Course Description

Ph1b Practical
9 units (4-0-5)
Prerequisites: Ph1a
Lectures: F 3:00-3:55 East Bridge 201 

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


Gil Refael
164 W. Bridge
refael AT caltech.edu
Office hours: Tuesday 4-5pm (Jan 29th Office hours moved to Wednesday Jan 30th, 4-5pm)

Head TA

Michael McAneny
413 Downs
mmcaneny AT caltech.edu

Course Administrator

Meagan Heirwegh

156 Linde

heirwegm AT caltech.edu

There are 5 sections, see this page for details. 


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 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 online as "QP Problems". As such, they may give you some idea of the nature and difficulty of questions that may appear this year on the 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).

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 addition to normal homework problems that you may collaborate on, there will also be a few homework problems each week that you must work on independently.  You may not receive any help on these problems, although you may still reference your textbook, your own notes, and your own past homeworks.  These additional problems will also be subject to a time constraint.  These homework problems that you must complete independently will account for 40% of your final grade, whereas all other homework problems will account for 20% of your final grade.  

Problem sets are due each Friday at 4pm (except the first one, which is due on Monday, Jan 14 at 4PM, so in the week of Jan 14, there are two sets due) 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 the head TA can negotiate a modified due date.

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 on the website (no hard copies will be made available). 

If you signed a FERPA form last quarter, you will be able to pick up your homework roughly a week after the due date in your section's mailbox in Bridge.  If you have not signed a FERPA form (or responded "No" on the FERPA form), then you will have to pick up graded homework from Meagan.

Final Exam

There will be a final exam. It may cover material from the textbook, homework, or lecture demonstrations. There will be no midterm exam.


Collaborative homework problems: 20%
Individual homework problems: 40%
Final exam: 40%

General effort, as well as attendance and performance in recitation, may serve as a basis for extra credit based on the judgement of the instructor.

Ombuds Meeting

The week of Feb 4-8.

There will be an ombudsperson in each house who has volunteered to give feedback to the teaching staff. An ombudsmeeting is scheduled for early February; 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.

 HouseOmbudsperson Email (at caltech.edu)