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General Science 101. Physics, Chemistry, and the Human Experience HHS 2210. Syllabus. Professor: Dr. Jason T. Haraldsen Office: HHS 2104 Office Phone: 540-568-4173 Office Hours: Tuesdays/Thursdays 9 : 3 0am – 10: 3 0pm and Tuesdays 3 :30pm – 4: 30pm

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General science 101

General Science 101

Physics, Chemistry, and the Human Experience

HHS 2210


Professor: Dr. Jason T. Haraldsen

Office:HHS 2104

Office Phone:540-568-4173

Office Hours:Tuesdays/Thursdays 9:30am – 10:30pm and Tuesdays 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Wednesdays 1:00pm-2:00pm or by appointment


Text: Physics and Technology for Future President, Richard Muller, ISBN 0691135045

I will also be at the Science and Math Learning Center

What are the e xams like
What are the exams Like?

  • Making up 70% of your overall grade, exams are critical. You have four exams that are weighed equally.

  • They’re mainly multiple choice (a, b, c, d), but will also have a few longer problems, and possibly some short answer.

  • The final exam will be cumulative with an emphasis on the last series of chapters.

  • This isn’t the SAT’s - I don’t deduct points for wrong answers, so make sure you put something down for everything.

  • Make sure you bring a pencil or pen, as well as a calculator!


Attendanceis not mandatory except for exams. While attendance is otherwise not required, it is highly recommended as there is a strong correlation between doing well on the exams and regularly attending class.

Keep in mind that all information discussed in lecture is fair game for the exams. All material in the textbook is fair game for the exams regardless of whether or not it is discussed in lecture.

James Madison University has many computer labs, learn them and use them. Remember Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong, will!” Your computer is fallible and can easily turn on you. Therefore, know where the computer labs are located, because your computer is not reliable and you may need them sometime. Also, backup your files on a flash drive, CD, 3.5” Floppy, tape drive, or stone tablet (not recommended!).

Arrive on time! If you must be late, come in quietly! Don’t chat/text or disturb the class in any ways!


Schedule of Classes and Tentative Topics

This is a general guide. Topics may shift due to time and availability.

Dates Content and Events

14-Jan Introduction, Scientific Method, Ch. 1

16-Jan Ch. 1: Energy and Power and the Physics of Explosions

21-Jan Ch. 2: Atoms and Heat

23-Jan Ch. 3: Gravity, Force, and Space

28-Jan Ch. 3: Gravity, Force, and Space

30-Jan Review Chapters 1, 2, and 3 – Research Hypothesis Due

4-Feb Exam #1

6-Feb Ch. 4: Nuclei and Radioactivity

11-Feb Assessment Day (No Class)

13-Feb Ch. 5: Chain Reactions, Nuclear Reactors, and Atomic Bombs

18-Feb Ch. 5: Chain Reactions, Nuclear Reactors, and Atomic Bombs

20-Feb Ch. 6: Electricity and Magnetism

25-Feb Ch. 6: Electricity and Magnetism

27-Feb Review Chapters 4, 5, and 6

4-Mar Exam #2

6-Mar Planetarium (Miller Hall – Dr. Virani)

11-Mar Spring Break

13-Mar Spring Break

18-Mar Ch. 7: Waves including UFOs, Earthquakes, and Music

20-Mar Ch. 8: Light – Preliminary Research Data Due

25-Mar Ch. 9: Invisible Light

27-Mar Review Chapters 7, 8, 9

1-Apr Exam #3

3-Apr Ch. 10: Climate Change

8-Apr Ch. 11: Quantum Physics

10-Apr Ch. 11: Quantum Physics

15-Apr Ch. 12: Relativity

17-Apr Ch. 12: Relativity – Research Projects Due

22-Apr Ch. 12: Relativity

24-Apr Ch. 13: The Universe

29-Apr Ch. 13: The Universe

1-May Review Chapters 10, 11, 12, and 13

8-May Final Exam - Cumulative with an emphasis on Ch. 10, 11, 12, and 13 (8:00 am)

Scientific method
Scientific Method

Ask a question – Observe the world and question those observations.

Do some background research – Investigate what could occur.

Construct a hypothesis – Determine a testable explanation for the question you pose.

Test your hypothesis – Construct an experiment that will test your hypothesis.

Analyze your data – Examine your results.

Report your Results – Write a report detailing the what, why, and how your experiment worked. Answer what you conclusions are and how they relate to your hypothesis. It is okay to be wrong!

General science 101


x is multiplied by the factor m.

The terms mx and b are added together.


x is multiplied by the factor 1/a or x is divided by the factor a. The terms x/a and c are added together.

General science 101


Example: You put $10,000 in a CD for one year. The APY is 3.05%. How much interest does the bank pay you at the end of the year?

The bank pays you $305 in interest.

The general rule is to multiply by

where the (+) is used if the quantity is increasing and (–) is used if the quantity is decreasing.

General science 101


A is proportional to B. The value of A is directly dependent on the value of B.

A is proportional to 1/B. The value of A is inversely dependent on the value of B.

Example: The area of a circle is

The area is proportional to the radius squared.

The proportionality constant is .

Scientific notation significant figures
Scientific Notation & Significant Figures

This is a shorthand way of writing very large and/or very small numbers.

Example: The radius of the sun is 700,000 km.

Write as 7.0105 km.

When properly written this number will be between 1.0 and 10.0

Example: The radius of a hydrogen atom is 0.0000000000529 m. This is more easily written as 5.2910-11 m.

Significant figures
Significant Figures

  • My height is 6’ 5.37694365833893” (right, I know my height to the 14th decimal place)

  • The methodology of sig figs lets you report values that are correct to the accuracy that you know

  • One set of rules applies to addition and subtraction

  • Another set of rules applies to multiplication and division

Significant figures1
Significant Figures

  • Nonzero digits are always significant.

  • Final or ending zeros written to the right of the decimal point are significant.

  • Zeros written to the right of the decimal point for the purpose of spacing the decimal point are not significant.

  • Zero written to the left of the decimal may be significant, but the could be insignificant space holders.

  • Zeros written between significant figures are significant.

Significant figures2
Significant Figures

  • 44.56005 s + 0.0698 s + 1130.2 s

    = 1147.82985 (Not correct!)

    = 1147.8 (Round to the proper decimal)

  • 45.26 m/s x 2.41 s

    = 109.0766 m (Not correct!)

    = 109 m (The smallest number of sig figs!)

  • 45.26 m/s x (2.41 s +1.1 s)

    = 158.863 m (Not correct!)

    = 160 m (Correct…sort of!) -> 1.6 x 102 m (correct!)

Scientific notation
Scientific Notation

  • We will have some pretty crazy-looking numbers at certain times in this course (e.g., the Earth’s mass is 5.98 x 1024 kg)

  • Scientific notation has three advantages:

  • 598000000000000000000000 can be written much more conveniently (see above)

  • 0.0000000000667 can be written much more conveniently (as 6.67 x 10-11)

  • The number of significant figures can be determined more easily

Beware the metric prefixes
Beware the Metric Prefixes:

yotta (Y): x 1024

zetta (Z): x 1021

exa (E): x 1018

peta (P): x 1015

tera (T): x 1012

giga (G): x 109

mega (M): x 106

kilo (k): x 103

centi (c): x 10-2

milli (m): x 10-3

micro (m): x 10-6

nano (n): x 10-9

pico (p): x 10-12

femto (f): x 10-15

atto (a): x 10-18

zepto (z): x 10-21

yocto (y): x 10-24

General science 101

Dimensions are basic types of quantities that can be measured or computed. Examples are length, time, mass, electric current, and temperature.

A unit is a standard amount of a dimensional quantity. There is a need for a system of units. SI units will be used throughout this class.

The quantities in this column are based on an agreed upon standard.

General science 101

A derived unit is composed of combinations of base units.

Example: The SI unit of energy is the joule.

1 joule = 1 kg m2/sec2

Derived unit

Base units

Units can be freely converted from one to another. Examples:

12 inches = 1 foot

1 inch = 2.54 cm


Approximations are sometimes need in everyday life.

It depends on how accurate you need to know something.

Bowling Ball vs Beach Ball

Problem solving techniques
Problem Solving Techniques

  • Summary of the list on page 13:

  • Read the problem thoroughly.

  • Draw a picture.

  • Label the picture with the given information.

  • What is unknown?

  • What physical principles apply?

  • Are their multiple steps needed?

  • Work symbolically! It is easier to catch mistakes.

  • Calculate the end result. Don’t forget units!

  • Check your answer for reasonableness.

Example problems
Example Problems

An asteroid is moving at approximately 25 km/s. Express in m/s and mile/hr.

How many m in km?

1000 m = 1 km

Therefore, 25 km/s *(1000m/1km) =

25000 m/s or 2.5 x 104 m/s

How many miles in km?

0.621371 miles = 1 km

How many seconds in hour?

3600 s = 1 hr


25 km/s * (0.62371 miles/ 1 km) * (3600 s/1hr) = 56133 mph = 5.6 x 104 mph