Brian M. Davies, Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Physics at Western Illinois University

Physics 101 (Spring 2017) - Introduction to Astronomy   Syllabus   Class Notes   Sky and weather links   Writing assignment and movies

We will continue studying the Solar System during the week before and the week after Spring Break, talking about Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, their moons and rings, then Pluto and dwarf planets, asteroids, comets, and meteorites. Then we do a chapter on the Sun, and then we have exam 3 on Thursday, April 6. The second movie will be shown a week after that, with the paper due one week later.

The Openstax Astronomy book is a free online resource for this class. This is the recommeded substitute for your textbook if you didn't buy one. See  Click on "download a PDF" and you will get a 173 MB pdf file. You can also get a smaller version with lower resolution images, or you can read it online. The entire book is 1240 pages long, many more than our book, but there is less on each page, so they are similar in length.

The recommended textbook for Spring 2017 is "Discovering the Essential Universe” by Neil F. Comins, 6th edition, 2015. This should be available for purchase at the Union Bookstore or online. I will not use any supplements to the book, so a used copy without supplements may be the least expensive option. I will also put up notes and links to the material in the first few chapters, so you may wait a week or so before deciding to buy this. Older editions of this are on reserve in the Physical Science Library (across the hall from the classroom). These older editions are very similar to the current edition, and won't contain some discoveries of the past few years, but by paying attention in class, you will hear about these recent discoveries (mostly related to the Solar System and to exoplanets). As mentioned above, there is an alternative free textbook which has become available this semester and could be used instead of the Comins book.

Physics 125 (Spring 2017) - General Physics II   Syllabus   Homework assignments   Wave simulations and other resources   Additional Resources  

We have an exam on Wed., March 22, over Ch. 18, 19, 20, and section 1 of Ch. 21. You might review some of Ch. 17, also. Make up your own sheet of notes. There is no lab this week.

The Physics Tutoring Center is located in Currens 515 (southeast corner on the top floor). It will be open from noon until 7 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The tutors are upper-level physics majors and graduate students who can help you with your homework and with general physics questions.

Courses taught previously at WIU (last time taught at WIU) [number of times taught at WIU]:
Physics 101 (Fall 2016) [16]  -  Introduction to Astronomy  
Syllabus   Class Notes   Sky and weather links   Writing assignment and movies 
Physics 124 (Fall 2016)     [14]  -  General Physics I   Syllabus   Homework assignments   Wave simulations and other resources
Physics 125 (Spring 2016) [13]  -  General Physics II   Syllabus   Homework assignments   Additional Resources   Nuclear lectures (PowerPoint)
Physics 312 (Spring 2010)  [3]  -  Engineering Mechanics   Syllabus   Homework assignments
Physics 327 (Spring 2006)  [1]  -  Electronics   Syllabus   Homework assignments   Books on reserve   Errata for the textbook 
Physics 354 (Spring 2010)  [3]  -  Thermodynamics   Syllabus   Homework Assignments
Physics 427 (Fall 2016)       [7]  -  Advanced Electronics   Syllabus   Homework assignments   Books on reserve   Errata for Diefenderfer's book (no longer used in this course, but may be available on reserve) 
Physics 428 (Fall 2005)       [2]  -  Applied Optics  Syllabus   Homework Assignments   Animations and simulations   Errata for Hecht's 4th edition 
Physics 470 (Fall 2011)       [4]  -  Modern Experimental Physics   Syllabus   Books on reserve
Physics 482 (Spring 2016)  [3]  -  Science in Context (for science education majors) - uses Western Online
                                                      cross-listed as Bio/Chem/Phys 482   Syllabus (without schedule)   Schedule
Physics 577 (Spring 2006)  [1]  -  independent study - Advanced Optics - homework and activities

ISAAPT - the Illinois section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) - I served as the IL section Newsletter editor for a few years, and previously served as a member of the IL section Executive Council (our leadership group in Illinois) for six years. I organized the Spring 2007 meeting and the Spring 2013 meeting of the Illinois section, which were held here at the WIU Physics Dept. In the summer of 2007 I was invited to the American Center for Physics to participate in an AAPT Governance Retreat. In 2009 I received the Distinguished Service Citation from the ISAAPT (photo here).  My service as the President of the Illinois section for 2011-2012 is documented on the web site (officers of ISAAPT in 2012 with photos).

My prior professional work experience.
Major grants and contracts.
My publication list (this is on a non-WIU web site and is incomplete)

Miscellaneous stuff:

Talking points about the advanced lab.

Links to online resources and some physics journals of interest to physics students.

Since 2011, I have been very active in developing the Macomb Food Co-op (which has an online market at and has a store at 211 S. McArthur here in Macomb).

For the panel discussion (April 22, 2010) of the film Carbon Nation, I mentioned the material summarized in this file:
Clarifying the Coal Question, which was a presentation given to the Sustainability Brown Bag seminar series, on Feb. 17, 2009 (summary form only)