Physics 325: Intermediate Mechanics I  Spring 2014


    * Course schedule

    * P325 gradebook

    * Physics formulary

    * Math formulary




Richard Weaver.  Office: 4115 ESB.  Tel: (217) 333-3656


Discussion Leaders:


Mark Schubel

John Patrick Coleman




Li Chen ,   (HW group "B")

Jung Sik Park  (HW group "A")



General Overview


Instruction for this course begins with the first lecture Tuesday Jan 21   2:00 - 3:20 pm 151 Loomis


Your first discussion meeting is the following week, Monday evening Jan 27.    You should go to the section you are registered in, as space is limited.  Attendance at these discussions is part of your grade. 


The schedule (subject to change) can be found here.


Physics 325 is the first half of the complete classical mechanics sequence (Physics 326 is the second half).  Physics 325 will probably require more work than your previous physics courses and is a serious departure from "the plug-n-chug from the formula sheet" mode of operation with which you might have become accustomed.  You will be deriving analytic expressions, and learning to critique and interpret and apply them.   I expect you to know first year calculus thoroughly and be prepared to go beyond that level.  Topics such as matrices, vector mathematics, multivariable calculus, and differential equations covered in PHYS 225 will be assumed.  Concurrent registration completion of Math 285 or equivalent is also expected.      Here are links to a couple of collections of math and physics formulas that you may find useful during this course, some of which you may recognize.




The course schedule, and by implication the coverage, can be found here.   Watch that site for changes.




    * Taylor, Classical Mechanics   Required

    * Marion and Thornton, Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems.  Optional

(the fifth edition is best, but earlier editions are also fine)

     *  Appproximate Lecture Notes (photocopy of last year's lectures)  Optional


The two books should be on reserve for PHY 325 in Grainger Library.


Online access


Some of the on-line activities (e.g. gradebook) for this course run on a secure server and must be logged into. You'll see something like:


    * Log In    * Log Out


Students enrolled in (and staff associated with) the course must log in using their UIUC NetID and their NetID password. If you are enrolled in the course and are having trouble logging in, send email to Rebecca Wiltfong You should always log out of the secure server at the end of your work session.


Lecture notes


Lectures will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00-3:20 pm in 151 Loomis. It is highly recommended that you read the Approximate Lecture Notes and/or the relevant sections of the text before each class.   Up-to-date Lecture notes will be posted after each lecture at the course website. You will be able to access the lecture notes through the course schedule page.


Almost every lecture will conclude with a very short quiz related to that day's material.  This will be graded, if at all, only for attendance.   Solutions will be posted as part of the notes.


Discussion Problem sessions


The problem sessions will take place weekly on Monday evenings and will last for one hour. There are six sessions, each lasting one hour every Monday between 4 and 9 pm.


You are registered for one of these (Space is limited, so go to the section for which you are registered.). Attendance at your Monday evening problem session is obligatory. Show up on time to receive full credit.   We’ll take 15% off the credit for each 5 minutes of being late. If you are late by more than 30 minutes you will not receive credit.    You will be able to access the problem session materials and solutions through the course schedule page, but not before class.   The idea is that you work out the problems in groups, so doing them before class is not advised.




Homework is an essential part of this course. The homework to be done will usually be handed out at the beginning of the each Thursday lecture and will usually cover the lecture material of that day and the following Tuesday.  I will collect your solutions at the beginning of lecture one week later.  (See the course schedule page for details.)  You may also place your completed homework in the yellow PHYS 325 box located at the beginning of the second floor "Interpass" in Loomis, but it must be in the box by 2:00 pm on the day that it is due to receive full credit.  Late work will be marked down by 15% each day that it is late and will not be graded if it is more than one week late.  If you do hand in your HW late, email the graders to tell them when you did so, otherwise it will be assumed to have been deposited just before the grader checked the box.  I don't object to people working on the homework problems together (some years students have set up a facebook page for the course) as long as the work that you hand in for grading is your own.     I strongly recommend that you thoroughly struggle with the problems yourself first. You'll learn more this way and you'll do better on the exams when you're on your own.


You will be able to access the homework materials electronically through the course schedule page as well as by hardcopy in the lecture.




There will be two midterm exams and one final exam.  Dates times and places will be announced.  Please check the course schedule calendar for full details.


Office hours


Office hours start the week of Jan 27 and are during the following times and in the following locations (watch for changes):


* Richard Weaver.  Office:  4115 ESB (SE corner Goodwin&Springfield)

                                                                                                           Office hours:   Tu Th 3:20 – 4:00  4115 ESB.


*  Li Chen ,   (HW group "B")       Tu 1-2                    279 Loomis

*  John Patrick Coleman                             Wed 12-1            279 Loomis

*  Mark Schubel                                               Wed 3-4               279 Loomis

*  Jung Sik Park  (HW group "A")     Wed 4-5              390X Loomis


You are welcome to arrange appointments (use email to set time and place) when these hours are not suitable.




Your course grade will be based on your homework (~35%),  exams (~17, 17 and 26%) and attendance in weekly problem sessions (~5%).  There will be two midterm exams and a final exam.


Academic Integrity


The giving of assistance to or receiving of assistance from another person, or the use of unauthorized materials during University Examinations can be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion from the University.


Please be aware that prior to or during an examination the instructional staff may wish to rearrange the student seating. Such action does not mean that anyone is suspected of inappropriate behavior.


Unless a problem explicitly states otherwise, you are not to use any calculating devices or symbolic manipulation tools in any of your work.   No calculators, no computers, no slide rules.  And no use of electronic search tools to find solutions to problems you are working.   I will only permit paper and pen, and information you can find in textbooks and reference works. You are on your honor to hold to this.