Syllabus for PHY2053C, Sec. 0002, Spring 2019



Dr. Thomas J. Brueckner






NO! Use Webcourses messaging.

Office hours

Tuesday 1:00 – 2:00 PM, PS158 by PSB entrance.

Course description

Mechanics, waves, thermodynamics


Free, via

Homework policy

Turn in Friday at the start of lecture. Graded and returned by following Monday, INS.

Exam policy

Mandatory, cannot take exams tardy, no makeups. Drop lowest of three, keep best two.

Final Exam

Friday, April 26, from 1:00 – 3:50 PM, here in MSB260. Be on time!


A, B, C, D, F

What we will be doing

The formal curriculum topics are mechanics, waves and thermodynamics. We have these topics, because, in the wisdom of the state of Florida and the US academic culture, basic physics is necessary preparation for many careers. For many PHY2053C students, their academic major envisions a career requiring serious facility with physics knowledge and techniques. To assist your learning, we will have lecture and do homework. To measure how well you have learned, we will have clicking, written homework once per week, midterm exams with written problems, and a cumulative, mandatory final exam with written problems.




Midterm 1


Best two, 72 pts, 30%

Midterm 2


Midterm 3

















Why written physics problems are important

We will work hard on written problems, some of them quite challenging. Not that you will become a professional user of physics. However, everyone here will probably have much tougher problems to handle, even life and death. Lateral thinking, analytic insight and other skills will be useful for any career — if you want to be good at it.

General Policies

All general UCF policies apply. Especially see the Golden Rule,

and the UCF Creed:

Lab grade

The lab grade you receive from your lab TA will be converted to 48 points or fewer on a straight percentage basis.

Participation grade

Register your i>Clicker2 only through our Webcourses! No class code is needed when registering, but you must type in your i>Clicker2’s serial number. Chrome and Firefox work well; Safari is shaky. If your i>Clicker2 is not registered through Webcourses, then you will not get any participation points on your semester grade. The deadline for registering the iClicker is Wednesday, January 23.

Lecture attendance is not mandatory. That being the case, there is built-in leeway for one absence or so: you must answer 85% of all lecture questions, whether correctly or incorrectly, in order to get all 15 points for your semester grade.

  1. More than 85% answered: 15/15 for semester grade.
  2. Fewer than 85% answered, we make your pointage proportional.

We will work out an example of iClicker grading in February..

For participation points, you must do three things:

  1. have the i>Clicker2 with you in lecture,
  2. have the i>Clicker2 in working order, and
  3. your i>Clicker2 is registered through Webcourses only.

Examination procedure

  1. you must bring a #2 pencil, a good eraser, UCF scantron (raspberry color);
  2. you may use a basic scientific calculator like a TI-30XIIS, but not a big programmable calculator;
  3. you may not use a cell phone for any reason;
  4. you must be on time: Late arrival after the first student finishes means you cannot take the exam.

No cell phones are allowed, so no cell phone calculators.

Midterm Exam 1

Monday, Jan. 28

Midterm Exam 2

Monday, Feb. 18

Midterm Exam 3

Monday, March 25

Final Exam

FRIDAY, April 26 starts at 1:00 PM, sharp.

Semester grade




216 or more












< 120

< 50%

As is customary, if you take all three midterm examinations, we will drop the lowest score and keep the best two scores. If you miss an exam due to absence, either excused or unexcused, that is effectively a zero and will be the exam score that is dropped. Then the other two exams you do take will be your “best two” scores — because they are your only scores! I do not give make up exams, neither late nor early — only the exams on this schedule.

The final exam is cumulative, mandatory and cannot be dropped.

Make sure your schedule is clear on Friday, April 26,2019, until after supper, and do NOT schedule airline tickets, cruises, or work at your job off campus until well after 6 PM. I have first priority on your time until 3:50 PM, and I never budge. Make perfect attendance at exams your objective!

Grade scale

The semester grade scale consists of straight letter grades only, no + or – grades, and it goes by points earned by semester’s end.

I do not grade “on the curve.”

Exam schedule

This examination schedule is like a contract: we will stick to it! Because there are so many students in this section, we keep everything simple: no makeup examinations, no early exams, no late exams — only exams on this schedule. Each midterm exam is on a Monday, so that you have the preceding weekend to prepare.


Any cheating I detect on examinations will be punishable by no less than a zero on the examination in question, lowering the semester grade and up to expulsion from UCF.

Operating another students i>Clicker is also cheating.


UCF is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all persons with disabilities. Dr. Brueckner shares the same commitment. Students with disabilities who need accommodations must be registered with Student Accessibility Services (SAS), Ferrell Commons, Bldg. 7F, Room 185, phone (407) 823-2371, TTY/TDD only phone (407) 823-2116, before requesting accommodations from Dr. Brueckner. Students registered with SAS that need accommodations must initiate contact through SAS and Knights Access.

No accommodations will be provided until the student has used SAS/Knights Access to request accommodations.


At UCF, academics comes first. Attendance at exams is mandatory. University-excused absences are only for religious observances, intercollegiate activities and athletics, military call-ups, and university verified family or medical emergency. Weddings, plane tickets that your parents got at Priceline, etc. are NOT legitimate excuses.

It is Physics Department policy that making up missed work will only be permitted for University-sanctioned activities and bona fide medical or family reasons. Authentic justifying documentation must be provided in every case (in advance for University-sanctioned activities). At the discretion of the instructor, the make-up may take any reasonable and appropriate form including, but not limited to the following: a replacement exam, replacing the missed work with the same score as a later exam, allowing a “dropped” exam.

Federal surveillance

As of Fall 2014, all faculty members are required to document students’ academic activity at the beginning of each course. In order to document that you began this course, please complete the assigned homework during the first week of classes, or as soon as possible after adding the course, up to and including January 23. Failure to do so will result in a delay in the disbursement of your financial aid. Note: We will use our Academic Integrity Module in Webcourses to comply with this regulation.


The instructor will assign several optional homework problems from the OpenStax textbook for you to study with. It is up to you to work them out alone or with study partners.

Occasionally there will be some simple multiple choice homework in Webcourses. They also will be study tools, and therefore strictly optional.

Every week there will be a written homework problem to turn in on Friday, at the beginning of lecture. Tardy homework is not accepted for a grade. The grading procedure for written homework is:

Dr. Brueckner will carefully grade problems of a group of about 48 students, awarding 8 points possible;

our GTA will grade the remainder on a more basic level, 2 points possible.

From week to week different random groups of 48 students will be graded carefully by Dr. Brueckner, with the remainder getting graded by the GTA.

Over the course of our twelve written homework assignments, everyone will have

two assignments graded by Dr. Brueckner, total of 16 points possible, and

ten assignments graded by the GTA, total of 20 points possible,

making an aggregate of 36 points possible.

Everyone will have access to Dr. Brueckner’s solution by Friday evening INS.

Through this emphasis, the instructor can measure your improving problem solving skills from week to week.


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