Physics 157 (section 101):

Introductory Physics for Engineers I

Professor: Mark Van Raamsdonk        office: Hennings 420        e-mail: mav (at) 
Lectures: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:00am - 10:00am in Hebb 100
Office Hours:
available after each class
                       also: Mondays 3:00pm - 5:00pm in Hennings 420
                                Fridays 3:30pm - 4:30pm
in Hennings 420
Group Homework Sessions: Mondays 5-7pm in Hennings 200, Tuesdays 5-7pm in Hennings 202

Welcome to Physics 157!


You can find an outline and most of the useful information about the course, grading scheme, exams, etc... here.

To find out what we expect you to know, see the learning goals for the course.

In this course, you can ask questions outside of class time using PiazzaSign up here.

The reading quizzes and online homeworks will be available through Canvas.  You should go here to register your i-clicker.

All the lecture slides, readings, and homework sets will appear below:

Date Topics Slides, etc... Reading/Homework

Sept 4th

Introductionlecture 1 notes
Read chapter 17.1
Do the reading quiz on Canvas
by 9am Friday
(not for credit this time)

NOTE: if you haven't been able to get the textbook yet, Chapter 17 is available as a PDFon Canvas or here:

Chapter 17
Sept 6th
What is thermodynamics? Energy conservation. Effects of heating/cooling on macroscopic properties of objects. IR radiation as a way to "see" microscopic energy. Equilibrium, temperature, and heat. Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics.  
lecture 2 notesRead chapters 17.2,17.3,17.4 (up to Thermal Expansion of Water)

Do the reading quiz 2 on Canvas
by 9am Monday

Before your tutorial: read these
notes on Young's modulus
Sept 9thThermometers and temperature scales. The Celcius scale. Definition of Pressure. Gas thermometers and the ideal gas law. The Kelvin scale. lecture 3 notes
gas simulation

Sept 11th

Linear relations vs proportionality relations. Kelvin scale. Thermometers. Thermal expansion. lecture 4 slidesHomework 1 (due Sept 18, 5pm)
Sept 13th More thermal expansion, area and volume expansionlecture 5 slides Do the reading quiz 3 on Canvas
by 9am Monday (17.4,17.5)
Young's modulus Tutorial       solutions

Sept 16th
 more on volume expansion, Young's modulus, stress, strainlecture 6 slidesfor Wednesday:

hand in homework 1 in the boxes near Life building room 2408
Sept 18th
Thermal stress. Problems with thermal expansion and stress/strain in multipart systems


Newton's Laws for static situtations
Homework 2 (due Sept 25, 5pm)

Sept 21st
Heat capacity, specific  heat.

slides Do the reading quiz 4 on Canvas
by 9am Monday (17.6,17.7)
thermal expansion tutorial       solutions
Sept 23th
Phase diagrams, phase changes,  latent heat. Calorimetry.


Sept 25th

Heat conduction, thermal conductivity.slides
Homework 3:
due Wednesday, October 2nd
Sept 27th
More conductivity

slides Do the reading assignment/quiz 5 on Canvas by 9am Monday
for Monday: fill out the survey
Heat capacity and phase change tutorial       solutions
Sept 30th
Insulation and R values. Convection and radiation. Electromagnetic waves, spectrum graphs.


Oct 2nd

Temperature dependence of spectrum and power emitted for thermal radiation.
Emissivity, equilibrium temperature of radiating objects.
slidesNo homework for next week, just complete and hand in tutorial by Monday at 5pm

Oct 4th

The solar constant, albedo, temperature of the Earth, greenhouse effect.slides Do the reading assignment/quiz 6 on Canvas by 9am Monday
Conductivity/radiation tutorial       solutions

Oct 7th

Molecular picture of forces from a gas. Ideal gas law.slides
Oct 9th 
First law of thermodynamics. Work

Homework 4:
due Wednesday, October 16th

Oct 11th
Work for gases, PV diagrams, Work as area on a PV diagram.
Internal energy.


bonus video on area under a curve
for Wednesday: do reading assignment/quiz 7
Midterm 1      Midterm 1 solutions
Oct 16th
Internal energy.
Free expansion of gas. Calculating heat using the first law. 
Homework 5:
due Wednesday, October 23rd
bonus problem
Oct 18th
Constant volume, constant pressure, constant temperature, and adiabatic processes.


Do the reading assignment/quiz 8 on Canvas by 9am Monday
Gas processes tutorial       solutions

Oct 21st

Review of isochoric, isobaric, isothermal, and adiabatic processes. Adiabatic compression example. slidesFor Wednesday:
please read 20.2,20.3
Oct 23rd
The internal combustion engine. Example of calculating efficiency.
slidesFor Friday:
read 20.4 

Homework 6:
due Wednesday, October 30th

Oct 25th

The power of an engine. Refrigerators.slidesFor Monday:
Do the reading quiz on Canvas.
Heat engines and more gas processes tutorial       solutions

Oct 28th

Refrigerators and air conditioners. Why does heat flow from hot to cold. Frogs and entropy.slides

frog simulation

Oct 30st
Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Relation between entropy, heat, and temperature.

Bonus video
For Friday:

Do reading quiz on Carnot Cycles and TS diagrams.
Nov 1st
Entropy examples, TS diagrams, calculating efficiency from TS diagrams. Carnot cycle and maximum possible efficiency.

slidesFor Monday: do reading assignment on oscillations.
Hand in your tutorial by 5pm Monday.
Midterm review tutorial       solutions
Nov 4th
Mechanical equilibrium, restoring forces, oscillations, simple harmonic motion

Nov 6th
Simple harmonic motion, amplitude, period, angular frequency, velocity, acceleration, phase.

slidesHomework 7:
due Wednesday, November 13th

Nov 8th
Displacement/velocity/acceleration in simple harmonic motion

slidesFor Wednesday: do the reading quiz on Canvas
Oscillations tutorial       solutions
Nov 13thSimple harmonic motion from small oscillations with non-linear forces. slides
Homework 8:
due Wednesday, November 20th

Nov 15th
Energy in simple harmonic motion, damped oscillations.

slidesFor Monday: do reading assignment on waves.
Nov 18th
Drag forces, damped oscillations, driven periodic motion, resonance.


Scratch simulation

Nov 20th

Coupled oscillators, transverse and longitudinal waves, waves on stretched strings, in solids, and in fluids

slidesHomework 9:
due Wednesday, November 27th
Nov 22nd
Mathematical description of traveling sinusoidal waves. Wavelength, wave number. Relation between wave velocity, period, and wavelength.

wave simulation
For Monday: do reading assignment on superposition and interference
Nov 25th
Principle of Superposition, standing waves,
wave velocity


Nov 27th
Constructive and destructive interference slides
Nov 30th

Gravitational waves