Outline of Physics 200, "Special Relativity"
Course material can be found online at URL
Building 76 = CAR, Office 1274
Office phone: 475-2538
FAX: : 475-5988
Monday 10:00 - 10:50 AM CAR-1125
Wednesday 10:00 - 10:50 AM CAR-1125
Friday 10:00 - 10:50 AM GOS-3305
Monday 9:00 - 10:00 AM CAR-1274
Wednesday 11:00 - noon CAR-1274
Thursday 11:00 - noon CAR-1274
Friday 11:00 - noon CAR-1274
You may call to make an appointment.
If my office door is open, feel free to enter.
I'm almost always in my office :-(
We will use an on-line system for homework.
It allows you to submit answers and see at once if
you are right or wrong;
if wrong, you may try again a limited number of times.
To access the homework system,
the appropriate link on the main course web page.
In order to use the on-line homework system, you need to know your login name
and your initial password.
Your "login name" should be the same as your RIT E-mail address,
something like abc1234.
Your initial password should be
the final 4-digits of your student RIT E-mail address,
so if your E-mail address is abc1234, the
initial password would be 1234.
Include all zeroes: if your E-mail address is abc0211,
then your initial password will be 0211.
You can change your password
from the default after you log in for the first time.
Answers to the homework problems will appear
after the due date.
Because the answers will be visible to everyone
at that time,
I will accept no late homework.
There are several components to the final score in this course.
The list below is not definitive, but a rough guide to the
importance of each component.
15 percent in-class quizzes
15 percent homework
30 percent midterm
40 percent final exam
4 percent optional extra credit assignments (2 percent each)
Course grades are based on a total of 100 percent.
At the end of the course, I shall calculate the total score
for each student.
Based on the overall distribution of scores in the class,
I may use the traditional means of assigning letter grades to
scores ("A" for greater than 90%, "B" for 80% to 90%, etc.);
or I may slide the grade boundaries downward
to some degree.
Make-up exams are provided only in unusual circumstances. A request for a
make-up exam must be submitted in writing to the School of Physics & Astronomy
and copied to your instructor. All requests must be submitted using the
Make-Up Exam Request Form available below. Submission of the
request is in no way a guarantee that it will be approved. All requests are
considered by the School Head on a case-by-case basis. Whenever possible, you
must allow sufficient and reasonable lead time for a considered response to
There will be no makeups for in-class material or homeworks.
There is no official textbook for this course.
However, there are several books which I recommend
that you read.
The books may clarify material
covered in class,
and they may also give you a second view which
makes more sense to you than my explanations.
- When he taught this course, Professor Lindberg
wrote very detailed notes, a sort of mini-textbook.
You can read his notes on-line at
Professor Lindberg's notes
(PDF format, 95 pages)
- Taylor and Wheeler's book
covers all the material in this course
and more. Professor Lindberg used this book
as a text when he taught the course.
You can find a copy of this book on reserve in
the RIT Library; it is also currently in print.
- Physicist George Gamow wrote a series of stories about
Mr. Tompkins, an ordinary bank teller who has
some very interesting adventures. I recommend the
first of these books especially for this course.
You can find one copy of each on reserve in the RIT Library,
You can also find these books in print at many booksellers.
- Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland
- Mr. Tompkins Explores the Atom
- The New World of Mr. Tompkins
is a set of new stories written by Russell Stannard,
in which Mr. Tompkins explores space and cosmology.
- Mr. Tompkins in Paperback
is a collection of all the original Mr. Tompkins
stories in a single volume
- There are many, many books written on the topics
we will study: relativity is a very popular topic.
Why not browse through the RIT Library or local
bookstores or on-line sources for some which
look good to you?
You will need to purchase a pad of good graph paper for your use in
class. The paper must have 10 squares per inch. The bookstore
sells a good variety, Ampad 10x10 Cross Section Pad,
item #22-026, for $3.95.
There is a Physics Study Center on the first floor
of the College of Science.
A schedule posted outside the room lists times at which
someone will be available to
help with questions.
You may also contact the Learning Development Center,
in the Eastman Building, second floor. The Office of
Special Services can arrange one-on-one tutorial sessions
for qualified students.
The Academic Support Center provides tutors in daytime
and evening sessions.
See the ASC webpages for Math and Physics tutoring.
If my office door is open, please feel free to visit.
If you have any special needs, you must inform me during the
first week of classes. Otherwise, I may not be able to
make arrangements in time to help you. Please contact me
after class or at my office.
This page maintained by Michael Richmond.
Last modified Aug 31, 2012.