Final exam cover sheet (with instructions) is here. Please download and study the cover sheet (and the Purcell sheet) before beginning the exam! Do not download the exam itself until you are ready to take it. The complete Final Exam is here.
Due 3pm Thursday June 8, 2017 for Seniors and Grad students.
Due 2pm Weds June 14, 2017 for Frosh-Juniors.
Final exam solutions are here.
Prof: Sterl Phinney [final] 316 Cahill x 4308 esp [AT] tapir.caltech.edu Office hours: Tuesdays 3-4pm (316/319 Cahill) TAs: Tristan McKinney [PS 3,5,7,8, final] tmckinne [AT] caltech.edu 417 Downs Ke (Kevin) Ye [PS 1,2,4,6] kye [AT] caltech.edu 446 Lauritsen , x6623
Approximate class outline (may change depending on student and instructor enthusiasms...)
Week 1 Estimation, Dimensional analysis, scaling 2 More scaling, Bulk Properties of materials 3 Properties of materials 4 Biomechanics and exercise, water waves 5 Sound waves and acoustics, the ear, musical instruments, recording 6 Weather, oceans and atmospheres, climate change. 7-9 student vote from topics below Topics: -Economics, industry and finance. -Bombs, guns, torpedos, nuclear reactors, supernovae and other things that go bang. -Tricks for general ODE and PDE equations. -Earthquakes and their effects. -Birds, airplanes, helicopters, spacecraft, lift, drag, boundary layers, turbulence, Kolmogorov spectrum. -Nuclear and atomic physics; cross-sections and reaction rates. -Astrophysical objects: stars, planets, cosmology -Biology: neurons, information processing. Evolution, metabolism, lifetime. -Challenge me!
Final exams will be due 3pm Thursday June 8, 2017 for Seniors and Grad students. Due 2pm Weds June 14, 2017 for Frosh-Juniors.
To satisfy Federal FERPA privacy rules, please choose a 6 digit code or pseudonym, and e-mail this to the TAs before the first assignment is due. To simplify ordering manageable return piles, if you choose to use a pseudonym, preceed it by a digit: e.g. "1Spock", or "177625" [phone key equivalent], not "Spock". You will use this, and not your name, to label the assignments you hand in.
Solution sets will be posted on the website. Graded problem sets will be available in class or in the Ph101 box outside 316 Cahill. If your name, and not just your numerical code, appears on the assignment, you will have to pick it up directly from JoAnn Boyd in 321 Cahill between 7:00am and 4:00pm weekdays. You will have to show her a TSA and FERPA-approved Photo ID to collect your papers.
Your grade will be a mostly monotonic function of
g = [0.7(sum of homework scores)/(total possible)
+ 0.3(score on final)/(total possible)].
Because new topics and new problems are given every year, and the
mix of students varies,
Sterl determines the connection between letter
grade and numerical score by looking at natural
breaks in the final distribution: there are no fixed cutoffs and no
predetermined curve.
However as a very rough guide,
in 2017 A+ was > 0.93, A was > 0.89, B was > 0.75, C was > 0.65.
in 2015 A+ was > 0.82, A was > 0.75, B was > 0.6, C was > 0.45.
In 2009 A+ was > 0.9, A was > 0.8, B was > 0.67, C was > 0.5.
In 2007 A+ was > 0.9, A was > 0.85, B was > 0.75, C was > 0.6.
Collaboration on the homework is limited. You must first try every homework problem BY YOURSELF for at least 30 minutes without external help (human or internet), other than looking up fundamental equations (e.g. Navier-Stokes, Schroedinger, Planck black-body, etc) in the recommended texts. This is the fun, OoM part. For estimation problems, this in particular means you must work out an answer using only what is in your brain before typing anything into a search engine. If subsequent Googling suggests your estimate was way off, you can then try to understand what went wrong with your estimate (or, not infrequently, with the dubious web "information").
Visual exchanges of information are strictly forbidden -you may not trade equations, graphs, or look at other people's solution sets from this or any prior year, or from child or grand-child Ph 101-like courses at other universities.
You may consult books and published papers to learn or remind yourself of relevant physics. The recommended texts are (surprise) recommended.
If after spending 30 minutes on a problem you are still stuck on it, you may TALK about the homework with the TA or your fellow students, but all exchanges of information must be general in nature and either exchanged verbally, or with modern replacements for talking (i.e. texting, IMing and emailing is ok too, as long as details are avoided -see below). For example the following QandA is ok Q: "I got a density of one atom per cubic km. Isn't that awfully low for lead at room temperature and pressure? A: "Yup, sure is. What variables did you include in your Buckingham Pi list? Oh, I think quantum mechanics is relevant here. Why did you leave out hbar? The following one is NOT OK: Q: "I'm stuck on problem 2. Can you help me?" A: "Sure. You take equation 3.12 of this book, insert equations 2.5 and 3.2, integrate and you should get the right answer which is V k squared over pi squared".
After any discussion with others, you must write up your own homework by yourself, without reference to anyone else's.
In real research, no one else knows the answer to the problems you work on (otherwise why would you be doing them?), so the most important thing you can learn from homework is how to think and solve for yourself, and be confident in your answers.