PHYSICS 302K - Rory Coker
Prof. Rory Coker
Office: RLM 8.312
Phone: (512) 471-5194
Fax: (512) 471-9637
Email: rory coker's gmail, coker's physics department mail

Office Hours: at Pai 2.48, Fridays, 3 to 3:45 PM.

[C1] [C2] [S] [A] [OK] [F] [T] [KC] [C]

The Fall 2016 unique number is 55530; the class meets from  2 to 3 MWF  in Pai 2.48. Attendance is REQUIRED in class, and the roll will be checked each day using iClickers. The TA is Kha X. Tran. He will hold regular office hours and a weekly session to provide help and advice on homework, as well as sample problems for study. Office hours: Friday, 4pm to 5pm in RLM 2.414. Discussion and help session: 11 am to noon every Thursday, JES A203A, the first room right across from J2 dining hall in Jester Center. Important! If you need immediate personal help with the homework and are on campus, the Coaching Tables by the elevators on the 5th level of RLM Hall (West of the elevators) are manned by up to three different coaches at most times, weekdays, from about 9 AM  to 7 PM.

Text: COLLEGE PHYSICS (9th ed or later) by Serway and Vuille, Vol. 1 (Brooks-Cole, 2012 or later ).  Earlier editions will also work. Electronic editions exist.  Also publishers like Cengage have produced compact paperback texts that have no homework problems at the end of each chapter, since no such problems are assigned in courses that use Quest. Look carefully at the course first day handout and syllabus; there are chapters in the text that are out of logical sequence. Following all earlier instructors we will cover the chapters in a logical sequence, so 13 and 14 are covered before 10 through 12. This course and text cover basic physics using algebra and trig but not calculus.  317K and L cover the same material using calculus.  You should probably not be taking this course if you are majoring in science or engineering.  Science majors take Phy 301, 315, 316 while engineers take Phy 303K and L.

Syllabus and first day handout for Fall 2016. Basis of course letter grade: Final exam, 25%; homework, 25%; best 2 of 3 exams, 20% each; class attendance, 10%. The lowest homework grade is dropped, the lowest quiz grade is dropped, and 4 zero clicker grades are dropped. Class attendance is NOT OPTIONAL; it is required, and contributes a sizable percentage of the overall course grade.  Attendance is checked in class using iClickers.  Your clicker must be registered for this specific course, in your profile on Quest (see below).   There is nowhere else that your clicker registration is relevant to this specific class.  When you register your clicker, note carefully the "box number" you are assigned by Quest.

The homework for this course is handled by the Quest on-line homework service. Homework assignments are turned in by you on-line from your web-browser, logging-in with your UT-EID from An FAQ page is available here.  Complete homework and quiz solutions are available on Quest within 15 minutes or half an hour after the deadline. Quest requires a $30 charge per student for its use, which goes toward the maintenance and operation of the resource. After the 12th day of class, when you log into Quest you will be asked to pay via credit card on a secure payment site. You have the option to wait up to 30 days to pay while still continuing to use Quest for your assignments. If you are taking more than one course using Quest, you will not be charged more than $60/semester. For payment questions, email Quest Fees.

SO FAR: In a course like 302K, the homework average is almost always near 80%.  To insure you do well in the class, strive to make a grade far, far better than 75% on each assignment.  Since Quiz 2, the average number of students coming to class has been 70, out of 102 enrolled students, and only about 80 are turning in homework.    A quick scan of overall course grades on Quest shows about 25 students out of 102 currently making D or F.  Class "notes": Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7 (first half), Chapter 8, Gravity (last half of 7), Chapter 9, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12.

  • HW 1, average 77%, turned in by 111 of 112 students.
  • HW 2, average 85%, turned in by 103 of 110 students.
  • HW 3, average 86%, turned in by 105 of 110 students.
  • HW 4, average 81%, turned in by 94 of 109 students.
  • HW 5, average 86%, turned in by 95 of 108 students.
  • HW 6, average 89%, turned in by 98 of 107 students.
  • HW 7, average 80%, turned in by 94 of 106 students.
  • HW 8, average 86%, turned in by 81 of 102 students.
  • HW 9, average 86%, turned in by 81 of 99 students.
  • HW 10, average 87%, turned in by 80 of 89 students.
  • HW 11, average 89%, turned in by 80 of 88 students.
  • HW 12, average 81%, turned in by 76 of 88 students.
  • HW 13, average 87%, turned in by 74 of 83 students.

  • Quiz 1 results: Average grade 60, high grade(s) 100, lowest grade 8.  13 students made from 100 to 90, 11 students made from 89 to 80, 13 students made from 79 to 70, 8 students made from 69 to 60, 27 students made from 59 to 50, 13 students made from 49 to 40, 14 students made from 39 to 30, and 3 students made from 29 to 20.  There were 3 students who made less than 20%. 

    Quiz 2 results: average 62%, high grade 100%, low grade(s) 17%.  10 students made grades from 100 to 90, 14 students made grades from 89 to 80, 12 students made grades from 79 to 70, 13 students made grades of 69 to 60, 23 students made grades of 59 to 50, 8 students made grades of 49 to 40, 12 students made grades of 39 to 30, and 4 students made grades less than 30.  96 of 106 enrolled students took the exam.

    Quiz 3 statistics: 82 of 88 students took the quiz; average 73%.  33 students made grades from 100 to 90; 7 students made grades of from 89 to 80; 9 students made grades of from 79 to 70; 8 students made grades of from 69 to 60; 12 students made grades of from 59 to 50; 4 students made grades of from 49 to 40; 3 students made grades of from 39 to 30.  6 students made grades of 25 or less.  The lowest grade was 8%.  Clearly many students found the material of Quiz 3 fairly easy.  Almost every topic on the quiz was discussed in extensive detail in class.

    The final exam is scheduled at 9 - 12 Noon on Tuesday, December 13, in Painter 3.02. The final exam covers Chapters 2, 3, 4, 7.4, 5, 6, the rest of 7 up to gravity, 8, 10, 11, 12. (In other words, it will NOT re-cover the material covered by Quiz 3.) The final usually has 25 to 30 questions.  The average on the final has historically been about 70%.  Most people score about the same on the final as they did on Quizzes 1 and 2; no one, in general, scores higher, which suggests that little or no additional effective study  takes place after Quizzes 1 and 2 and before the final, for low-performing students.  For the final you can make two cheat sheets, using both sides of both sheets, for 4 sheets in total.  I would recommend bringing a very reliable calculator, a pocket ruler, and two sharp pencils with good erasers. 

    What is weight?


    Here is a way to get extra credit!

    Here is the Golden Rule of physics problem-solving. Ignore it at your extreme peril.

    Important: the Laboratory Course 102M is a REQUIRED CO-REQUISITE for 302K. It is your responsibility to register for and take the lab, simultaneously with 302K, unless you have already taken and passed it in a prevous semester. All lab sessions probably start the week of September 1, but make sure by checking with your lab instructor.

    COACHES AND TUTORS: Coaches are present at tables by the elevators on the 5th level of RLM, at various times between 9 AM and 5 PM weekdays. Coaches are there to give you hints on homework problems, and mini-lectures on key concepts in physics. You can obtain a physics graduate student tutor by contacting the undergraduate secretary, whose office is around the corner from the coaching tables on the 5th level. If you are experiencing any difficulties in doing the homework you probably need a tutor, and you would need to work with him or her beginning as early as possible in the semester. Note that free tutoring is available here. And free study group tutoring is available here. 

    CLASS SLIDES: Motion, Kinematics, Free Fall, Vectors 1, Vectors 2, Unit Vectors, Projectiles, Projectile Relativity, Estimating Acceleration, Centripetal Acceleration, Radial and Tangential, Relative velocity, All Three Laws, The Dark! Friction, Roller Coaster, Conical Pendulum, Work, Energy's Fathers, Kinetic Energy, PE and E, Conservative forces, Drawing the PE, CE and Mass, Deuteron, Then and Now, Satellites, Orbits, Planet Men, Dark Matters!  Gravitational Potential Energy, Center of Mass, Geometrical Center, Stability, Equilibrium, Total Momentum, CM and Orbits, Impulse! Elastic and Inelastic Collisions, Where is it? Angular Velocity, Rotationa Inertia, Rotational KE, Torque, Rolling, Rotational Inertia Race, Angular Momentum, Torque and Angular Momentum, Precession, Stable and Unstable Rotations, Statics, Atomic forces, Young's, shear and bulk moduli, SHO, Waves, Reflection, Superposition, Standing waves on rope, Group velocity, Wave Applets, Fathers of the Wave, Sound, Spherical waves, Standing waves in pipes, Doppler effect, Sound level, Diffraction, Chladni Plates, Pressure, Pascal Principle, Buoyancy, Bernoulli Principle, Fathers of fluid physics, Thermal Physics! Mass Origin 1, Mass Origin 2, Heat! Engines

    When physics lecture demonstrations go wild.

    How to open a corked bottle of wine with just your shoe and a wall.

    Single-concept video tutorials on basic physics.


    Tutorial on circular motion.
    Fundamental Forces of Nature.
    Elliptical Orbits and Kepler's Rules
    Rotational Inertia (table only).
    Simple Harmonic Oscillator (graphic only)
    Doppler effect and shock waves
    A nice, clear summary of the facts about global warming.

    In Fall 2016, watch for the Pizza Seminar!

    Coker's Homepage

    Most recent update November, 2016!


    James Joule

    James Clerk Maxwell

    Lord Kelvin

    There will be times when your situation seems desperate and completely hopeless. But there is always hope, unless you suddenly hear Fatso Schmidt, the Keyboard Cat, playing you off!