Physics 157 (section 101):

Introductory Physics for Engineers I

Professor: Mark Van Raamsdonk        office: Hennings 420        e-mail: mav (at) 
Lectures: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:00am - 10:00am in Life 2201
Office Hours:
available after each class (in the open area near the lecture hall),
                       also: Mondays 4:00pm - 5:20pm in Hennings 420
Group Homework Sessions: Mondays 5-7pm in Hennings 200, Tuesdays 5-7pm in Hennings 202

Welcome to Physics 157!

You can find an outline and most of the useful information about the course, grading scheme, exams, etc... here.

To find out what we expect you to know, see the learning goals for the course.

In this course, you can ask questions outside of class time using PiazzaSign up here.

The reading quizzes and some assignments will be available through Canvas.  You should go here to register your i-clicker.

All the lecture slides, readings, and homework sets will appear below:

Date Topics Slides, etc... Reading/Homework
Sept 5th Introduction slides Read chapter 17.1
Do the reading quiz on Canvas
by 9am Friday
(not for credit this time)

NOTE: if you haven't been able to get the textbook yet, Chapter 17 is available as a PDF on Canvas
Sept 7th What is thermodynamics? Energy conservation. Effects of heating/cooling on macroscopic properties of objects. IR radiation as a way to "see" microscopic energy. Equilibrium, temperature, and heat. Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics.   slides Do the reading assignment on Canvas
Do the reading quiz 2A on Canvas
by 9am Monday
Sept 10th Thermometers and temperature scales. Gas thermometers and the ideal gas law.
Absolute temperature scales.
gas simulation
Written homework 1 (due Sept 19)
HW1 solutions

Reading: read these extra notes on Young's modulus (we'll get to it either Wednesday or Friday)

Sept 12th
Linear relations vs proportionality relations. Kelvin scale. Thermometers. Thermal expansion. slides reading quiz 2B on Canvas by 9am Friday

Think about the last clicker question (about the piston)

Make sure you have read about Young's modulus.
Sept 14th
More thermal expansion, area and volume expansion, Young's modulus, stress, strain

for Monday:

finish worksheet (to prepare for lecture - you won't need to hand it in)

Do reading quiz 3A (review chapter 17.4 if necessary)

Sept 17th
 more on volume expansion, Young's modulus, stress, strain slides for Wednesday:

hand in homework 1 in the boxes near Life building room 2408

Thermal Expansion Tutorial       solutions
Sept 19th
Thermal stress. Problems combining thermal expansion and stress/strain.


Newton's Laws for static situtations
for Friday: read chapter 17.5 and 17.6 (up to equation 17.20)
 and do reading quiz 3B on Canvas

Written homework 2, due next Wednesday
HW2 solutions

Sept 21st
Heat capacity, specific  heat.

Sept 24th
Phase diagrams, phase changes,  latent heat. Calorimetry.
slides for Wednesday: read the conduction section in chapter 17.7 (just 2 pages!), do reading quiz 4A on Canvas

for  Friday: read the rest of 17.7, do reading quiz 4B on Canvas

Sept 26th
Heat conduction, thermal conductivity. slides
for  Friday: read the rest of 17.7 (on radiation), do reading quiz 4B on Canvas

Homework 3:
due Wednesday, October 3rd
Sept 28th
More conductivity, R values

slides for Monday: fill out the survey
Oct 1st
Convection and radiation. Temperature dependence of spectrum and power emitted


Oct 3rd

 Emissivity, equilibrium temperature of radiating objects. slides

Oct 5th

The solar constant, albedo, temperature of the Earth, greenhouse effect.slides

Oct 10th
Molecular picture of forces from a gas. Ideal gas law.slidesfor Friday: read 6.1 (first page), 19.1 and 19.2 and do the reading quiz for week 6

Homework 4:
due Wednesday, October 17th

Oct 12th  
First law of thermodynamics. Work


Oct 15th
Work for gases, PV diagrams, Work as area on a PV diagram.
Internal energy.


bonus video on area under a curve
for Wednesday: do reading quiz 7A
Oct 17th
Internal energy.
Free expansion of gas. Calculating heat using the first law. Constant volume processes.
Homework 5:
due Wednesday, October 24th
Homework 5 bonus question

(both of these will be posted Wednesday evening).
Oct 19th
Constant pressure, constant temperature, and adiabatic processes.


extra clicker questions
reading for Monday: see instructions in the reading quiz on Canvas.

Oct 22nd

Adiabatic compression example. Efficiency of a heat engine.  slides For Wednesday:
make sure you have read 20.2,20.3
Oct 24th
The internal combustion engine. Example of calculating efficiency.
slidesFor Friday:
read 20.4 and do the reading quiz

Homework 6:
due Wednesday, October 31st

Oct 26th

The power of an engine. Refrigerators.slidesFor Monday:
Do the reading quiz on Canvas.

Oct 29th
Refrigerators and air conditioners. Why does heat flow from hot to cold. Frogs and entropy.slides

frog simulation

Oct 31st
Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Relation between entropy, heat, and temperature.

Bonus video
For Friday:
Read 20.6 up to equation 20.14, and section 8.5 in the "Extra Book on Entropy" on Canvas (also in the  text from the textbook package)

Do reading quiz on Carnot Cycles and TS diagrams.
Nov 2nd
Entropy examples, TS diagrams, calculating efficiency from TS diagrams. Carnot cycle and maximum possible efficiency.
slidesFor Monday: do reading assignment on oscillations.
Hand in your tutorial by 5pm.
Nov 5th
Mechanical equilibrium, restoring forces, oscillations, simple harmonic motion

Nov 7th
Simple harmonic motion, amplitude, period, angular frequency, velocity, acceleration, phase.

slidesHomework 7:
due Wednesday, November 14th

For Friday: do reading assignment on phase (one question).
Nov 9th
Simple harmonic motion, finding phase, displacement/velocity/acceleration
slidesFor Wednesday: read this page on the buoyant force, and do the reading quiz on buoyancy on Canvas (2 questions)
Nov 14th Simple harmonic motion examples: predicting amplitude and frequency in physical situations. Buoyancy and bobbing. slides
For Friday:
do reading assignment on energy in SHM.
Nov 16thSimple harmonic motion from small oscillations with non-linear forces. Kinetic and potential energy in simple harmonic motion. slidesHomework 8:
due Wednesday, November 21st

For Monday: do reading assignment on damped oscillations.
Nov 19th
More on energy, damped oscillation.

Nov 21st
Damped oscillation from drag forces, critical damping

Nov 23rd
Driven periodic motion, resonance.


Scratch simulation
Homework 9:
due Friday, November 30th

for Monday: read 15.1-15.3, up to and including the section "more on the wave function" and do the reading quiz on waves

Nov 26th

Coupled oscillators, transverse and longitudinal waves, waves on stretched strings, in solids, and in fluids
Nov 28th
Mathematical description of traveling waves. Wavelength, wave number. Relation between wave velocity, period, and wavelength
Nov 30th

Gravitational waves