually answer questions during class and have their answers recorded. You must bring your iclicker remote to every class. You can buy a transmitter at the FSU Bookstore. Once you have your iclicker, you must register it at Enter your first name, last name, Blackboard login ID (e.g. xyz11e), and your Remote ID (the number below the barcode sticker on the back of your iclicker). Be sure to also enter the verification word for their security test and click the enter button. Until you register your iclicker remote there is no way for you to get credit for the answers you submit during class. See for more details about your iclicker remote.

  5. Completion and Grading of Course
  6. You are responsible to acquire knowledge and understanding of all the material in the assigned reading, the material covered during the class periods, and the material in the assignments. A student will have completed the course and will be eligible for a passing grade only if he/she: Your point total for the course will be determined by a combination of scores from assignments, quizzes and the three exams (two "mid-term" and one final). In computing the quiz score, the two lowest scores will be omitted. You can earn a maximum of 100 points:

    component contribution to grade
    assignments 20
    quizzes 25
    mid-term exams 30 (15 each)
    final exam 25

    The following table contains the approximate minimum number of points (for 100 points maximum) necessary to achieve a given letter grade:

    grade points
    A- 85
    B- 75
    C- 60
    D 55

    If, for example, you earn 85 points, your grade will be no worse than an A-, etc. The breakpoints for A, B, etc will not be known until after the final exam.

  7. Textbooks, sources of information:
  8. There is no formal textbook for this course. There are books and other documents available on the Web, and additional material will be posted in Blackboard.

  9. Resources for Students
  10. Several resources are available to you to help you learn a lot of physics and end up with a good grade:
    a) Classes: The lectures complement your reading assignment. Certain materials for which you will be responsible at exam time will be presented in class but may be not covered in the posted reading materials

    b) Instructor's office hours: There are scheduled office hours to help students with homework problems and other matters that arise during the course. Other times can be arranged by appointment. You are strongly encouraged to come see me if you have difficulties --- don't be afraid, I bark but I don't bite.

    c) Physics Department consultation sessions. During the time slots given in the table below, a graduate student is available to answer questions, help with homework problems, and supply other needed assistance (e.g. cheer you up).

    Day From To Place Tutor
    Tuesday 5:00 pm 8:00 pm DSL computer class room Dimitris Lazarou
    Thursday 5:00 pm 8:00 pm DSL computer class room Dimitris Lazarou

    d) Discussion sessions: If there is interest for it, we can schedule discussion sessions during which you can ask any question you like to ask, or just listen to the questions asked by others (and my answers to them).

  11. Some Advice

  12. Here follow a few additional statements which by FSU rules have to be part of a syllabus (see

  13. About Liberal Arts Courses:
  14. The Liberal Studies Program at Florida State University has been designed to provide a perspective on the qualities, accomplishments, and aspirations of human beings, the past and present civilizations we have created, and the natural and technological world we inhabit. This course has been approved as meeting the requirements for Liberal Studies Area V, Natural Science, and in combination with your other Liberal Studies courses, provides an important foundation for your lifelong quest for knowledge.

  15. ADA statement (Americans With Disabilities Act):
  16. Students with disabilities needing academic accommodations should:
    (a) register with, and provide documentation to, the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC); and
    (b) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type. This should be done during the first week of class.
    For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the: Student Disability Resource Center:
    874 Traditions Way 108
    Student Services Building
    Florida State University
    Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167
    (850) 644-9566 (voice) (850) 644-8504 (TDD)
    email ,    Resource Center's web site .

  17. Academic honor code:
  18. Students are expected to uphold the Academic Honor Code published in The Florida State University Bulletin and in the Student Handbook. The Academic Honor System of Florida State University is based on the premise that each student has the responsibility

    The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University's expectations for the integrity of students' academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process. Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to ". . . be honest and truthful and . . . [to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University." (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at

  19. University Attendance Policy:
  20. Excused absences include documented illness, deaths in the family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities. These absences will be accommodated in a way that does not arbitrarily penalize students who have a valid excuse. Consideration will also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness.

  21. Free Tutoring from FSU:
  22. On-campus tutoring and writing assistance is available for many courses at Florida State University. For more information, visit the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) Tutoring Services' comprehensive list of tutoring options - see or contact for more information. High-quality tutoring is available by appointment and on a walk-in basis. These services are offered by tutors trained to encourage the highest level of individual academic success while upholding personal academic integrity.

  23. Syllabus Change Policy
  24. Except for changes that substantially affect implementation of the evaluation (grading) statement, this syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice