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PHY100 - The Magic of Physics
Spring 2013

This course provides a survey of Physics, including both Classical and Modern Physics. It is designed for non-scientists, and assumes no background in either science or mathematics. The approach to the course is broad rather than deep. We will concentrate on the concepts underlying such fascinating topics as planetary motion, chaos, the nature of light, time travel, black holes, matter waves, Schrodinger's cat, quarks, and climate change. We will uncover the wonders of the classical and the quantum worlds courtesy of Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, Heisenberg and many others.

Announcements Homework Syllabus Suggested Problems Professor Quick Links


Welcome to PHY100! Our first lecture is on Tuesday, January 8 and the last is on Thursday, April 4.



The table below lists the syllabus and textbook references for PHY100. This will very likely be changed and updated as the course proceeds.

The textbook references for each lecture will be posted in advance, and it is expected that you will have read them before coming to class.

After each lecture, the corresponding blue button in the "More" column will be activated, taking you to a webpage with some of the materials that were presented in class. Slides shown in class will be posted, but they will not include all material presented in class - additional material will be presented on the blackboard and in demonstrations. If you miss a lecture, you should make sure you get any additional material from a classmate. If the slides contain copyright material, they will be password-protected. I will give the password out in class.

The textbook is Physics: Concepts and Connections, Fifth Edition by Art Hobson, Pearson Education (2010). It is available from the University of Toronto Bookstore. Corresponding sections from the Fourth Edition are also given below, but the Fifth Edition is our primary reference.

Textbook chapters and sections that are listed below are examinable; those that are not listed or are explicitly omitted below are not examinable unless otherwise announced. All material covered in the lectures, whether in the textbook or not, is examinable.


Major Topics

Textbook Reference


Lecture 1
Tues Jan 8

  • Course overview and information
  • An invitation to science
  • Pseudoscience
  • Aristotelian physics

Sections 1.1, 1.6, 1.8, 3.1, 3.2

Fourth Edition: same sections but 1.8 is new to Fifth Edition

Lecture 2
Thurs Jan 10

  • Galileo's Law of Falling
  • Galileo's thought experiment: the inclined plane
  • The Law of Inertia
  • Describing motion: speed, velocity, acceleration

Sections 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5

Fourth Edition: same sections

Lecture 3
Tues Jan 15

  • Why do things move?
  • Force and acceleration
  • Newton's Law of Motion (his Second Law)

Sections 4.1, 4.2, 4.3

Fourth Edition: same sections

Lecture 4
Thurs Jan 17

  • Weight - the force of gravity
  • The Law of Force Pairs (Newton's Third Law)
  • The idea of gravity - falling objects
  • Projectile motion

Sections 4.4, 4.5, 5.1

Fourth Edition: same sections

Lecture 5
Tues Jan 22

  • Newton's Law of Gravity
  • "Weightlessness" and free fall
  • The Newtonian worldview
  • Beyond Newton

Sections 5.2, 5.5, 5.6, and 2.6

Fourth Edition: same sections

Lecture 6
Thurs Jan 24

  • Introduction to chaos
  • The three-body gravitational problem
  • The pendulum as an attractor
  • Lorentz attractors
  • Fractals

Chaos Notes in html format
Chaos Notes in pdf format
Author: David M. Harrison, Dept. of Physics. Univ. of Toronto
(note: we are not covering the section on The Logistic Map)

Lecture 7
Tues Jan 29

  • Work and energy
  • Gravitational and kinetic energy
  • The Law of Conservation of Energy
  • Transformations of energy

Sections 6.1 - 6.6

Fourth Edition: same sections

Lecture 8
Thurs Jan 31

  • Electricity
  • Atoms and electrons
  • Force fields
  • Magnetism and electromagnetism

Sections 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.5, 8.6

Fourth Edition: Sections 8.4 - 8.8
(note: material in Chapters 8 and 9 has been reorganized between the two editions and there is some new material in the Fifth Edition)

Lecture 9
Tues Feb 5

  • Electromagnetism
  • Waves
  • Interference of waves

Sections 8.6, 9.1, 9.2

Fourth Edition: Sections 8.1, 8.2, 8.3
(note: material in Chapters 8 and 9 has been reorganized between the two editions and there is some new material in the Fifth Edition)

Lecture 10
Thurs Feb 7

  • Light: particle or wave?
  • The double slit experiment
  • Electromagnetic wave theory of light
  • Electromagnetic spectrum
  • Solar radiation
  • Blackbodies

Sections 9.3 - 9.7

Fourth Edition: Sections 9.1 - 9.4

Lecture 11
Tues Feb 12

  • What is ozone?
  • What is happening to ozone?
  • What causes ozone depletion?
  • What will happen to ozone in the future?

Section 9.8

Fourth Edition: Sections 9.5

Lecture 12
Thurs Feb 14

  • The greenhouse effect
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • The observations: greenhouse gases
  • The observations: temperature
  • Radiative forcing
  • Human influence on climate
  • Climate model predictions

Section 9.9

Fourth Edition: Sections 9.6

Lecture 13
Tues Feb 26

  • Einstein
  • Galilean relativity
  • The Principle of Relativity
  • The speed of light
  • The Special Theory of Relativity

Sections 10.1 - 10.4

Fourth Edition: same sections

Lecture 14
Thurs Feb 28

  • More on the speed of light
  • The relativity of time - time dilation
  • Time travel

Sections 10.4 - 10.5

Fourth Edition: same sections

Lecture 15
Tues Mar 5

  • Time travel
  • The relativity of space - length contraction
  • The relativity of mass

Sections 10.6 - 10.7

Fourth Edition: same sections

Lecture 16
Thurs Mar 7

  • Space-time diagrams and worldlines
  • E = mc2

Sections 10.8

Fourth Edition: same sections

Lecture 17
Tues Mar 12

  • General Relativity
  • The big bang

Sections 11.1 - 11.2

Fourth Edition: same sections

Lecture 18
Thurs Mar 14

  • The big bang
  • The shape of the universe
  • Dark matter and dark energy
  • Cosmic inflation

Sections 11.2 - 11.7

Fourth Edition: same sections

Lecture 19
Tues Mar 19

  • Quantum theory
  • The quantization of light
  • The quantum theory of radiation
  • Matter waves, matter fields
  • The quantum theory of matter

Chapter 12

Fourth Edition: Chapter 13

Lecture 20
Thurs Mar 21

  • The quantum theory of matter
  • Quantum nonlocality and uncertainty
  • The Uncertainty Principle

Sections 12.5 - 12.6, 13.1

Fourth Edition: Sections 14.1 - 14.2

Lecture 21
Tues Mar 26

  • The effect of observation
  • Quantum nonlocality
  • Quantum entanglement
  • Toward a post-Newtonian worldview
  • Spectroscopy
  • Observing atomic spectra

Sections 13.2 - 13.6

Fourth Edition: Sections 14.3 - 14.7

Lecture 22
Thurs Mar 28

  • Observing atomic spectra
  • Models of the atom
  • The quantum atom
  • Energy transitions in atoms
  • The strong nuclear force
  • Nuclear structure

Sections 13.6 - 13.7, 14.1 - 14.2

Fourth Edition: Sections 15.1 - 15.4

Lecture 23
Tues Apr 2

  • Radioactive decay
  • Half-life
  • Schroedinger's Cat
  • Nuclear fusion and fission
  • The nuclear energy curve
Chapter 17 - This material will not be on the final exam. The slides on the topics below are provided for your interest only:
  • The idea of a quantized field
  • Quantum electrodynamics and antimatter
  • Electroweak unification and neutrinos
  • Grand unification and quarks
  • Quantum gravity and strings

Sections 14.3 - 14.4, 15.1 - 15.4
Chapter 17

Fourth Edition: Sections 16.1 - 16.4, Chapter 17

Lecture 24
Thurs Apr 4

  • Review for the Final Exam

No new readings


The following End-of-Chapter Conceptual Exercises are suggested to give you practice applying the concepts developed in the lectures and in the textbook. Answers to all of these odd-numbered questions can be found in the Appendix at the back of the textbook.

Suggested Problems from the Fifth Edition

Suggested Problems from the Fourth Edition


Prof. Strong Prof. Kimberly Strong

Office: MP710A (South-West corner of the 7th floor of the Burton Tower, 60 St. George Street)

Telephone: (416) 946-3217

Email: strong(AT)
I will usually reply promptly to email inquiries, and generally within 24 hours. If you have detailed questions about physics concepts or problems, these are better addressed by coming to see me during office hours.

Office Hours: 3:00 - 4:00 PM Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning on Tuesday, January 15.
You can also contact me to arrange an appointment or just drop by my office - if I have time, I will be pleased to answer your questions.

Home Page:


You may be interested in checking out some of the following links. These are provided for your interest only.


General Resources:

Physics Resources:

Final Exams from Previous Years:

Physics-Related Societies and Magazines:

Download the latest Acrobat Reader and the latest Flash player:

Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Physics (EAPP) Group
Department of Physics
University of Toronto
University of Toronto Learning Portal (Note: PHY100S has been activated on the Portal/Blackboard, but this external homepage will be used to provide most of the course content.)

This web site is maintained by Kimberly Strong.
Last updated April 4, 2013.