Physics 20

SIMS 2013

Instructor: Keith Fratus
Office: Broida 6212

Course Information

Meeting Time: 10:00-10:50 AM

Meeting Location: Office Hours: August 20th, 23rd, and 27th, from 9:00-10:00 PM in the Jameson Community Center

Textbook: I'll be mostly lecturing out of my own notes (which I'll post here on this website), which won't reference any particular portion of any textbook. However, the standard text seems to be University Physics by Young and Freedman, and is also the textbook I used in my introductory physics classes, so I recommend reading about the topics mentioned in this course there.

Recent Announcements

Congratulations to all of you for completing SIMS 2013! You all worked very hard, and excelled in what was a very challenging course! I am grateful for all of your kinds words today at the closing ceremony, and hope you all go on to have a great school year!

Thank you again for being an excellent group of students, and for the privilege to teach you physics!


8/30/13: Solutions for the Final Exam have been posted.

8/30/13: Solutions for HW4 have been posted.


8/29/13: The final exam has been graded. The average was a 27 (out of 50), with a low score of 13 and a high score of 48.


8/28/13: Extra Office Hours will be tonight in the JCC at 8 PM

8/28/13: Slides for Special Relativity talk have been posted.

8/28/13: Typo in problem 2 of HW4 has been corrected.


8/27/13: Solutions for HW3 have been posted.


8/26/13: HW4 has been posted.


8/25/13: HW4 deadline extended to Thursday.


8/24/13: Extra credit part d) added to problem two of homework three.

8/24/13: Solutions for HW2 have been posted.


8/22/13: HW3 has been posted.


8/21/13: Solutions for HW1 have been posted.


8/20/13: HW2 has been posted.


Welcome to SIMS 2013! This is where I'll keep the course web page updated with important announcements.

Our first class will be on Monday at 10:00 AM in Elings Hall, room 3001. Feel free to E-mail me if you have any questions before the first class. I'll also be at the welcome lunch on Sunday.


Physics 20 covers basic Newtonian mechanics, which is to say that it covers the topics of vector mathematics, Newton's laws of motion, kinematics, work and energy, and conservation laws. Below I'll keep an updated version of the daily lecture schedule, along with my notes for each lecture.

Date Topic Lecture Notes
08/19 Introduction / The Philosophy of Physics / Vectors / Coordinate Systems Lecture One
08/20 Kinematics / Projectile Motion Lecture Two
08/21 Newton's Laws / Free Body Diagrams / Frictional Forces / HW1 DUE Lecture Three
08/22 Galilean Relativity / Intertial and Non-Intertial Reference Frames / The Equivalence Principle Lecture Four
08/23 Work / Kinetic Energy / Taylor Series / HW2 DUE Lecture Five
08/24 Potential Energy / Conservation of Energy / Energy Diagrams / Vector Fields Lecture Six
08/26 Momentum / Conservation of Momentum / Collisions / Center of Mass / Rocket Motion / HW3 DUE Lecture Seven
08/27 Advanced Methods: Lagrangian Mechanics Lecture Eight
08/28 Special Topic: Special Relativity Slides
08/29 Final Exam / HW4 DUE Final Exam

Course Materials

Here I'll post homeworks and other course materials which may be helpful.


Homework One     Solutions
Homework Two     Solutions
Homework Three   Solutions
Homework Four     Solutions

Tips for Solving Physics Problems

Here you can find a helpful guide written by Sebastian Fischetti, one of my colleagues and the Physics SIMS instructor for 2011 and 2012. I would highly encourage all of you to read it - it does a very good job of explaining the overall goals of doing physics, and how to think about physics in a way that will help you solve real problems.