Upon completion of the course, the student should be able to:
1. Explain what a wave is and define common terms used in describing
2. Write an equation for a one-dimensional wave traveling in the positive
or negative direction, differentiate to find velocity and acceleration
and solve problems involving these relationships.
3. Solve problems involving velocity, energy and power of waves in
4. Explain the concepts of superposition of waves, constructive
interference, destructive interference and beats and solve problems
involving the superposition of two or more waves.
5. Explain the Doppler effect and solve Doppler effect problems.
6. Explain what the intensity of a wave measures, relate it to sound
level in decibels, and solve problems involving intensity and sound
7. Sketch standing wave patterns for vibrating strings and air columns,
explain/describe overtones and resonance, and solve problems involving
standing waves in strings and air columns.
8. Give values for the freezing and boiling points of water on the
Absolute, Celsius, and Fahrenheit scales and convert temperatures
from one scale to another.
9. Describe what a coefficient of expansion represents and solve problems
involving thermal expansion in 1, 2, and 3 dimensions.
10. Write the equation of state for an ideal gas and solve problems using
11. Explain the concepts of specific heat and latent heat and solve
problems using the first law of thermodynamics and these quantities.
12. List the 3 methods of heat transfer, explain the concepts of
temperature gradient and thermal conductivity, and solve problems
involving heat transfer by conduction and by radiation.
13. Use the kinetic theory of gases including the concepts of equiparition
of energy and degrees of freedom to provide values for molar
specific heats at constant volume and constant pressure for monatomic,
diatomic and triatomic molecules at low, mid and high temperatures.
14. Describe what occurs in isothermal, isobaric, isovolumic and adiabatic
processes, sketch changes of state involving these processes on a
P-V diagram, and solve problems involving these processes.
15. Given a distribution of molecular speeds, calculate the average speed,
most probable speed and root-mean-square speed.
16. State the second law of thermodynamics, describe the Carnot cycle, and
solve problems involving various thermodynamic cycles.
17. Explain what entropy is and calculate changes in entropy for various
18. Give a value for the speed of light in a vacuum, state the wavelength
range of the visible spectrum, and relate speed, frequency and
wavelength of light waves.
19. State two rules for reflection of light and explain the difference
between specular and diffuse reflection.
20. Explain the refraction of light at the interface between two
transparent media and the concepts of index of refraction, critical
angle and internal reflection, and solve problems using Snell's law.
21. Explain what dispersion is, why a prism forms a spectrum of colors,
the minimum angle of deviation and solve problems involving refraction
of light through a prism.
22. Explain the terms real, virtual, erect and inverted, and describe the
image forming properties of converging and diverging spherical mirrors
and thin lenses.
23. Solve problems involving object distance, image distance, focal length
and linear magnification for single and multiple mirror/thin lens
24. Draw ray diagrams to determine image locations and magnifications for
single and combinations of spherical mirrors and thin lenses.
25. Solve problems using the lens maker's equation, problems involving
refraction at spherical surfaces, and problems involving thick lenses.
26. Describe the configuration of lenses in, draw ray diagrams for and do
calculations involving a simple microscope, opera glass and
27. Explain the formation of a double slit interference pattern, describe
the effect of wavelength and slit separation on the pattern, and solve
problems involving double slit interference.
28. Explain the formation of spectra by diffraction gratings and solve
problems involving spectra formed by diffraction gratings.
29. Explain interference in thin films and solve problems involving thin
30. Explain the formation of the single slit diffraction pattern and solve
problems involving single slit diffraction.
31. Describe at least three methods by which light can be polarized and
solve problems involving the intensity of light transmitted through
multiple polarizing filters, Brewster's angle, and polarization by
Topics covered include:
1. Waves in elastic media.
2. Sound waves.
3. Superposition of waves and standing waves in strings and air columns.
4. Temperature and conversion of temperature scales.
5. Thermal expansion.
6. The ideal gas law.
7. Specific heat, latent heat, & the first law of thermodynamics.
8. The kinetic theory of gases and molar specific heats.
9. Isothermal, isobaric, isovolumic, and adiabatic processes.
10. Heat engines, refrigerators, heat pumps and the second law of
12. Reflection and refraction of plane light waves incident on plane
13. Image forming properties of spherical mirrors and thin lenses.
14. Interference of light: double slit interference, thin film
interference, diffraction gratings.
15. Single slit diffraction.
16. Polarization of light.
Lab work includes:
1. Using computers with motion detectors and force probes to make
measurements on systems vibrating with simple harmonic motion and to
develop concepts of simple harmonic motion.
2. Using computers with microphones, force probes, etc. to make
measurements of sound waves and waves in strings and springs and to
develop concepts such as frequency, period, and interference of waves
3. Making measurements in thermal systems including using computers with
4. Making measurements in optical systems.
5. Using spreadsheets to record data and to calculate experimental
6. Constructing graphs using computer graphing programs.
7. Error analysis.
8. Numerical and graphical analysis of data.