Physics Department | Lehigh University  

Prof. P. M. Cereghetti 

Teaching • 


Prof. P. M. Cereghetti


PHY 13: General Physics 2

Spring Semester


Initial Competences Required for this course (what you should know already)
PHY 13, or General Physics II, follows PHY 10 and is the second part of General Physics. Like PHY 10, PHY 13 is a calculus-based introductory course to physics, and it is meant mainly for students oriented towards the biological and environmental sciences, or pre-med students. PHY 10 is a requirement for PHY 13, and the knowledge acquired during PHY 10 Đ in particular the application of NewtonŐs Laws, as well as the laws of energy and momentum conservation Đ is a prerequisite. The mathematical skills required are: Simple operations with vectors (including adding and subtracting vectors, scalar product, and vector product) and use of basics calculus (derivatives and integrals). Physics 13 requires a little less use of calculus compared to the course taken by engineering and physics majors (PHY 21), still you will need to use integrals and derivatives in some very simple applications. If you did not take PHY 10 or PHY 11 last semester, you may also need to get back in shape with writing and solving algebraic equations: Do not worry if you will struggle the first couple of weeks with algebra, by seriously working at the homework you will automatically gain back your skills!

Course contents (what will be taught in this course)
Subjects covered in Physics 13 include electromagnetism, waves, ray optics, interference and diffraction, and an introduction to quantum-mechanics and nuclear physics (a few special relativity concepts are briefly introduced, too). The purpose of this course is to discuss these topics, and teach how to apply their underlying principles to the solution of concrete problems. A studentŐs performance will not only depend on how well she is able to acquire new physics concepts, but also on her ability to solve more and more structured problems, also combining new knowledge with some of the ideas learned in PHY 10. This will be achieved through homework and practice; starting with simple situations, you will develop strategies for solving more and more complex problems.

Competences expected after this courseĘ (what you will be able to do when done)
After this course, students should be able to analyze both conceptually and quantitatively various situations encountered in physics. At a minimum, they will be able to:

  • work with point charges: Forces, electric field, electric potential, electric potential energy, electric dipole moment.
  • work with magnetic fields: Moving point charges, current-carrying wires or loops, magnetic dipole moments.
  • work with circuits, including capacitors, inductors, RC-circuits, and LR-circuits
  • understand the ideas of magnetic flux and magnetic induction, and be able to quantitatively analyze the effects of either a changing area, or a changing magnetic field, or a changing orientation between the area vector and the magnetic field. Apply LentzŐs Law to correctly determine the direction of the induced current.
  • work with waves, including standing waves on strings, and DopplerŐs effect .
  • work with interference and diffraction.
  • understand the ideas of quantization and wave particle duality (de Broglie), as well as analyze quantitatively the photoelectric effect and the Compton effect.
  • understand emission and absorption of photons and quantitatively analyze some quantum energy transitions in the atomic model of Bohr.
  • understand basic ideas about nuclear physics: Mass defect, binding energy, different radioactive decays.

Your performance will not only depend on how well you are able to acquire new physics concepts, but also on your ability to solve more and more complex problems. This last point is something you will learn by solving a lot of practical physics problems.

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