Academic Integrity Assessment Attendance Course Rules
Exercises (Homework) Exercises (In-class) Exam: Final Exams: Midterms
Instructors Office Hours Prerequisites Syllabus
Teaching Assistants Text Mastering Phyiscs Portal List of Tutors
UVA COVID Information Emergency Procedures Instructor Resources

Course Objectives

This course provides an introduction to essential concepts in the physical world, with an emphasis on analytic thinking and problem solving. The lectures include demonstrations and examples intended to reinforce an understanding of physical concepts and problem-solving strategies. The first semester (2010) focuses on kinematics, Newton's laws of motion, work and energy, momentum, static and dynamic equilibrium, fluids, heat, and temperature. The second semester (2020) addresses electricity and magnetism, optics, and selected topics from solid state, atomic, and subatomic physics.

Should I take this course?

This course is most commonly taken by students who wish to fulfill requirements for application to medical or dental school, or similar postgraduate work. However, we welcome all students who wish to take the course, regardless of their majors.


The class is not Calculus based. However, a reasonable degree of comfort with algebra, geometry, and trigonomtry is essential. If you are proficient in elementary Calculus you may wish to enroll in Physics 1425/2415 rather than Physics 2010/2020, as Calculus enriches an understanding of physics, and indeed makes it easier to learn.


Concurrent registration with introductory physics labs PHYS 2030/2040 is not required. These lab courses are administered independently from the lecture courses. Should you have questions about the PHYS 2030/2040 please contact Maxim Bychkov (mab3ed).

Class Web Site
Refer to the class web page for up to date information. However, announcements made in class always supersede any information given on the class web page.

Location and Time

Section 1: TuTh, Physics 203, 9:30-10:45 AM
Section 2: TuTh, Physics 203, 11:00-12:15 PM
Section 3: Asynchronous online section

Course Instructors

Section 1
E. Craig Dukes
Room 121, High Energy Physics Lab
Room 302, Jesse Beams Lab
Telephone: 434-982-5364
E-mail: ecd3m

Section 2
P.Q. Hung
Room 311B Jesse Beams Lab
Telephone: 434-924-6819
E-mail: pqh

Section 3
Olivier Pfister
Room 305 Jesse Beams Lab
Telephone: 434-924-7956
E-mail: op6n

Teaching Assistant

The teaching assistant is to help you understand solving physics problems. For questions regarding Mastering Phyiscs or Learning Catalytics please contact the grader.

Christian Brandt
tbd Jesse Beams Laboratory
Telephone: tbd
E-mail: wmh8vp(at)


The grader manages day-to-day issues involving the Learning Catalytics and Mastering Phyiscs.

Phillip Cho
E-mail: yc5kd(at)

Office hours and Location

Office hours are available as a resource for questions about the text, lectures, and homework exercises. Do not be shy about attending them.

We will be holding office hours remotely using Zoom. To attend them you need to connect through the appropriate UVACollab course site first. Then on the left panel click on "Online Meetings". You will see the Zoom link.
Brandt (TA): Through the UVACollab link here
Dukes: Through your UVACollab webpage for 21F PHYS 2010-001
Hung: Through your UVACollab webpage for 21F PHYS 2010-002
Pfister: Through your UVACollab webpage for 21F PHYS 2010-003

Office hour times are given below.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
Brandt: 1:00-3:30 1:00-6:00 12:30-2:30
5:30-7:00 7:00-8:00
Dukes: 4:00-6:00
Hung: 4:00-6:00
Pfister: 2:00-4:00


office hours will be given online using Zoom.

Connecting to Zoom. You need first to log onto UVACollab. There are a series of links to the left. Click on "Online Meetings". Under "Upcoming Meetings" you will find associated with each office hour date and time a button "Join". Click on that button and then follow the instructions.


The class is not Calculus based. However, a reasonable degree of comfort with algebra, geometry, and trigonomtry is essential. If you are proficient in elementary Calculus you may wish to enroll in Physics 1425/2415 rather than Physics 2010/2020, as Calculus enriches an understanding of physics, and indeed makes it easier to learn.


There are several options regarding the text, which can be a hard copy or electronic, and bundled, or not, with access to Mastering Phyiscs (homework app) and Learning Catalytics (in-class exercises app). So read this carefully.

We will be using Mastering Phyiscs for Walker Physics, 5th Ed.

Note that there is another Walker text with the same name, but a higher numbered edition. Do not buy that text!

You have several options, which are listed below.

  1. Inclusive Access

    This is the simplest and easiest, and most likley the least expensive option ($69.99 for e-text, Mastering Phyiscs and Learning Catalytics). It is an electronic copy of the textbook, and includes Mastering Phyiscs (which is what is used for homework problems) and Learning Catalytics (which is what is used for in-class problems). If you chose this option then before you log onto Mastering Phyiscs, first go to your section's UVACollab web site to register for Inclusive Access. The link is called UVA Bookstore Inclusive Access. It can be seen here. Students who select this option go through UVACollab to get an access code that they will use to register for Mastering Phyiscs and Learning Catalytics. The two advantages of this option, are (1) the cost is less than a hard copy of the textbook and (2) the cost added as part of the tuition/billing.

    For more on Inclusive Access click here for a PowerPoint presentation or here for a short video. Note: the video is for Section 1, for the other two sections you need to use the course IDs for those two sections.

    If you do not wish this option then you must opt out by Sept. 7 or you will automatically be billed even if you have purchased the text and Mastering Physics elsewhere.

    If you think you may drop the class, then this is a good option. You are automatically opted out when dropping the class.

  2. Hard copy of the text

    You may wish a hard copy of the text for future reference. If you expect to only take this course, and not the second semester than you only need Vol. 1 (ISBN: 0-13-227358-6). If you will be taking the second semester as well, you may wish to purchase the combined volume (ISBN: 0-13-149508-9). The UVA Bookstore has a few copies of the text.

  3. Used Text

    Make sure you get Walker, Physics, 5th Ed.
    Vol.1 only ISBN: 0-13-227358-6
    Vol. 1+2 ISBN: 0-13-149508-9
    Be careful: there are a lot of other similar textbooks written by Walker.

    • If you decide to rent a textbook or buy a used copy, you will also need to purchase the Modified Mastering Physics homework access card separately. The separate code is available for purchase in the UVA bookstore. However, please note that the combined cost of the rented/used book and the access code may be more expensive than buying the new book/access code package in the bookstore because of the special price negotiated with the publisher Pearson.

    • I strongly suggest that you do not purchase your access codes from any site other than the UVA store or Pearson. Many of the codes sold on Amazon Marketplace and like sites are defective or already activated and will not work. You will then need to purchase a second code, causing greater expense and a delayed start to the semester.

Exercises (Homework) Mastering Physics

Physics, like any other mental or physical endeavor, cannot be learned without practice, which is the purpose of the exercises that will be assigned weekly. Mastering Phyiscs is a Web-based learning and tutorial interface developed by physics teachers. It has an excellent record for improving student problem. Typically, MP exercises will be due on Tuesday nights at 11:59 pm. Late submissions will be accepted with an automatic score reduction of 10% per hour on that assignment. Get your work in early: a down internet connection will not be accepted as an excuse for a problem set to be forgiven.

How to Register

Instructions on how to register can be found here. A link to Mastering Phyiscs is here.

For more on how to register for Inclusive Access and Mastering Physics click here for a PowerPoint presentation or here for a short video. Note: the video is for Section 1, for the other two sections you need to use the course IDs for those two sections given below.

You will need to register:

  • Course IDs:
    1. Section 1: dukes26519
    2. Section 2: pham17768
    3. Section 3: pfister04967
  • Access code: This you get with Inclusive Access; otherwise you need to buy at the bookstore along with one of the other textbook options, or directly from Mastering Physics when you first register.
  • An email account: You should use your UVa email account if at all possible, although this is not manditory.
  • UVa computing ID. You will be asked for this. Make sure you use your UVa computing id, e.g., eve8z, not a Gmail account, not the back end

If you need a refund, click here.

For non-multiple choice problems you will get 6 attempts and are deducted 3%/attempt. Multiple choice and true/false quetions: the deduction per incorrect answer is an equal % based on the number of answer options minus one. HW done after the Tuesday midnight deadline have their scores reduced by 10% for each hour late. All HW problems have a maximum score of 10 points.

Note that your registration of Mastering Phyiscs is good for 18 weeks.

Exercises (In-Class) Learning Catalytics

Problems will be given during class, where your response will be recorded using Learning Catalytics. In order to do so you will need to bring to each class either a laptop, tablet, or smart phone in which to record your responses.

You will need an account with Learning Catalytics. Instructions on how to get an account and how to start a session are found here. Note:

  • Do not go to the Learning Catalytics website and create a separate Learning Catalytics account.
  • Join Learning Catalytics sessions from your Mastering Physics home page.

If you need help with Learning Catalytics contact support here.

For each problem you will receive 70% for any answer, and another 30% for getting it right. In order to account for illness, forgotten or malfunctioning laptops, tablets, or smart phones, and other unavoidable absences, you are allowed 5 pre-excused absences in which a zero for your in-class scores are forgiven.

Learning Catalytics in-class scores are available on Mastering Physics. It is your responsibility to make sure that yours are being recorded properly. Should you have any problems with your Learning Catalytics, please contact the grader: do not contact either of the course instructors.

Midterm Exams

Three midterm examinations are scheduled during the semester (see the Syllabus).

Exams are multiple-choice, closed-book and problem-oriented.

If you miss an exam without a valid excuse, you will receive a score of zero. Valid excuses include university-sponsored travel, serious illness, personal crises, and other emergencies. Except in the case of emergencies, you must contact your instructor prior to the exam to approve your absence. Supporting documentation from your doctor or dean may be required. If approved, you will be exempted from the exam, with the other exams scores reweighted accordingly.

Formulas and constants will be provided for the midterm and final exams. You may not bring your own.

Final Exam

The final exam will be closed-book and comprehensive of the course. Formulas will be given. See the syllabus for the date. You must take the final exam scheduled for your section unless you have explicit permission from the course instructor.


The relative weights of the components to your final grade are given as follows:
In-Class exercises:
Homework Exercises:
Final exam:

The three midterms are each normalized to have identical means of 85/100 in order to not favor or penalize students with excused absences. The final exams from the different sections, which are all different, are also normalized to have identical means of 85/100. This has always resulted in test scores being curved up.


Incompletes are not given for the course; if for whatever reason you cannot keep up with the course requirements, then you are expected to withdraw from the course.

Academic Integrity

You are encouraged to work with your classmates on the online homework assignments. Peer-to-peer teaching can be one of the most effective forms of instruction. However, submission of solutions by groups or direct copying of solutions from the internet or another student is not acceptable (and a poor strategy). Talk to your friends about how to do a problem, but make sure you actually do it yourself!

Be aware that Mastering Phyiscs has online tools to detect cheating. If evidence suggests an assignment was copied, it will be assigned a score of zero. Repeated offenses may be reported to the Honor Committee.

For midterm and final exams, you must work by yourself. Collusion with other students or use of non-allowed resources is a clear violation of the honor code. If you cheat, you will be assigned a score of zero on the exam and reported to the Honor Committee.

Course Rules

Please read these course rules. By registering for this course you are agreeing to abide by these rules.


Instructor Resources