Physics 224 Syllabus – Spring 2021

General Physics III for Engineers­­­­­­­­­­­­­­


Prof. Daniel Kaplan


 Preferred pronouns:  he, him





146D Pritzker Science

or 1A8-1 Tech South




312 567-3389

Web page:

Office Hours: MTu 3:30–5:00 pm, via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (other days and times available by appointment). If you need help, please contact me.


MW 9:40–10:55 am, via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra or Zoom


Posted here.


Fundamentals of Physics, Halliday, Resnick & Walker, Extended, 11th Ed. (Wiley, 2018).  (Virtually any edition from 6 to 11 can be used, and some are available for free on the web.) Please read the material listed in the schedule prior to the lecture.  The more familiar you are with the material, even if it doesn’t entirely make sense to you at first, the more sense the lectures will make.  Students are responsible for the material listed in the syllabus, even if it is not covered in lectures, and for material covered in class, even if it is not in the textbook.

Course Content:

Chapters 16–20 and 35–44 of the textbook:

       Waves and sound.


       Diffraction and interference.

       Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

       Photons and matter waves.

       Quantum mechanics of atoms and particles in potential wells.

       Hydrogen atom, atomic spectra, multi-electron atoms, and electrical conduction.

       Nuclear physics, particle physics and cosmology.

Course Objectives:

1.     Understand the similarities among all waves, traveling and standing waves, energy and power in waves, diffraction, interference, and superposition.

2.     Understand applications of 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics, pV diagrams and how to calculate changes in internal energy, work done by system, entropy, and Carnot cycle.

3.     Understand basics of special relativity, time dilation, length contraction, meaning of E = mc2.

4.     Demonstrate familiarity with photons and matter waves, the Schrödinger equation and its solutions for simple potentials.

5.     Demonstrate competence in solving simple quantum mechanical problems.

6.     Understand impact of quantum theory on atoms, periodic table.

7.     Understand radioactivity and energy from the nucleus.

8.     Understand the differences between fermions and bosons and their statistics, and the four forces of nature.

9.     Demonstrate familiarity with quarks, leptons, elementary particles, and conservation laws.

10.  Demonstrate familiarity with issues in contemporary cosmology.

Homework and Quizzes: 

Homework problems will typically be assigned every week and will be due Mondays (via Blackboard upload of a single, fully legible, PDF file) by the beginning of class. Answers to odd-numbered problems are available in the back of the textbook, and problem solutions will be posted after a few days. There will be short, in-class, conceptual quizzes on materials you will have been expected to read. Late homework will not be accepted.


 Note:  Although only a small percentage of your grade, the homework is very important.

Working problems is the main learning experience in physics and (if done effectively) is the best way to prepare for the exams.  To be an effective learning experience, the problems should be solved with the book closed and without advice from others or from the web.  But, if you don’t understand how to solve a problem, even after repeated study of the text and lecture material, it’s a good idea to ask for help, from fellow students, faculty (e.g., myself), or the ARC.  Then try again to solve the problem, without notes and with the book closed.  If you can do this, then you’ve understood the material.





The percentage weighting for each component of the grade will be as follows:


       Hand-in homework + quizzes, 10%;


       Two midterm exams, 25% each;


       Final exam (comprehensive), 40%.

Class Participation:

§  It is important to ask questions if or when you do not understand something (e.g., a step in a problem solution).  I cannot tell on my own whether or not you understand the material.  You have to let me know.  Please contact me if you feel you are getting lost or falling behind.  Sometimes questions can be resolved with an email; at other times it may be necessary to meet (virtually if not in person).  I am happy to make appointments outside of my office hours, and I check my email many times a day (even on weekends).


Exams will be closed-book and closed-notes.  An equation sheet will be provided as part of the exam.  Exams may be rescheduled only for verified medical cause, verified bereavement, or verified University activity conflicts.




      Feb 1 – Last day to add or drop a course, change sections, etc.

      Feb 5 – Last day to request late registration.

      Apr 5 – Last day for official withdrawal

      May 5 – Last class

      May 9 – Last day to request Incomplete

      May 11 – Final exam, online



Please notify me by email before class if you must be late or absent.  You remain responsible for material and homework from any class you miss.

Academic honesty notice:

As described in the IIT Code of Academic Honesty, academic honesty is required and any instances of dishonesty will be reported to and dealt with severely.  A first violation will result in a grade of zero for that assignment.  A subsequent violation will result in failure of the course.

Important resources:

Please see next page for a notice and list of resources available to you to help your learning.

Disability notice:

Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities.  In order to receive such accommodations, students must obtain a letter of accommodation from the Center for Disability Resources, located in 10 W. 35th St., room 3F3-1 (on the 3rd floor); phone: 312 567-5744; email:



It is highly recommended that you make an appointment to speak with people at one of the following free services, where Illinois Tech staff and students are waiting to assist you. You should feel empowered to ask for assistance from these offices, and your instructor should be able to make recommendations regarding the different kinds of help that the university provides for you.

·       The Academic Resource Center (ARC) provides virtual and (in 2021, limited) in-person peer tutoring and assistance with a variety of tools for most subject areas. Several highly experienced and well-qualified peer-tutors are available at various times through the week in hybrid mode to help you with your subject related questions. You can find the tutor schedules, and submit appointment requests and/or access virtual rooms on the ARC’s website:

·       Academic Coaching: You can avail yourself of the services of a cadre of highly qualified academic coaches who can assist you with general learning strategies which will help you expand techniques to improve subject understanding, retention and quickly solving problems. To get more information about academic coaching, please contact one of our coaches at or make an appointment.

·       The Writing Center provides free one-on-one consultation, both by appointment and as available on a walk-in basis. Consultants are specifically trained in working with writers for whom English is a second language. Find out more at

·       The Library Research Help Office in the library can also assist with research requests, finding and citing sources, information, and tools. You have an individual librarian and resource guide for this subject findable at You can make a personal research appointment for one-to-one assistance at­­­­­

There are many other resources available for supporting you, including Student Health and Wellness, the International Center, Career Services, Office of Technology Services, and more available here:  


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Illinois Tech encourages anyone experiencing sexual harassment or sexual misconduct to speak with the Office of Title IX Compliance for information on support options and the resolution process. 

You can report sexual harassment electronically at, which may be completed anonymously. You may additionally report by contacting the Title IX Coordinator, Virginia Foster at or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator at

For confidential support, you may reach Illinois Tech’s Confidential Advisor at (773) 907-1062. You can also contact a licensed practitioner in Illinois Tech’s Student Health and Wellness Center at or (312)567-7550

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