Electricity, Magnetism, and Thermodynamics

Oberlin College Physics 111

Spring 2012x

This World Wide Web page written by Dan Styer, Oberlin College Department of Physics and Astronomy;
last updated 12 April 2011.

Technical note: To access the links marked (PDF) you must first download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.

Teachers: Lectures: Dan Styer; Laboratories: John Scofield.

Course syllabus

Problem assignments

Physics drop-in tutoring (organized by physics majors): Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7-9 pm, Wright 102.

Hints for doing well in the course

I recommend that you first do the readings, then attend the lectures, and then work on the problem assignments. More tips can be found in Study Tips for Introductory Physics Students, but I cannot emphasize too strongly that I expect you to do the reading.

Information about physics problems is available through:

Links and handouts

Additional problems (PDF)

Conductors in electrostatic equilibrium (PDF)

Electric potential energy (PDF)

Analogy between electric and fluid circuits (PDF)

Magnetic field due to a single moving point charge (PDF)

The sources of electric and magnetic fields (PDF)

How relativity connects electric and magnetic fields (PDF) by Michael Fowler, University of Virginia

Etymology of the term "BNC connector" (bayonet Neill Concelman)

The LC circuit (PDF)

RC circuit; slow changes (PDF)

RC circuit; fast changes (PDF)

Conclusions concerning RC circuits from our qualitative discussion (PDF)

Solution of the RC cirucit differential equation (PDF)

The LCR cirucit (PDF)

A changing magnetic field makes an electric field. A changing electric field makes a magnetic field. (PDF)

CircuitSurveyor is a Java application concerning Poynting vectors in circuits, written by Noah Morris.

Polarization of light (PDF)

Humans can't, but bees can visually detect polarized light.

Comparison of alcohol and mercury thermometers by the Swiss scientist Jean-Andre De Luc to test for comparability. (That is, for consistency of measurments by several thermometers of the same type.) Figure from Hasok Chang, Inventing Temperature (Oxford University Press, 2004).

Gas thermometry (PDF)

Efficiency of a Carnot engine (PDF)

Entropy and Rust (PDF) It's common to conflate the scientific concept of entropy with the everyday concept of decay and disorder. This misconception is shown to be hilariously off the mark.