Outline of Physics 200, "Special Relativity"

Course material can be found online at URL



Michael Richmond
Building 76 = CAR, Office 1274
Office phone: 475-2538
FAX: : 475-5988
E-mail: mwrsps@rit.edu

Class hours

 Section 01
   Monday    10:00 - 10:50 AM   CAR-1125
   Wednesday 10:00 - 10:50 AM   CAR-1125
   Friday    10:00 - 10:50 AM   GOS-3305

Office Hours

   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, go to 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)
  104  percent

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 your request.

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.

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.

Other resources

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.