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CCOG for PHY 203 Winter 2024

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Course Number:
PHY 203
Course Title:
General Physics
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Topics include electricity, magnetism and radioactivity. Algebra-based physics. Prerequisites: PHY 201 and its prerequisite requirements. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This is an pre-calculus introductory physics course for pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-chiropractic  and pre-physical therapy students and students working toward a degree.  Study topics include electricity, magnetism and modern physics.  This course meets college transfer, Oregon Block Transfer and program requirements as listed above.  This is an algebra-based physics course required for students majoring in biology, pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, architecture, and many other degree programs.  The course is transferable to colleges or universities.  Students should be aware of the program requirements of the institution to which they wish to transfer.  

Intended Outcomes for the course

After completion of this course, students will
1) Apply knowledge of electricity, magnetism, and modern physics to explain natural physical processes and related technological advances.
2) Use an understanding of algebraic mathematics along with physical principles to effectively solve problems encountered in everyday life, further study in science, and in the professional world.
3) Design experiments and acquire data in order to explore physical principles, effectively communicate results, and critically evaluate related scientific studies.
4) Assess the contributions of physics to our evolving understanding of global change and sustainability while placing the development of physics in its historical and cultural context.

Course Activities and Design

Principles and techniques are presented through lectures and  class demonstrations.  Students must register for lecture and one lab. Laboratory work will be performed in order to clarify certain facts in the lecture materials.  

Outcome Assessment Strategies

At the beginning of the course, the instructor will provide a syllabus that details the methods used to evaluate student progress and the criteria for assigning a course grade.  The methods may include one or more of the following tools:  examinations, quizzes, homework assignments, laboratory reports, research papers, small group problem solving of questions arising from application of course concepts and concerns to actual experience, oral presentations, or maintenance of a personal lab manual.   Specific evaluation procedures will be given in class.  In general, grading will be based on accumulated points from homework assignments, tests, a final exam and labs.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


The goal is to develop knowledge and skills in the basic concepts of electric forces and fields.


1.1 Study the forces between charges and apply Coulomb's Law to solve problems.
1.2 Distinguish insulators and conductors.
1.3 Understand charging by conduction and induction and explain the action of an electroscope to illustrate these.
1.4 Plot electric fields about various charge configurations, thereby coming to understand the basic concept of an electric field.


The goal is to develop knowledge and an understanding of what is meant by electric potential.


2.1 Explain electrical potential energy and to show how it is analogous to gravitational potential energy.
2.2 Explain the central importance of potential difference as "electrical pressure" that moves charge.
2.3 Relate work and potential difference, and thereby understand and define the volt.
2.4 Explain the role of batteries as energy sources and as sources of potential difference.
2.5 Define the electron volt as an energy unit.
2.6 Explain the operation of capacitors, including charging and discharging, dielectrics and the energy stored therein.


The goal is to gain knowledge and skills in the safe use of direct electrical current circuits.


3.1 Discuss the concept of electric current and what is happening at the atomic level.
3.2 Explain OHM's Law and how it operates in simple circuits.
3.3 Explain resistivity and resistance and relate the two.
3.4 Explain the use of resistors in series, parallel and series-parallel circuits and solve related problems.
3.5 Discuss the effect of capacitors in series, parallel and series-parallel circuits and solve related problems.
3.6 State and apply Kirchhoff's Junction Rule.
3.7 State and apply Kirchhoff's Loop Rule.
3.8 Describe the construction and operation of galvanometers, ammeters and voltmeters.
3.9 Describe "house" circuits and discuss electrical safety.


The goal is to gain an understanding of magnetic fields and their relationship to electrical fields.


4.1 Plot and understand the nature of magnetic fields.
4.2 Explain the magnetic fields caused by electric currents.
4.3 Discuss the force on a current in a magnetic field and be able to calculate its magnitude and determine its direction from the Right Hand Rule.
4.4 Explain the Hall effect.
4.5 Diagram and explain the earth's magnetic field.
4.6 Describe lines of flux and understand flux density.
4.7 Define Ampere's Law.
4.8 Compute the magnitude and direction of the magnetic fields about a current loop, a solenoid and a toroid.
4.9 Explain the torque on a current loop in a magnetic field and how this is used in electric motors.


The goal is to develop knowledge and skills in the understanding and use of electromagnetic induction.


5.1 Define induced EMFs.
5.2 Explain mutual induction and self induction.
5.3 Explain the characteristics of an inductance-resistance circuit.
5.4 Explain motional EMFs.
5.5 Describe the theory and operation of an A.C. generator and how it can be converted to a D.C. generator.
5.6 Describe the theory and operation of an electric motor.
5.7 Describe the theory and operation of a transformer.


The goal is to gain knowledge and skills in the use of alternating currents and their application in electronics.


6.1 Define AC quantities such as peak, effective and RMS values.
6.2 Apply Ohm's Law to an AC resistive circuit.
6.3 Explain the charging and discharging of capacitors and show how capacitors fit into an AC circuit.
6.4 Explain the inductance and inductive reactance of a coil and how coils fit into AC circuits.
6.5 Apply Ohm's law to problem solving in a combined LCR circuit.
6.6 Explain the phenomenon of electrical resonance.
6.7 Explain the phenomenon of thermionic emission.
6.8 Explain the diode, the semiconductor diode and rectification.
6.9 Discuss various electronic devices such as the x-ray machine, oscilloscope, etc.


The goal is to gain an understanding of electromagnetic waves.


7.1 Explain the generation of EM waves.
7.2 Discuss the reception of radio waves.
7.3 Discuss the speed of EM waves and how it relates to wavelength and frequency.
7.4 Diagram and explain the EM spectrum.
7.5 Describe the ability of EM waves to transport energy.



8.1 Identify the circumstances, discoveries and people that launched Modern Physics.
8.2 Enumerate and understand the postulate of relativity.
8.3 Learn about the speed of light as a natural limit to speed.
8.4 Explain the problem of simultaneity and calculate time changes from one frame of reference to another.
8.5 Describe relativistic length contraction.
8.6 Describe the relativistic mass-energy relation.
8.7 Explain the work of Planck, Bohr, and Heisenberg.
8.8 Explain the uncertainty principle and the other features of Quantum Mechanics.


The goal is to gain an understanding of the relationship between atomic structure and electromagnetic energy.


9.1 Identify the nuclear atom and the Bohr model.
9.2 Describe the spectrum of hydrogen and show how the Bohr model can be used to explain its emission.
9.3 Draw energy level diagrams.
9.4 Explain absorption of light by the Bohr model.
9.5 Relate DeBroglie's waves to the Bohr atom.
9.6 Describe Quantum numbers and the Pauli exclusion principle.
9.7 Explain the production of x-rays and the principle of the x-ray machine.
9.8 Summarize our knowledge of bright line, band, absorption and continuous spectra.


The goal is to develop knowledge and an understanding of nuclear energy and the differences in nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.


10.1 Describe the structure of atomic nuclei.
10.2 Explain the formation of isotopes
10.3 Relate Mass Defect and Binding Energy.
10.4 Explain the phenomena of radioactivity including decay products and radioactive series.
10.5 Explain nuclear reactions and transmutations.
10.6 Explain the nuclear force.
10.7 Describe nuclear fission and explain how this relates to bombs and reactors.
10.8 Describe nuclear fusion and explain how this relates to bombs and reactors.
10.9 Explain radiation damage and radiation detection.
10.10 Summarize the known nuclear particles including the probable Quarks.