Physics 230 Electricity and Magnetism

Tu Th 0935-1050 TH 429
Dr. Susan Lea
TH 308

This course is the second semester of Introductory Physics for science majors, requiring the use of calculus.

Prerequisites: You must have passed Physics 220, Physics 222 and  Math 227 (2nd semester calculus), all with a grade of C or better. (Note: C- is not a grade of C or better.)
Corequisites: You must be taking Physics 232 (laboratory) concurrently. .  Physics/Astronomy majors should also take  Math 228 concurrently.  Math 228 is recommended for everyone.

Please provide proof of prerequisites and corequisites to Dr. Lea on or before February 10th. (Students who took both Phys 220 and Math 227 at SFSU in Fall 2003 or earlier need not provide any proof, as the university now allows faculty to access this information. Courses taken in winter session will not be shown, and so you will need to provide your grade report for those classes.) The proof may be in the form of a grade report or an unofficial transcript (for prerequisites).. Proof of enrollment in Math 228 is not the same as a proof of passing Math 221/227. 

Please take these prerequisites seriously. In order to succeed in this class you must be comfortable with the material in Physics 220, especially vector math, kinematics, Newton’s laws and the conservation laws, and with differential and integral calculus. We use a lot of integration in this course!


After successfully completing this course you should be able to:

Identify and discuss the important concepts from electricity and magnetism that affect any particular physical system.
Bring together ideas from prior physics courses and concepts of electromagnetic theory to solve a problem.
Formulate a plan for solving a problem involving these concepts.
Complete the mathematical calculations (including use of calculus) needed to solve the problem.
Discuss the methods used to solve the problem, and the significance of the result.
Create a visual picture of electromagnetic fields (field line diagrams, equipotential surfaces etc).
Describe the operation of certain technological devices that make use of electromagnetic fields.

TEXTS etc:

Physics: the nature of things. By Susan Lea and John Burke, Brooks/Cole publishing Co.
We will be covering material in Volume 2, but you will need to make constant reference to material in Volume 1, so you will need both volumes, or the combined volume.
Laboratory Manual ( for Physics 232) available from the student physics society at the first lab meeting.
CPS Course Response System.  Purchase your response unit from the book store, and register online at the CPS web site.  Instructions come with the CPS unit.  The class key for this class is m2293e46.  Please register by the first day of classes.
Optional: Student solutions manual to accompany the textbook. Contains complete solutions to some of the text problems.
The portable TA. Volume II. Andrew Elby. Prentice Hall.

Class procedures:

You should come to class prepared. Please be sure you have done the assigned reading, as listed on the class schedule prior to the class period. I shall be doing a minimal amount of lecturing. A quiz on the assigned reading may happen in any class, without further warning. Please bring your registered CPS response unit and a supply of loose-leaf notebook paper (not spiral bound!) to each class. During each class you will be asked to answer questions using your CPS unit, and we may work on a class project.  Your notes, your responses to assigned questions as recorded by the course response system,  and quiz scores, as appropriate,  will form the basis for your class participation score.

As per national guidelines, be prepared to spend at least 9 hours a week outside of class time on this class.


The assigned homework problems are listed on the class schedule.  Homework is due every TUESDAY.  Please follow the instructions . You should attempt every problem. Help sessions will be announced during the first week of classes. During these sessions you will be able to obtain help with the homework. Also please note my office hours. (Check often during the first two weeks of the semester for possible changes). If you cannot attend any of the posted office hours, then please make an appointment. You can also ask questions via e-mail. If you use e-mail, your questions must be well-focussed and specific.  You may NOT turn in your homework via e-mail. You are also encouraged to form study groups, but be sure that the work you turn in is your own. Homework is very important – you cannot learn anything without practice! Please take this requirement very seriously. Tutorials for some of the assigned problems are available on my web site.

A minimum score of 50% on the homework is required for a grade of C or better in the class.


There will be 2 mid-term examinations. All exams will be closed book. The final exam will be a comprehensive, closed book exam. It will be held at the assigned time as given in the class schedule---Tuesday May 25 at 8 am.


Grades will be assigned according to the following algorithm: An overall score of at least 50% is required for a grade of C or better. In addition, an average score of 50% or more on homework is required for a grade of C or better. A student whose scores improve throughout the semester will receive a higher grade than a student with the same numerical score overall whose scores are decreasing.

The laboratory class (Physics 232) must be completed with a passing grade in order for a grade to be assigned in Physics 230. In the event that the lab is not passed, the requirements for 230 will not have been completed, and a grade of INCOMPLETE will be assigned until the lab is passed.

Computer disk

You may download a zipped  copy of the computer disk that accompanies the text book .  If the programs don't run, go to this web site,fid,1191,00.asp
and download vbrun300.dll.
or try this link:

Students who would like the MAC version should bring me a blank disk,  labeled with your name.

Office hours
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