General Information (Preliminary)


PHYS 161

 Sections 0101 through 0109

Mechanics, Dynamics & Fluids


Spring  2013



Instructor :  Dr.  Andris Skuja

Phys. Rm. 4329; Phone : 301-405-6059 ;  e-mail :

Office Hours by appointment or Wednesdays at 11am



TAs :

Qin Liu (

Nathaniel Steinsultz (

Qile Zhang (


TA Office Hours :

Qin Liu:-  Th 1-2pm ; F: 1-2pm (Physics 0104)

Nathaniel Steinsultz:- W: 11am -1pm (Physics 3101)

Qile Zhang :- M : 4-5PM ; W: 11am – noon (Physics 0104)


Lecture Schedule  (Section 0101 through 0110)


Tuesdays and Thursdays in Phys. Rm. 1412 at 2:00pm to 3:15pm


Discussion Section Schedule


Discussion sections will be conducted by Teaching Assistants. They are a forum in which students can ask questions about the course material and where problems will be worked out with student participation. The scheduled sections corresponding to this lecture session are as follows:


Section 0101 M9-9:50 Phys1219 (Liu)

Section 0102 W4-4:50 Phys 0105 (Liu)

Section 0103 F9-9:50 Phys1219 (Liu)

Section 0104 Th11-11:50 Phys0405 (Liu)

Section 0105 M9-9:50 Phys1204 (Steinsultz)

Section 0106 M3-3:50 Math0301 (Liu)

Section 0107 M4-4:50 Math0101 (Steinsultz)

Section 0108 W4-4:50 Phys1219 (Zhang)

Section 0109 M4-4:50 Phys1219 (Liu)

Section 0110 M3-3:50 Phys1204 (Zhang)



Course Overview: PHYS161 is a three (3) credit course that meets twice a week for 75 minutes



Required Text


Physics for Scientists and Engineers

Third Edition

by Randall D. Knight

Addison Wesley



You may also use the second edition. However the homework will be assigned through the Mastering Physics website and the problems will be assigned as they are numbered in the 3rd edition. You will have to make sure you are answering the correct question when you do your homework.


There is very little (if any) difference between the second and third editions of the textbook. However the problem assignments may differ. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are answering the correct question.






Homework will be assigned through the Mastering Physics website and the problems will be assigned as they are numbered in the 3rd edition of the textbook. You will have to make sure you are answering the correct question when you do your homework.


You will submit your solutions to the Homework Problems via the Mastering Physics

website over the Internet. Access to the Mastering Physics website is included when you purchase a new copy of the textbook. However, if you have a used copy you will also have to purchase access to the Mastering Physics website yourself so that you can do your homework assignments.


There are a number of advantages to electronic homework submission:

(1)   You will know right away if your answer is right or wrong

(2) If you have a wrong answer, you can go back and redo the problem and get the correct answer. You will be allowed 6 attempts for each question. Don’t waste accesses trivially. If you get a wrong answer try to understand the reason why it was wrong before you attempt to answer the question again.

(3)You are graded only on your final answer and get your score immediately when you are done.

     (4)The site also has tutorial capabilities which may prove useful

Note that the site may randomize the numerical values in the problem if you restart your

homework session for a given problem as well as for different users. You may have to recalculate your answers in such cases.


Getting Started with Homework Submission. To turn in your homework, you need to go to the website:


The site is best accesses with a current version of Windows Explorer or Firefox. In the past there have been major difficulties in accessing “” using Google Chrome.


You will need to register at the Mastering Physics website in order to do your homework. To register, you need two things – a personal access number and the class ID Mastering Physics access key number. The easy way to do this is to simply buy your personal access number online from the above MP website if it’s not included with your textbook purchase.


Your class ID is: MPSKUJA91722



Term Exams & Final Exam



There will be three term exams and a two hour Final Exam. You must take the Final Exam in order to pass Physics 161. All exams are closed book, formulae sheets may be allowed. You are responsible for showing up on time with a basic scientific calculator that works (not programmable). The exam question sheets will contain a few numerical/physical constants that may be relevant for solving the exam problems. Some

equations of interest will also be provided.


The exam schedule is as follows:

Term Exam 1: Thursday, February 21

Term Exam 2: Thursday, March 28

Term Exam 3: Thursday, April 25

Final Exam: Wednesday, May 15 (Location to be determined)



 Special Consideration


Turning in late homework or missing an exam is not allowed without a valid and documented excuse. Valid excuses are defined by the University (medical problems, religious holidays, serious family crisis). In all cases, a makeup assignment or makeup exam must be completed in a reasonable amount of time at the discretion of the instructor. If you are going to miss an assignment because of a religious holiday, it is your responsibility to inform the instructor sufficiently in advance so that suitable arrangements can be made.






Final Grade


Your Final Grade will be based on your class work and exams as follows:


Three term exam: 3 x 20% = 60 %

Final Exam: 25%

Homework: 15%


Although your homework only counts as 15% of your grade, it is essential to do homework and attend the discussion sections. It will prove very difficult to do well on the exams without having participated fully in completing homework assignment and attending discussion sessions.



Distribution of Grades



The final grades will be distributed approximately as follow (based on historical class involvement in Physics 161):


Approximately 15% A’s

Approximately 20% to 25% B’s

Approximately 45% to 50% C’s

Approximately 10% to 15% D’s and F’s



Lab Experiments:  There is no Lab component for Physics 161






Lecture Schedule (preliminary):





Knight Chapter




Thu. Jan. 24

Introduction, Terms, Units, Vectors





Tu. Jan. 29

Concepts of Motion, Graphs

1, 2.1-2.3




Th. Jan. 31

Constant Acceleration

Motion in 1 Dimension





Tu. Feb. 5

Motion in 2 Dimensions






Th. Feb 7

Circular Motion, Non-uniform

Circular Motion, Reference Frames





Tu. Feb. 12

Interactions and Forces

Newton’s Laws of Motion







Th. Feb. 14

Dynamics in 1 Dimension

Including Friction and Drag






Tu. Feb 19

Review Chapter 1 - 4





Th. Feb 21

First Term Exam

Chapters 1 – 4 (inclusive)






Tu. Feb 26

Dynamics in 2 Dimensions

Uniform Circular Motion






Th. Feb 28

Circular Motion & Fictitious Forces

Kinetic Energy & Potential Energy






Tu. Mar. 5

Potential Energy

Conservation of Energy

Work and Energy






Th. Mar 7

Potential Energy, Power





Tu. Mar 12

Momentum and Impulse

Momentum Conservation






Th. Mar 14

Inelastic Collisions & Explosions

2 Dimensional Collisions

Elastic Collisions







Mar. 18 – Mar. 22

Spring Break





Tu. Mar. 26

Elastic Collisions (finish)

Center of Mass

Review (45 minutes)


12.1 – 12.2




Th. Mar 28

Second Term Exam

Chapters 1 – 11 (inclusive)





Tu. April 2

Rotational Dynamics and Kinematics

Torque, Rotational Dynamics,

Moments of Inertia

12.3 -12.4

12.5 – 12.7




Th. April 4

Static Equilibrium, Angular Momentum, Rotation as Vectors

12.8 – 12.11




Tu. April 9

Newtonian Gravity





Th. April 11

Kepler’s Laws, Gravitational Energy





Tu. April 16

Simple Harmonic Motion





Th. April 18

SHM Dynamics, Vertical SHM

The Pendulum, Damped SHM





Tu. April 23

Driven Harmonic Motion

Review Chapters 12, 13, 14





Th. April 25

Third Term Exam





Tu. April 30

Pressure and Density in Fluids

Pascals Principle






Th. May 2

Review Chapters 1 - 9





Tu. May 7

Archimedes Law and Buoyancy

Fluid Dynamics






Th. May 9

Review Chapters 10-15

Course Wrap-up





M.  May 13


FINAL EXAM (Combined exam)

Tydings Hall 0130










In case of Bad weather: Winter in the Washington Metro area can bring large snowstorms that make travel dangerous. Should this happen and the University is closed as a result, classes will be cancelled and the lecture material will be rescheduled for the following day. Closings are announced over local radio and TV as well as on the University’s homepage.


Academic Integrity: "The University of Maryland has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism.” For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit