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

Physics 101 (Fall 2014) - Introduction to Astronomy   Syllabus   Class Notes   Sky and weather links   Writing assignment and movies

Comet "Siding Spring" will pass close to Mars on Sunday, Oct. 19. For an introduction to this event and its significance, see this YouTube video from NASA: and/or read this article: More information about the comet is at Comet hunters are excited about this event: The latest spacecraft to reach Mars arrived last month, MAVEN, has already given us new information; see and will be useful in studying the influence of Comet Siding Spring on Mars.

Meanwhile, a huge sunspot is developing on the Sun. See updates on We may see this more clearly on Thursday, Oct. 23, after 4:30 p.m., when we take telescopes up to the top floor of the Malpass library to look at a partial solar eclipse.

The textbook for the course is available in the Union Bookstore. You do not need any supplements such as CDs or access codes for my section of this course. A used copy might be cheaper and just as useful. The book is "Discovering the Essential Universe” by Neil F. Comins, 5th edition, 2012. Be sure to look at the syllabus for exam dates and other important data.

Physics 124 (Fall 2014) - General Physics I   Syllabus   Homework assignments   Additional Resources

The correct exam dates are Sept. 24, Oct. 22, Nov. 14, and Dec. 15 (final exam).

The Physics Tutoring Center is located in Currens 515 (southeast corner on the top floor). It will be open from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during the Fall semester. The tutors are upper-level physics majors and graduate students who can help you with your homework and with general physics questions.

Physics 427 (Fall 2014) - Advanced Electronics   Syllabus   Homework assignments   Books on reserve

This course is using the 2nd edition of Basic Electronics by Curtis Meyer, described on his website at

Courses taught previously at WIU (last time taught at WIU) [number of times taught at WIU]:
Physics 101 (Spring 2014)
 [12]  -  Introduction to Astronomy   Syllabus   Class Notes   Sky and weather links   Writing assignment and movies 
Physics 124 (Fall 2013)     [11]  -
 General Physics I   Syllabus   Homework assignments   Wave simulations and other resources
Physics 125 (Spring 2014) [11]  -
 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 2012)       [5]  -  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 2005)  [1]  -  Science in Context (for science education majors)
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 am serving as the IL section Newsletter editor, 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.

I currently serve as the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Macomb Food Co-op (which now has an online market at ).

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)