Reference Frames

Course Description
Syllabus for Spring 2006
Lectures: MWF 1-2 PM, TR 12-2 PM in Weniger 304
Instructor: David McIntyre
Office hours: M 10-11, W 2-3, F 11-12 in Weniger 463 (and by appointment)
Phone: 737-1696

TA: Vince Rossi
Office hours: TR 2:00-3:00 PM in Weniger 209 (and by appointment)
Phone: 737-2604

The official URL for this course is


Grades: HW: 50% Final: 50%

There will be weekly homework assignments, consisting of both graded and ungraded work. In addition, there will be ungraded worksheets to be completed based on group work done in class. All assignments may be done in groups, but must be turned in in your own writing (or, for computer-based assignments, with your own printout). All resources used must be cited and may affect the amount of credit given. (Library work counts in your favor; copying someone else's work does not...)

Ground Rules:
Science is inherently a social and collaborative effort, each scientist building on the work of others. Nevertheless, each student must ultimately be responsible for his or her own education. Therefore, you will be expected to abide by a number of ground rules.

  1. We strongly encourage students to work with each other, more advanced students, the TA, and the professor, when they get stuck on assignments (including computer work). However, each student is expected to turn in assignments that have been independently written up. In other words, the final synthesis must be entirely your own. This applies also to, and especially to, computer generated worksheets. If you work with someone on a computer project, do not get locked in to writing the solution together. You will end up turning in the same assignment.
  2. Homework solutions from previous years are very strictly off limits. You are on your honor not to use them, and not to share your homework solutions with other students. Allow faculty to use their time interacting with you, rather than continually thinking up new assignments. Besides, if you don't do the work yourself, it will show up very clearly on exams later. Likewise, the solutions are for your use only. You may make one copy and keep it in your personal files.
  3. Sources must be appropriately documented. If you find a homework problem worked out somewhere (other than homework solutions from previous years), you may certainly use that resource, just make sure you reference it properly. If someone else helps you solve a problem, reference that too. In a research paper, the appropriate reference would be Jane Doe, (private communication).
  4. Plagiarism &endash; representing someone else's work as your own &endash; is unethical, but collaboration and exchange of ideas is healthy. You can avoid collaborative efforts taking on the look of plagiarism by acknowledging sources and by writing up your work independently.
  5. If you find that you have worked on a problem for 1/2 hour without making any forward progress, it would be a good idea to stop and seek help.

Final: (Monday, 4/24/2006, 7:30-9:20)
The final exam will be closed book.

Students are expected to have some familiarity with Newton's equations of motion and Maxwell's equations as well as the underlying (simple) vector calculus. Students are further expected to have a computer account (e.g. ONID) so they can access the computers in Weniger 304, and for email. Access to Weniger 412 after hours is useful, as is access to an internet browser from there or elsewhere.

The Postscript in the last week of the term is a required part of this course.

Students with Special Needs:
Students with documented disabilities who may need accommodations, who have any medical information which the instructor should know of, or who need special arrangements in the event of evacuation, should discuss this with the instructor as soon as possible.

Add/drop and withdrawal dates:
The last day to add/drop this class is Thursday of Week 1 (4/6). The last day to withdraw is Friday of Week 2 (4/14). See also the Paradigm Rules page.

OSU Disclaimer
NSF Disclaimer
©2000 Tevian Dray