Course Description

Ph1b Practical
9 units (4-0-5)
Prerequisites: Ph1a
Lectures: F 15:00-15:55 East Bridge 201 

The course emphasizes understanding the basics of electricity and magnetism and their practical applications.


Chris Martin
274 Cahill, x4243
cmartin AT srl.caltech.edu

Head TA

Aidan Chatwin-Davies

409 Downs, x6650, achatwin AT caltech.edu

Course Administrator

Meagan Heirwegh

253 Sloan, heirwegm AT caltech.edu


Web Page

The web site for the course is https://sites.google.com/site/ph1bpcaltechwinter2017/ . The course schedule can be found under the Calendars/Handouts tab.

For comments on the web page contact achatwin AT caltech.edu


The text for the course is Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Vol. 2, 9th edition, by Serway and Jewett. The homework and readings are based on the 9th edition.

Homework Assignments

Guidelines for Homeworks are specified in the Guidelines page. Please follow these guidelines to make minimize the chance of your homework being lost and to expedite its grading and return.

You can find Homework Assignments on the course webpage. Assigned problems are specified by chapter and number in Serway and Jewett, 9th edition. Answers to odd numbered problems are in the back of the book. Be sure to write up your solutions showing all the work needed to get the answer.

Most of the problems designated "QP" are taken from recent years' quizzes and finals. The actual problems appear on-line as "QP Problems". As such, they may give you some idea of the nature and difficulty of questions that may appear this year on quizzes and Final. You should attempt them only after you have some confidence in the material, and you should initially work on them alone (at least 1/4 to 1/2 hour).

Problem sets are due each Thursday at 4pm in the mailbox for your section, just outside of the lecture hall (201 E. Bridge). They must be handed in on time to receive full credit. Up to one week late will receive half credit. In case of illness or other valid excuse, you and your TA can negotiate a modified due date.

The work you submit must be your own and not copied from a group effort or a friend's write-up. You can seek help and discuss the problems with anyone - to an extent you find productive. However, you should not consult anyone's written, completed work, and your write-up must be all yours. A good guideline is that you should understand the problems well enough to be able to reproduce on your own any solution that you hand in. In the past, some students have achieved high homework grades, yet fared poorly on tests and even failed the course. This shows poor judgment in using help. Try to find your own best way, so that you end up really learning the material. Remember that the difference between half and full credit on a single homework problem amounts to roughly 0.2% of all possible points available towards your final total. Instead of viewing each homework problem as a way to accumulate credit, think of it as an opportunity to focus your attention on the challenges of mastering the material of the course. The problems designated "QP", if you work them on your own, can be particularly valuable as a way of anticipating the kinds of problems likely to appear on quizzes and the final exam.

Said another way: Virtually all the value of the homework as an aid to learning lies in the effort you make to figure out what to do. Having someone else tell you how to do it will decrease the time required to prepare your solution, but it will also rob you of an opportunity to learn something. From this perspective, the biweekly quizzes should be thought of as "homework you do by yourself". They're a good start but aren't really enough by themselves.

Your other homework is to prepare for class by reading the assigned sections in the text and noting your questions and comments.

Because your TA may choose to devote class time to particularly interesting or difficult topics and to pursue students' questions and comments further, there might be some important topics not completely covered by all sections. Hence, the assigned sections of your textbooks are essential resources as the systematic outline and exposition of the course material. Use them. 

Solutions to the homework will be posted in the website (no hard copies will be made available). 


There will be four take-home quizzes due on four Mondays throughout the term (Jan 23, Feb 6, Feb 21, Mar 6) by 11am and a final exam. These may cover material from the textbook, homework, or lecture demonstrations. There will be a final exam covering the entire term, available for pick up March 10 and due March 17. There will be no midterm exam.


Written homework: 25%
Written quizzes: 40%
Class participation: 5%
Final exam: 30%

Your recitation section TA will award 0-5% for class participation (as distinct from "attendance", which is a necessary but not sufficient condition for participation).

Section Changes

Switching sections will require the signature of the TA whose section you wish to join. Time-conflict petitions require your TA's signature if the conflict is with a section time and Martin's signature if the conflict is with the Friday lecture.

Ombuds Meeting

Feb. 10, 12 - 1 pm, 108 E Bridge

There will be an ombudsperson in each house who has volunteered to give feedback to the teaching staff. An ombudsmeeting is scheduled for February 10; please be sure to pass on your comments in a timely way. Of course, we would be happy to hear from you personally before or after lecture or class, during office hours, via e-mail, etc.

 E-Mail (@caltech.edu)
Pei (Betty) Wang
Ziyan Mo
Tanvi Gupta

 DabneyAmrita Rhoads
 FlemingAlexandra Bodrova

 Page Michelle Zhao
 RuddockSophie Walton