Physics 116B, Fall 2006, Prof. Oberacker
Course Policy


Add. lecture materials




Course Policy

Physics 116B, General Physics (for Engineers)

Section 2, Fall 2006 - Prof. Oberacker


Contact Information

Instructor: Prof. Volker E. Oberacker

Office: 6625 Stevenson Center


office phone: 615-322-5035

Class meetings:     MWF, 9:10 - 10:00am, Stevenson Center, Rm. 4327

Office hours:    Mon 1:00-2:30 pm,    Wed 4:00-5:30 pm,    Thu 2:00-3:00 pm

Course Website:

Course Description

This course is intended for students in the school of engineering. Physics 116B is a continuation of 116 A, covering: electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics (the basics of atomic, nuclear, and elementary particle physics).


Serway & Jewett, Principles of Physics, a calculus-based text, fourth edition,
Brooks/Cole – Thomson Learning, Belmont, CA

Reading Assignments and class attendance

It is expected that reading assignments will be completed prior to the class, so that we can concentrate on the more difficult aspects of the course material.

I strongly suggest that you attend class on a regular basis because the lectures contain many examples, problems and exercises, demonstrations, and computer graphics which are designed to help your understanding. You will also benefit from questions and discussions in class.

Getting help with homework and lecture material

Phys-116B Help Desk schedule (updated!)

The Help Desk for all 3 sections of Phys-116B is now available. The Help Desk is located on the 4th floor of the Stevenson Center in room SC 6411.

TA: Gilma Adunas (e-mail:
       primarily for section 2, Professor Oberacker
Monday   2:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday  8:00 AM - 9:20 AM
Thursday 8:00 AM - 9:20 AM
Friday   2:30 PM - 5:00 PM

TA: Vaibhav Janve (e-mail: vaibhav.a.janve@Vanderbilt.Edu)
     primarily for section 3, Prof. Gabella
Tuesday 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Wednesday 4:00 PM - 10:00 PM

TA: Dustin Kavich (e-mail: dustin.w.kavich@Vanderbilt.Edu)
    primarily for section 1, Prof. Haglund
Monday  7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Thursday  5:00 PM - 10:00 PM

In addition, if you have any questions about the lecture material, lecture demonstrations, or any topics covered in the textbook, you are encouraged to talk to Prof. Oberacker during office hours.


Homework assignments appear on Webassign. To access Webassign, go to

where you type your Vanderbilt username and password. Then click on Login.

You can either pay with a credit card, or there are cards with a number you can buy at the VU  bookstore. You have 2 weeks to sign up; the grace period ends on Wed. September 6.

After you have logged in, you will find your homework assignments and a link to an instruction  manual. All students work the same problems; however, in many cases, the numerical data will  differ from student to student so that no two answers are the same.

You are allowed to discuss your homework with others; however, the homework you turn in must  be a fair representation of your own understanding of the lecture material. Copying someone  else's work is a violation of the Honor Code.

Usually, a few days after you have submitted your homework answers, I will post detailed  solutions on my Website. Please check the “Homework” section regularly.


There will be three in-class tests during the semester (50 min each) and a final exam (2 hours).

You will be responsible for the textbook material covered, assigned readings, homework assignments, problems and exercises discussed in class, and lecture demonstrations. During the exam, you are required to work completely independently and adhere to the Honor Code.

The exam format will be (some or all of the following): multiple choice questions, true-false / conceptual questions, and numerical problems (partial credit).

All exams are closed-book, however I will provide you with a few of the most basic physics equations and values for constants of nature. You will be allowed to bring ONE 8.5"x11.0" REFERENCE SHEET with anything you choose written on both sides.

In addition, please bring a PEN and a POCKET CALCULATOR (not pre-programmed) for each test.

To help you prepare for the exams, a few days before each scheduled test, I will post a multiple-choice practice test with solutions on this Website. In addition, please study my detailed homework solutions, and the conceptual questions at the end of each textbook chapter (answer available in the "Student Solutions Manual and Study Guide").

The final exam (2 hours) is comprehensive, with a somewhat higher emphasis on material covered during the second half of the semester. The format will likely be multiple-choice only. I will offer both a regular and an alternate final exam.

Absence from exams / late homework

Occasions may arise during the academic year that merit the excused absence of a student from a scheduled exam or an extension for turning in the homework assignment. Examples include serious personal problems (e.g. severe illness, death in the family) and participation in sponsored University activities (e.g. basketball team). Conflicts arising from personal travel plans or social obligations will not be considered valid excuses. Students should notify Professor Oberacker immediately if they need to be absent from an exam or need an extension on a homework assignment. A missed test or homework counts as zero, unless you present a valid excuse beforehand.

Course Grade

There will be three in-class exams (50 minutes each) during the semester. In addition, there will be homework, and a final exam (2 hours). Your course grade will be a weighed mean of

  • your homework average (15%)

  • the three in-class exam scores (20% each)

  • your final exam score (25%)

None of the test or homework grades will be dropped. I will use the following grade scale:


Percentage Range


90 – 100%


80 – 90 %


70 – 80%


60 – 70%


below 60 %

Your actual grade may be slightly different (notice I have not put any plus or minus grades in) depending on how everyone else does.

Posting of grades (homework, tests, course grade)

To help you keep track of your academic achievement, and to eliminate potential errors in the recording of your grades, I will post your homework and test scores (including final exam score) and your course grade on the following Website:

Vanderbilt's OAK/Blackboard Website

Please login with your VUnet ID and e-password.

Copyright 2006 Vanderbilt University