Course Syllabus

Welcome to Physics for Sciences 2! (Course number 01:750:194.) This is the second half of an introductory algebra-based physics course. Topics include the electric and magnetic interactions, circuits, vibrational and wave motion, optics, quantum physics, atomic physics, and relativity. My name is Mike Gentile ( and I'm the instructor for the course. The course will meet remotely for the first two weeks then will switch to in-person starting on Jan. 31st. Once that happens we will all need to follow some very important COVID-19 related procedures so Physics for Sciences can safely happen in-person:

COVID-19 procedures

Rutgers expects you to take these seriously and follow them at all times:

  • Each day before you enter Hickman Hall (where lectures meet) and Heldrich Science Building (where labs and recitations meet) you need to update your "My Campus Pass" survey. Log in to myRutgers and you'll see it on your dashboard.
  • You must wear a mask in Hickman Hall and Heldrich Science Building at all times, and wear it properly. We won't have masks for you, you must bring your own.
  • If you have any symptoms do not attend class in-person. Contact me right away and we'll figure out how to handle it.


Here's a more detailed list of topics along with the approximate number of weeks spent on each:

  1. The electric force and electric field (2)
  2. Electric potential energy and the electric potential field (1)
  3. Electric circuits (1)
  4. The magnetic force and magnetic field (1)
  5. Electromagnetic induction (1)
  6. Vibrational motion (1)
  7. Mechanical waves (1)
  8. Geometric optics (2)
  9. Wave optics (1)
  10. Quantum physics (1)
  11. Atomic physics (1)
  12. Special relativity (1)

Course materials

  • Textbook: College Physics: Explore and Apply, 2nd Edition, by Etkina, Planinsic, and Van Heuvelen.
  • Online homework system: MasteringPhysics.

If you took Physics 193 last semester you already have everything you need. If you took Physics 193 prior to that there is a good chance your MasteringPhysics subscription will have expired and you'll need to renew it. If you are new to Physics for Sciences the simplest way to get everything you need is to go to the publisher's website, then choose "Mastering" on the right. There are three access options but  "18-week access" works for a single semester and includes the eText. There is also a 2-week grace period where you can use MasteringPhysics before purchasing access. To register for the course in MasteringPhysics you'll need this:

Course ID: gentile10724

You'll be able to access the electronic version of the book within MasteringPhysics, and also through Pearson's "Pearson+" app on iOS and Android. A paper version of the textbook is also available through the above website if you prefer that, but it doesn't include MasteringPhysics (which you'll need to do the homework).


Your grade in the course comes from your weighted average on these parts:

  • Lab: 15% 20%
  • Recitation: 10%
  • Lecture classwork: 5%
  • Homework: 10%
  • Project 1 (in lab): 10%
  • Project 2 (in recitation): 10%
  • Exam 1 (end of February/start of March): 20%
  • Exam 2 (not a cumulative final but held during the final exam period): 20%

Letter grades are determined in the usual way (A is 90%+, B+ is 87-89%, B is 80-86%, etc.). You can track your grade as the course progresses here:



Lecture will begin the semester meeting remotely on Mondays and Wednesdays 2:15pm-3:10pm starting on Wed. Jan. 19th. Lectures are live and you are expected to attend as they are happening. Succeeding in labs and recitations strongly depends on that. While lectures will be recorded and the slides created during the live lectures will be posted, that's for reference, convenience, and as a backup plan in case anyone needs it.

Lectures will be held using Webex Meetings. VERY IMPORTANT: That means you'll need to have the Webex Meetings software installed ahead of time so you are ready to go. For macOS and Windows download "Webex Meetings" here. NOT "Webex" at the top!!! You need to scroll down to "Our previous app, Meetings". For iOS/iPadOS and Android download "Cisco Webex Meetings" from the respective app stores. Confirm that your headset is working too. You will always be able to access the meeting up to 15 minutes early for testing purposes. Access the meeting with the link below:

Lecture Webex link

Lecture will add an in-person option starting on Monday Jan. 31st in Hickman Hall room 101. It's your choice if you want to attend lecture in-person or watch the livestream remotely.

Group work

Labs, recitations, and projects are all worked on in groups using shared Google Docs. This means you must have your laptop/tablet with you in every lab and recitation charged and ready to go. For privacy reasons you'll need to be logging in to Google services using your email address (not a personal Google account), so make sure you can do that ahead of time.

"The Agreement"

Before getting started with the course you need to enter into an agreement with the members of your lab and recitation groups. The very first thing in each activity you work on with your group needs to be this statement from each group member:

<your full name> promises to contribute equally to all course activities and to treat everyone in the course with respect.

It is your responsibility to hold yourself to this standard, and for it to be clear to your TA and to your group members that you are doing so. I expect you to take this seriously. This is not optional. You will not be able to receive a grade for an activity until you make your own personal statement of this agreement at the top of the activity.


Labs will start the semester remotely on Wednesday Jan. 19th. To connect to lab use the site navigation to reach the "BigBlueButton" section, find your lab section, and click "Join". Your lab TA will take it from there. On Wednesday Feb. 2nd labs will switch to in-person in Heldrich Science Building, second floor, room 207 (HSB 207). 

Each lab you'll work with your group to design and perform experiments that will let you make discoveries about the world around you. Labs are scored out of 50 points. You'll learn more about how that breaks down during your first lab. You will also have the opportunity to make revisions to each lab once you've gotten feedback about your work. You'll learn how to do this once you receive your first lab grade. Here are the lab sections. If you need to reach your instructor use the Canvas Inbox.

Day/time Section Instructor
Wed 3:50pm-6:50pm 20 Mike Gentile
Wed 7:30pm-10:30pm 28 Skylar Guadagno
Thu 8:30am-11:30am 22 Allison Young
Thu 12:10pm-3:10pm 23 Victoria Gu
Thu 3:50pm-6:50pm 24 William Hix
Thu 7:30pm-10:30pm 29 Nicholas Son
Fri 8:30am-11:30am 26 Patrick Makowski
Fri 12:10pm-3:10pm 27 Serena McKiernan
Fri 3:50pm-6:50pm 25 Kiri Skibniewski
Mon 8:30am-11:30am 21 Paul Katzer


Recitations will start the semester remotely on Monday Jan. 24th. To connect to recitation use the site navigation to reach the "BigBlueButton" section, find your recitation section, and click "Join". Your lab TA will take it from there. On Monday Jan. 31st recitations will switch to in-person in Heldrich Science Building, second floor, room 207 (HSB 207). Each recitation you’ll work with your group on a set of activities involving what you just learned about in lecture. Recitation classwork is graded entirely based on effort out of 10 points. Here are the recitation sections. If you need to reach your instructor use the Canvas Inbox.

Day/time Section Instructor Learning Assistant
Mon 3:50pm-5:10pm 02 Mike Gentile Megan Demeo
Mon 5:40pm-7:00pm 01 Nicholas Son Megan Demeo
Mon 7:30pm-8:50pm 08 Skylar Guadagno -
Tue 8:30am-9:50am 10 Paul Katzer -
Tue 10:20am-11:40am 03 Serena McKiernan Sam Iofel
Tue 12:10pm-1:30pm 04 Victoria Gu Sam Iofel
Tue 2:00pm-3:20pm 05 Kiri Skibniewski Megan Demeo
Tue 3:50pm-5:10pm 06 William Hix Megan Demeo
Tue 5:40pm-7:00pm 07 Patrick Makowski Megan Demeo
Tue 7:30pm-8:50pm 09 Patrick Makowski Megan Demeo


In the two course projects you'll use your scientific reasoning abilities and knowledge of physics to carry out investigations and solve experimental problems in a more independent way. You'll work with your lab group for project 1 and your recitation group for project 2. One of the goals of the course is to train you to design your own experiments and methods to achieve specific scientific goals. The course projects is where you'll do that most. Each project has a unique format and specific details will be provided as the course progresses.


Two non-cumulative exams will be given to test you on what you have learned during the course. Each exam will consist of 5 free response questions, each worth 10 points for a total of 50 points per exam. Since they are free response questions there will be plenty of opportunity for partial credit. You can bring a calculator (graphing calculators are fine, but no mobile devices/wearables/etc.). You may also bring a single 3"x5" index card to each exam containing whatever useful information you prefer. The exam will include the same sheet of physical constants and data that is included with the practice problems (see below).

Grading Philosophy: Instead of hunting for errors in your work and taking points off, we will give you credit for what you can convince us that you understand. This means that it is possible for you to get full credit even if you make a minor mathematical error somewhere, provided it doesn't lead to an answer that is unreasonable. It also means that even if you arrive at an answer that makes sense you might not get full credit if we can't figure out the reasoning that got you there. It is your responsibility to convince us that you understand what you are doing. Let that guide your work.

Practice problems: Practice problems problems with solutions will be posted approximately one week before each exam. These problems are meant to give you a feel for the style of questions.  They are not meant to be a comprehensive reference of the content that is fair game for the exam. Use the sections listed on the lecture calendar events along with what was emphasized in all parts of the course to prioritize your studying.


We'll be using MasteringPhysics for our online homework system. See "Course Materials" above for how to register. Access MasteringPhysics here:


An assignment will be posted after each week on Thursday and corresponds to what was discussed in lecture that week. It's due the following Wednesday at 11:59pm.

There are two optional assignments. Neither of these are required and they will not affect your grade in any way. Use them in whatever way is helpful to you.

  • Introduction to MasteringPhysics: If this is your first time using MasteringPhysics it would be a good idea to work through this so you know how the system works and how grading works.
  • Physics Primer: This is a review of basic mathematical skills (scientific notation, basic algebra and trigonometry, calculator use, etc.)

Help sessions

Each week the course instructors are available outside of regular class meeting times if you'd like some additional help. Go to the "BigBlueButton" section, find "Help session", and click join. Here's the schedule. Feel free to attend anyone's help session, even if they aren't one of your TAs.

Day/time Instructor
Sunday 5:30pm-6:30pm Mike Gentile
Monday 12:30pm-1:30pm Nicholas Son
Monday 4:00pm-5:00pm Patrick Makowski
Monday 5:30pm-6:30pm Skylar Guadagno
Tuesday 1:00pm-2:00pm Serena McKiernan
Tuesday 9:00pm-10:00pm Allison Young
Wednesday 9:30am-10:30am Victoria Gu
Wednesday 12:00pm-1:00pm Paul Katzer
Thursday 4:00pm-5:00pm Kiri Skibniewski
Thursday 8:00pm-9:00pm Will Hix

University policies and student services

Academic integrity: You will be held to the highest level of academic integrity. Get familiar with the Rutgers policy on academic integrity. In particular, the use of external sources to obtain solutions to homework assignments is a violation of academic integrity. Doing this may result in penalties ranging from a zero on an assignment to an F for the course to expulsion from the University. Also, posting of any course materials to external sites without the permission of the instructor is a violation of copyright and can result in the same penalties.

AttendanceClick here for the university's policy on attendance and cancellation of classes. If you expect to miss any please use the University absence reporting website to indicate the date and reason for your absence. An email is automatically sent to me by that website. At that point I will contact you so we can discuss how you can make up the work or be excused from it, if possible. Examples of legitimate reasons for missing class are:

  • A doctor's appointment or other medical issue.
  • Going to an academic conference or a required event connected with your studies/athletics at Rutgers (you'll have to provide documentation).
  • A death in the family.
  • Observance of a religious holy day.
Going on some sort of vacation is generally not considered a legitimate reason but if you let me know far enough ahead of time we might be able to work something out.

Tutoring: Free academic tutoring is available through the Rutgers Learning Center.

Disability services: Rutgers University welcomes students with disabilities into all of the University's educational programs. In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, a student with a disability must contact the disability services office.

Student wellness services: Rutgers University has several offerings.

  • Counseling, ADAP & Psychiatric Services (CAPS)CAPS is a University mental health support service that includes counseling, alcohol and other drug assistance, and psychiatric services staffed by a team of professional within Rutgers Health services to support students' efforts to succeed at Rutgers University. CAPS offers a variety of services that include: individual therapy, group therapy and workshops, crisis intervention, referral to specialists in the community and consultation and collaboration with campus partners. 
  • Violence Prevention & Victim Assistance (VPVA): The Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance provides confidential crisis intervention, counseling and advocacy for victims of sexual and relationship violence and stalking to students, staff and faculty.
  • Scarlet Listeners: Free and confidential peer counseling and referral hotline, providing a comforting and supportive safe space.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due