Course Policy

Class Meetings:
MWF 1:00pm-1:50pm, Physics Room 203
Required Materials:
1. How Thinks Work: the Physics of Everyday Life, 3rd Edition by Louis A. Bloomfield
2. WileyPlus Access Code for How Thinks Work: the Physics of Everyday Life, 3rd Edition
3. iClicker Classroom Response Unit

Various purchase options:
  • 1, 2, and 3 are available together at the UVa Bookstore for $102.70.
  • 3 is available at the UVa Bookstore for $31.25.
  • 1 and 2 are available together at Amazon for $68.95.
  • 2 is available directly from the publisher (John Wiley) for $27.95.
Although 2 and 3 are necessary to complete the course, 2 (the WileyPlus Web Site) includes an electronic version of the book, accessible during the semester in which the student is registered with WileyPlus. A student may therefore opt to purchase the WileyPlus Access Code and the iClicker Unit, and read the text online. 
Course Web Site:
WileyPlus Web Site:
to view and complete homework assignments. For WileyPlus Technical Support, click here.
Instructor:
Lou Bloomfield, Professor of Physics
Office: Physics Room 133 (see me here almost anytime)
TEL: (434) 924-6595
FAX: (434) 924-4576
Email: (emergencies only; I will not reply to non-emergency emails — you must see me in person)
Lou's office hours vary, so please check this computerized schedule.
Course Work:
10 Problem Sets (2.5% of Course Grade Each, 25% Total)
1 Midterm Exam (15% of Course Grade)
1 Term Paper (20% of Course Grade)
1 Final Exam (30% of Course Grade)
In-Class Reading Quizzes (5% of Course Grade)
In-Class Interaction (5% of Course Grade)
A. Problem Sets:
(25% of grade)
Several guided problems per set, submitted via the WileyPlus homework web site. Questions will require independent thought on your part in order to answer them correctly. You are encouraged to work on the problems independently, but may seek help from other students when you get stuck. You must write up your answers separately and in your own words. Although problem sets are not pledged assignments, points will be deducted from your problem set if you use someone else's words or allow them to use your words.

The true purpose of these problem sets is to help you understand the material, not to assign grades. I have observed over the years that students who simply copy answers from other students or from the instructor, and who don't make a serious effort to understand why those answers are correct, do poorly on the exams. It's in your best interest to work on the problems yourself at first and to seek help from others only when you are having trouble making headway. Similarly, you provide the best help to others when you guide them back onto the correct path, rather than simply giving them an answer.

The due dates for problem sets are listed on the course schedule. Late problem sets are acceptable for reduced credit until 4 days (96 hours) after the due date. The maximum credit is 80% during the first 24 hours, 60% during the second 24 hours, 40% during the third, and 20% during the fourth.
B. Term Paper:
(20% of grade)
An original 1500- to 1750-word discussion of how something works. The term paper is a pledged assignment that must be completed entirely on your own. You must submit a paper copy and email an electronic copy to to receive credit. See the course web site for the link and instructions.

Additional pages detail what is expected in a term paper, a list of topics used by previous students, a list of topics that are not permitted, and a sample grading sheet for the term paper.

The term paper is due before Friday, Nov 17, 1:00:00pm. In general, you may not write about an object that is discussed extensively in my book, in class, or on my web pages. If you're uncertain whether a topic is acceptable, ask me. While you do not need to get my permission when selecting a topic, I will be glad to assist you up until Friday, Nov 10.
C. Midterm Exam:
(15% of grade)
A fifty-minute, closed-book, in-class examination given on Wednesday, Oct 11, 1:00pm-1:50pm. The exam will consist of about 40 multiple-choice questions.

The questions will emphasize understanding of concepts so that memorization will be far less valuable for answering them than basic insight into how things work. Compelling reason for an alternate midterm exam time will be considered only up until Wednesday, Oct 4.
D. Final Exam:
(30% of grade)
A three-hour, closed-book examination given during Finals Week on Saturday, Dec 9, 9:00am-12:00noon. The exam will consist of about 80 multiple-choice questions.

The questions will emphasize understanding of concepts so that memorization will be far less valuable for answering them than basic insight into how things work. Compelling reason for taking the final exam late, as a 1-hour oral examination, will be considered only up until Thursday, December 1 (the College deadline for such requests). You must obtain permission from the Dean. No early final exams will be given.
E. Reading Quizzes:
(5% of grade)
To help motivate you to do the relevant reading prior to class, I will ask basic questions about it and you will submit your answers via your Classroom Response Unit (iClicker). You will receive credit only for correct answers. When computing your semester percentage of correct answers, I will drop your 5 lowest-scoring days so that 5 absences are "free." If you have a compelling reason for being absent more than 5 days over the semester, please see me.
F. Interaction:
(5% of grade)
To make the class more lively and help keep you engaged, I will ask questions about the issues at hand and you will submit your answers via your Classroom Response Unit (iClicker). My initial plan is to give 5 credits for participating and 1 credit for getting the right answer, but I reserve the right to change this ratio if I feel it is necessary. When computing your semester percentage of possible credits, I will drop your 5 lowest-scoring days so that 5 absences are "free." If you have a compelling reason for being absent more than 5 days over the semester, please see me.
Late Policy:
Specific grade deductions for late work and final deadlines are discussed on the list of course rules. Exceptions for illness, family illness or death, religious holidays must be obtained in advance. You must contact me before something is due or before you miss an examination.
Guests and Visitors:
Guests and visitors are always more than welcome (except during the exams, naturally). No special permission is required. I have iClickers that they can borrow, though I'll probably want to hold onto some ID to be sure I get the iClickers back.
Grading Information:
Course grades will be based strictly on your numerical scores for the semester. To reduce grade competition within the class, I will consider the numerical scores from previous semesters when we establish the relationship between course numerical grades and course letter grades.

Your course numerical grade is determined by summing your scores on the problem sets, the exams, the term paper, the in-class reading quizzes, and in-class interaction, all weighted by the factors mentioned previously.

Work not turned in or tests not taken will receive a zero (0 pts), far worse than a failing grade (typically 30 pts or more). If you are taking this course Credit/No Credit, your course letter grade must be at least a C- to receive Credit.
Term Paper and Course Evaluation Incentive:
If you (1) submit the topic for your term paper to the homework web site before Friday, Nov 10 at 1:00:00pm and (2) complete the University's course evaluation before the deadline for that evaluation, I will drop your lowest problem set score when computing your semester grade.
College of Arts & Sciences Deadlines:
Drop Deadline: Wednesday, Sept 6
Add Deadline: Friday, Sept 8
Credit/No Credit Deadline: Friday, Sept 8
Withdraw Deadline: Wednesday, Oct 18