Physics 99: Senior Seminar in Physics
Gustavus Adolphus College
Fall 1997
Professor: Dr. Thomas Huber
Office: Olin 209, 933-7036

Course Philosophy

The GRE Physics Subject Test is a test of your problem solving ability in a timed multiple-choice format. The only way to improve your performance from the beginning of the semester to the end is practice, practice, practice! You will find it beneficial to have a set of memorized equations in your physics tool box. Groups of two students will develop subject equation sheets for distribution to the rest of the class. These sheets should have two columns: Equations and Context/Applicability column indicating when and/or when not to use the equations. In the class sessions, the students will lead discussions of problem solving techniques and solutions to sample problems. Problem solving techniques will also be discussed, including dimensional analysis, dependence analysis (what variables should the solution depend on) and elimination.

Course Policy and Evaluation

  1. Class Meetings: The class will meet two days per week (TR) for problem discussions. Students are expected to have read assigned materials and worked assigned problems before coming to class.
  2. Attendance: Regular attendance at all classes is expected. Students are responsible for informing themselves of all announcements and assignments made in the classroom. Students are expected to arrange in writing with the instructor in advance if they will be absent from class.
  3. Homework: Problems sets will be assigned from each section of the GRE. These problems will be discussed at the next class meeting. You must come prepared to discuss/present the solutions before the class. No homework will be graded; the rewards of the homework will be improved performance on the GRE exam.
  4. Exams: There will be two 90 minute exams which will be based on actual GRE questions. They will be graded and returned for student use. Results will be confidential.
  5. Evaluation: The final grade will be based on class participation/performance and on improvement shown on the second exam. Attendance is required. Any class missed without a valid reason and prior notification will result in a half-letter grade deduction. You must take both exams to complete the course.

Topics Covered