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
This week might be a good time to try doing the "homework" that I assigned. I
put a copy of the
handout here. The charts are
here. Or get a paper copy from me. You should go out an hour after sunset or
later, but before the Moon rises. You can look up the time that the Moon rises
here. The assignment is due March 2, but you should not wait, since you need
a clear night to do this.
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, I gave a lecture on formation of the Solar System (Ch. 4 in Comins). There is no corresponding chapter in the OpenStax book, although section 7.4 talks about this somewhat, so see my notes and/or powerpoint. On Thursday we discussed the Earth and Moon; see the appropriate material in the textbook. On Tues., Feb. 21, we watched a movie about the formation of the Earth, which you need to see in order to write one of the two required papers for the course. See the "Writing assignment and movies" link above.
There is a new, free resource for this class. The Openstax Astronomy book has
now been put online. 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 read it online. The entire book is 1240 pages long, much longer than our book, so I will give you some guidance about any readings, so they aren't too long.
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). 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
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)  - Introduction to Astronomy Syllabus Class Notes Sky and weather links Writing assignment and movies
Physics 124 (Fall 2016)  - General Physics I Syllabus Homework assignments Wave simulations and other resources
Physics 125 (Spring 2016)  - General Physics II Syllabus Homework assignments Additional Resources Nuclear lectures (PowerPoint)
Physics 312 (Spring 2010)  - Engineering Mechanics Syllabus Homework assignments
Physics 327 (Spring 2006)  - Electronics Syllabus Homework assignments Books on reserve Errata for the textbook
Physics 354 (Spring 2010)  - Thermodynamics Syllabus Homework Assignments
Physics 427 (Fall 2016)  - 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)  - Applied Optics Syllabus Homework Assignments Animations and simulations Errata for Hecht's 4th edition
Physics 470 (Fall 2011)  - Modern Experimental Physics Syllabus Books on reserve
Physics 482 (Spring 2016)  - 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)  - 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)
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 http://www.localfoodmarketplace.com/macomb/ 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)