Matter and Motion                                                            Spring Quarter 2005                                                                     Rob Knapp

Coordinated Study Program                               year-long program (Fall, Winter, Spring)                                              Laura Michelsen


The regular weekly schedule shows the components of the program. All meetings are in the Seminar II building unless noted.





9:45–10:40 am Chemistry/Physics

10:50–11:45 am Calculus


9:00 am - 1:00 pm Lab

Lab II 1234, 1241

9:45–11:45 am Chemistry/Physics



9:45–11:45 Seminar

D3107, D3109

12-1 Triad problem presentations D3110,3112

12 – 1 tutor session D3105

1-2 Governance D3105


12-1 Triad problem presentations D3110,3112




2:00–4:00 pm Calculus


1:15–2:45 pm tutor session D3105

2:00–4:00 pm  Calculus


2:00–4:00 pm




also MONDAY 3:30-5 pm tutor session D3105

4:15-5:30 pm tutor session


Chemistry/Physics:  the study of matter and motion (hence the title).  This quarter will conclude a full year of integrated study of chemistry and physics.  Spring Quarter will cover the vital topics of Newtonian mechanics and chemical kinetics, together with further discussion of chemical bonds, and will conclude with a study of light, including topics in geometric and physical optics, spectroscopy, and physical/chemical origins of color, with an optional component on light and color in the outdoor environment.

Optional Components: For last half of the quarter, students can propose up to half-time studies in physics, chemistry, or mathematics. Options already proposed include: light and color outdoors, multivariable calculus, and special relativity.

Chemistry/Physics Format:  We will meet three times a week for a total of five hours of lectures and/or workshops.  You will have weekly problem sets for which we expect detailed explanations of your methodology and reasoning. We will meet with each triad once a week for you to present a solution of one of the current problems. We will stress, as in the lab and seminar, the visual and contextual component of science. A student aide will be available for tutorial and homework help, at times to be determined for student convenience as much as possible.  The frequency and format of any testing will be determined by class discussion.

Calculus: the powerful and beautiful mathematics of change.  Again, Spring Quarter concludes a full year’s worth of first-year study. Topics will include differential equations, infinite series, and the approximation of functions. An option to study multivariable calculus in a semi-independent way is available.

Calculus Format: There will be weekly homework, in which we will ask for very full explanation and discussion on selected problems while others are to be done in more summary fashion. A graphing calculator (TI-83 or equivalent) is essential. A student aide will be available for tutorial and homework help, as well as the college Quantitative Reasoning Center (QRC). There will be mid-term and final tests whose aim is to bring out people’s best work: Choosing the best formats for this will be a matter of class discussion.

Lab: where you’ll get your hands dirty with the actual physical doing of science.  For the first four weeks, we will meet once a week on Wednesday mornings for four hours to perform designated experiments that will serve to reinforce concepts introduced in other parts of the program.  We will decide with you what is the best use of the remaining lab time

Lab Format:  Two sections of 25 students will be working in separate but adjoining labs, each with faculty supervision.  You will work in small groups to perform and design experiments, keeping a notebook that will include a detailed record of your work in the lab, which, along with lab reports, will be considered in evaluations.  The physical consequences of doing science will also be addressed, and you will learn to be personally responsible for the minimization and disposal of waste created during each experiment.

Seminar: For at least 8 weeks each quarter, a two-hour discussion each week which connects science and scientists to the larger cultures and societies they are part of. For Spring Quarter, we will discuss how people think about science, its values, and its limits.

Seminar Format: We expect the program to be small in Spring Quarter, so we will convene in a single seminar group of 25-30 students each Friday; within this group, you will belong to a 3-person “triad” responsible for meeting a day or so before each seminar for a preliminary talk about the material which generates three questions and three statements you think are worth discussing in the large group. Write these out to be handed in at seminar.  We will often divide into smaller groups for part of the session. Each faculty member will be primarily responsible for half the program’s students (for evaluation, advising, dealing with individual needs, and so on).

Governance: Students in this program take charge of certain portions of what we do. Getting experience in defining, making and carrying out decisions is a vital ingredient of living in a democracy. Everyone is required to take part in governance. People will differ in how much they lead, talk, have ideas, listen carefully, find compromises, take notes, contribute to work parties, and so on. Each person’s assignment is to find some productive role to play, and to reflect on what works well or badly and why.

Governance Format: a required weekly meeting, and additional small or whole group sessions as the group decides. Faculty will only attend if invited.

Required texts:

Silberberg, Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change, 3rd ed.

Moore, Six Ideas that Shaped Physics, Unit N and readings on optics to be distributed

Hughes-Hallett, Calculus Single Variable, 3rd ed.

Brand, The Clock of the Long Now                               (ISBN 0465007805)

Brown, Quest for the Quantum Computer                      (ISBN 0684870045)

Stoppard, Arcadia                                                       (ISBN 0571169341)

McCormmach,  Night Thoughts of a Classical Physicist  (ISBN 0674624610)

“The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Math” (online + one handout):

Philosophy of science readings (handout)

Nanotechnology readings (on line):



Week-by-week schedules of topics and readings (S = Silberberg; N = Moore Unit N; HH == Hughes-Hallett)






Miscellaneous: Students will keep a portfolio including their lab notebooks and reports, chem/phys/calc problem sets, and seminar thoughts and questions, which will, along with any tests, be considered in the evaluation process. Outside of class times, you will have access to a homeroom-type meeting area which can be used for study sessions, triad meetings, etc, and where various resources will be available, including faculty, to help with your studies.


Very Important :

The end of quarter evaluation conference is an essential obligation in this program. Don’t make (or let others make) any travel arrangements until you have a definite time for your evaluation conference


Contact Information

Rob Knapp

Sem II D-3112 // 867-6149


Laura Michelsen

Sem II D-3110 // 867-6410


Program Web Page




T:  Intro/ Review of bonding S9

Differential equations (start) HH 11.1, 2, 3



W:  Euler’s method and Excel exercise




Th:  Bonding/VSEPR S9, S10

more slope fields, Euler’s method HH 11.2, 3, 4



F:  VSEPR and molecular shapes S10

More differential equations

Clock of the Long Now


T:  Molecular orbital theory S11.3

(Chem) Reaction rates S16.1-2



W: Lab: Rate of reaction of bleach and dyes




Th:  Rate laws S16.3-5

Problem solving workshop



F:  Reaction mechanisms and catalysts S16.6-8


Nanotechnology readings


T:  Newton’s laws/ Vector derivatives / Forces from motion N1, N2, N3

separation of variables, growth and decay HH 11. 5



W: Lab: TBA




Th:  Motion from forces / Statics N4, N5

models HH 11.6



F: Linear motion / Coupled objects N6, N7


Philosophy of science readings (positivism)


T: Circular motion / angular momentum N8, C13, C14    Note material from Unit C

more models HH 11.7



W: Lab:  Stomp rocket




Th:  Noninertial frames N9

systems of differential equations HH 11.8



F:  Projectile motion N10


Philosophy of science readings (science wars)


T:   Oscillatory motion N11

oscillations HH 11.10, 11.11



W: Lab: Rotational dynamics




Th:  Mid-quarter conferences




F:  Mid-quarter conferences


Quest for Quantum Computer (Ch. 1 & 2)

6 Light and spectroscopy

T: Interferometry ( 2 hr)

T pm: leave for LIGO




W: Trip to LIGO




Th: The wave equation and polarization

partial derivatives



F: Spectroscopy (general considerations)


Quest for Quantum Computer (Ch. 3 & 9)

7 Light and color

T: Electronic transitions and color (1hr)

geometric series and convergence HH 9.1, 9.2



W: Outdoor light/color or project




Th: Liquid crystals and OLEDs

power series HH 9.4



F: Fluorescence and phosphorescence


Unreasonable Effectiveness of Math

8 Manipulating light

T: Instrumentation (1hr)

Taylor series 10.1, 2



W: Outdoor light/color or project




Th: Mirrors and reflection; image formation

more Taylor series HH 10.2, 10.3



F: Refraction and scattering; speed of light in matter


Night Thoughts of a Classical Physicist

9 IR and Lasers

T:  Using other forms of light (1hr)

Fourier series HH 10.5



W: Outdoor light/color or project




Th: Physics of lasers

more Fourier series



F: Lasing materials




Finishing up….