MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS
8.01 Fall 1998
8.01 COURSE INFORMATION SHEET
8.01 Study Guide:
Wit Busza, Susan Cartwright, and Alan H. Guth: Essentials of Introductory Classical Mechanics, 3rd Edition; available from
the The Coop for $20.95. This is a required purchase. The
Study Guide was written especially for this course, and will be
your main resource for the course's material. It defines
the content of the course and provides a concise discussion of
the relevant principles of physics. If by the end of the term
you understand and know how to use the material in the Study Guide, you will deserve an A for the course.
Hugh Young and Roger Freedman: University Physics, 9th
edition, 2nd printing, Vol. I. This is also a required
purchase, available at The Coop for $53.50. The 8.02 course
to be taught next spring (1999) is expected to use a different
textbook, so the purchase of Vol. II or the combined edition
will not free you from purchasing another textbook next term.
When the material in the Study Guide is too concise for
your taste, you can turn to the textbook, which provides the
detailed derivations and explanations of all the results and
formulas. It also has more worked examples and problems,
problem-solving hints, etc. You should certainly buy this book
as it contains material essential to the course.
The Coop is also selling two related books which you may wish to
buy: 1) a study guide designed to accompany the Young & Freedman
text, written by James R. Gaines and William F. Palmer ($25.00);
2) A Student's Solution Manual, by A. Lewis Ford ($21.00).
These books are not required, and will not be used in any
assignments related to the course. The assigned homework for
this course will come from the 8.01 Study Guide, so you
should be aware that the Student's Solution Manual will not
DIRECTLY help you with your homework. Nonetheless, if you would
like to have additional references, you may decide to buy one or
both of these books.
Lectures will be given by Prof. Alan Guth on Mondays,
Wednesdays, and Fridays at 10:05 a.m. and again at 11:05 a.m.,
in Room 26-100. The lectures will explain the concepts that you
are expected to understand, and will also include demonstrations
aimed at solidifying your grasp of the material.
You will be assigned to a class instructor and a class that meets
two hours each week. These classes will provide an opportunity
to ask questions about the material, and to practice the art
of problem-solving. If you need to change your recitation class,
ask at the Physics Education Office, Room 4-352.
Problem sets will be assigned about once a week; they will be
handed out in lecture and will be available on the website. They
will be discussed in the recitation classes and in the TV help
sessions described below. Most of the problems will come from
the Study Guide. The problem sets will not be collected or
graded, but we are sure that you will find them essential in
preparing for the quizzes and the final examination. Trying to
learn physics without doing problems is like trying to learn to
ride a bicycle by reading a book. The Course Calendar at the end
of this handout shows the ``completion date'' for each problem
set — i.e., the date by which we recommend that you finish the
set. Solutions to each problem set will be made available on its
completion date. Be sure to work (or at least try) the problems
BEFORE looking at the solutions; it is very easy to read the
solutions and fool yourself into thinking that you understand
them. We strongly encourage students to get together in groups
to discuss the homework.
You will be assigned to a graduate student tutor, who will meet
with you and probably two other students for a half hour each
week. The tutorials will take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and
Thursdays. Sign-up sheets for the tutorials are to be posted in
Room 4-339, the Physics Common Room, on September 9
(the first day of classes). You should sign up for a tutorial
session before 5 p.m. on Friday, September 11. Be sure to PRINT
your name clearly, with your last name (i.e., family name) first;
example: ``Guth, Alan''. If your schedule changes during the
sign-up period, you can change your choice by NEATLY crossing
your name out and rewriting it in another blank. After the
sign-up period, change requests will be processed by the Physics
Education Office, Room 4-352.
Tutorial sessions will start on Tuesday, September 15.
Attendance at these meetings is required, and will count for 5%
of your grade in the course. Any student who exceeds a specified
threshold on any of the Review Quizzes will be given an exemption
from the attendance requirement until the next Review Quiz, and
all students are given an automatic exemption for one week of
their choice. Even if you have an exemption, we nonetheless
recommend that you come.
TV Help Sessions:
Prof. Walter Lewin will discuss the problem sets on MIT's cable
TV (channel 10), showing you how to solve all or most of the
assigned homework problems. The tapes will be broadcast on the
cable system 24 hours a day, and will also be available in the
Physics Reading Room and the ``Reserve Room'' of the main library.
You will find all the necessary details about how to access these
help sessions at the end of each assignment.
- Recitation Quizzes: On 5 selected weeks,
25-minute quizzes on the current chapter will be given in
the Wednesday and Thursday recitation sections. The lowest
of each student's 5 Recitation Quiz scores will be dropped.
Each recitation instructor will make up and grade the
Recitation Quizzes for his or her sections. These
Recitation Quizzes will be given on September 16 & 17,
October 7 & 8, October 14 & 15, November 4 & 5, and
December 2 & 3. The dates of the Recitation Quizzes are
shown with light gray shading on the Course Calendar.
- Review Quizzes: Three lecture periods during the term—Monday September 28, Friday October 23, and Friday November 20—will be used for 50-minute Review Quizzes, each of which will focus on all the material since the previous Review Quiz. Each Review Quiz will include at least one problem that is at most a slight modification of a previously assigned homework problem. Some students will take these quizzes in the usual lecture room, 26-100, and others will be assigned to Room 50-340 (3rd floor of Walker Memorial). The Review Quizzes will be made up by the lecturer, and will be team-graded by the course staff. The dates of the Review Quizzes are shown with gray shading on the Course Calendar.
- Final Examination: There will be a three-hour
Final Examination during the regular final examination
period at the end of the term. Like the Review Quizzes, the
Final Examination will be made up by the lecturer and will
be team-graded by the course staff. The Final Examination
will cover all the material from the course.
At http://web.mit.edu/8.01/www, the website includes quizzes and
solutions from the past four years. It will also be used to post
all announcements, homework assignments, homework solutions, and
quiz solutions as the coming term progresses. (Announcements and
assignments will also be handed out in lecture.) You are invited
to use the anonymous feedback page to relay comments, complaints,
or suggestions about the website or about any aspect of the
course. Messages that you write on the feedback page are
forwarded anonymously to the lecturer, Alan Guth.
The Review Quizzes will count 35% of the grade, with the
individual Review Quizzes counting 9%, 13%, and 13%,
respectively. The Recitation Quizzes will count 20%, with the
lowest of the 5 quizzes being dropped. Tutoring attendance will
count 5%, and the Final Examination will count 40%. Since
there is no way to guarantee that all recitation instructors will
write quizzes that are equally difficult or grade them by the
same standards, we will compensate for these differences as well
as we can by ``renormalizing'' the Recitation Quiz grades. Each
instructor will be calibrated by comparing the Recitation Quiz
grades of his/her students with their Review Quiz and Final
Examination grades (which are team-graded), and the Recitation
Quiz grades will be corrected accordingly. The correction
formula will guarantee that the average of the Recitation Quiz
grades for all 8.01 students will not be changed.
There will be no make-up quizzes, so in the case of excused
absences, the remaining grades will be averaged. A grade of zero
will be assigned for any missed quiz that is not excused.
Excuses for the Review Quizzes must be requested in advance of
the quiz (if you are physically able to do so) from the Course
Administrator, Prof. George Koster (Room 4-334, 3-4870,
firstname.lastname@example.org). Acceptable excuses include verifiable
and significant medical problems, religious holidays, and also
serious personal situations, such as deaths in the family. For
conflicts between Review Quizzes and athletic events, Prof.
Koster will try to make alternative arrangements for the student
to take the examination. For conflicts between a Recitation Quiz
and an athletic event, an excused absence is appropriate. To
request an excused absence for a Recitation Quiz, see your
Comments by the Lecturer:
This year we are returning to the 3-lecture-per-week format for
8.01, after four years of experimenting with a 1-lecture-per-week
format in which most of the material was presented in small
sections which met three times each week. We are, however,
continuing to use the Study Guide that was originally
developed for the experimental format.
Wit Busza, Susan Cartwright, and I worked hard over the summer to
make further improvements to the Study Guide, which we hope you
will find a concise and convenient summary of the material, as
well as an instructive collection of problems and solutions. We
are asking you to also buy the textbook, however, because we
expect that you will sometimes find the explanations in the Study Guide to be too concise.
Since the Study Guide is still under development, there
will inevitably be some errors in it. As I discover these
errors, I will post them on the website. If you discover any
errors, I would very much appreciate your sending me an email
message about them. No error is too small to be worth
8.01 is the mid-level first-year physics course, aimed at the
majority of MIT students. It is paced faster than 8.01L, it is
less rigorous than 8.012, and it does not have the emphasis on
take-home experiments that characterizes 8.01X. Our goal is to
convey the excitement of the physicist's quest to understand
nature at its deepest level, and at the same time to provide the
knowledge and tools that you will need to continue your studies
in science or engineering. I hope you will enjoy the course.
— Alan Guth
Click here for 1998 course calendar:
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Last modified: Tuesday, September 8, 1998 4:10 am