Physics 3320: Introduction


Fall 2023

Welcome to Intermediate Classical Mechanics, Physics 3320! The prerequisites for this class are: PHY 2360 (Mathematical and Computational Physics) and MTH 3325 (Ordinary Differential Equations). We will try to cover the seven chapters of my online text: Modern Introductory Mechanics, Part I. This is available from the Baylor Bookstore for a nominal fee. In addition, an early version is available on my Baylor OPEN TEXT website at:

(The OPEN TEXT version is not as updated as the bookstore version.) Although all the course materials are online, I would suggest you take lecture notes in your own notebook. The course will emphasize the problems at the end of the chapters. I will also present solutions to one or more of the problems during each lecture. This problem solving format will work to your advantage as many of you will be going on to graduate school and taking the GRE. Problems will be collected once or twice a week. The PHY 3320: Course Calendar, including the schedule of problems for the semester, is posted on this blog site. In addition, I will ask students to present their homework solutions at the beginning of the class period; see the PHY 3320: HW Calendar for a schedule of student presentations. The syllabus of the class is available at this site in the PHY 3320: Syllabus page.

You should consult these calendars for the problems due each class period. Late problem sets are not allowed. However, a given homework set can be dropped if a valid excuse is offered. (A “valid excuse”, usually means a note from a doctor.) You can check your answers with others in the class, but homework is to be done individually. I will not provide homework solutions, but I have made it possible for you to post your homework solutions for others to use on Baylor Canvas using the “Discussions” area. You can download the Canvas Student app for this purpose. You can upload homework images from your cell phone or from a scanner to the Canvas Assignments page. (This page will not accept homeworks after the class has started.) Do not expect to see graded homework back until about a week after it has been turned in. For this reason, it may be a good idea to keep copies of homework solutions turned in the week before an exam. Please see the below for a BIG INCENTIVE for class attendance.

The homework at the end of the chapters is designed to parallel the manuscript material, and you should read this between classes. A good rule of thumb is that you will need to read an additional ~8-10 pages in the text in between class meetings. (The Class Calendar on this website gives the page number we will cover up to on each lecture.) I will generally assign one to three problems on each problem set. This means you only have to do about one problem a day during the week to keep up with the material. I will be very happy to discuss the solutions of the problems during my office hours or extended online hours. Note that all homework problems are due on Wednesdays and Fridays; there are no homeworks due on Mondays!

I will give three in-class 50 minute midterm exams and a two-hour long final. (See the online Course Calendar on this website for the dates.) The exam problems will be similar to the homework. You can choose 3 of 4 problems to complete. The problems are assigned 10 points each. However, as a bonus I use 25 points instead of 30 points for the grading scale. I will also give everyone a chance to take one problem home and turn it in the next class period. All exams are open book (but not open homework solutions). Because of this, I would suggest that you buy the textbook, otherwise you will have to print out the chapters yourself for the exams. I will give in class “hints” for the problems on all exams. The final will consist of a regular hour-long exam over the material covered since the third exam, plus an hour-long comprehensive part. This is completed in class.

The grade weighting will be as follows:

homework 25%
hour exams(3) 15%
final 30%.

A grading scale I have often used is:

“A” 100-70
“B” (70-e)-55
“C” (55-e)-40,
“D” (40-e)-25,

where e is an infinitesimally small positive quantity. A-, B+,-and C+,- grades will also be assigned at my discretion.

There will be no make-ups for missed exams. If you miss an exam without a valid excuse you get a zero. I will reweight the final if you are excused. If you miss two exams without an excuse, you fail the class. If you miss two or more with a valid excuse, you get an incomplete. Missing the final with an excuse gives you an incomplete also; without an excuse you fail.

More on the homework: The purpose of the homework is to give the instructor evidence of your individual competence on relevant physics problems. You are encouraged to discuss the problems with your classmates. However, you are not allowed to copy them from your classmates or allow your work to be copied. Both are violations of the Baylor Honor Code (see below). You are free to look up materials on the web, which should simply be regarded as a handy library. However, when you do this you must QUOTE YOUR SOURCE on the homework so that I can verify it. You should also include any output of Mathematica or Matlab that you used to do a problem. If you use material from any source, web or library, without attribution, this is an example of plagiarism since you are leaving the impression that you are the source author. This is unacceptable in this class and is a violation of the Baylor Honor policy. Instances of plagiarism or any other act of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Honor Council and may result in failure of the course. Not understanding plagiarism is not an excuse. At a Christian University, this is certainly taken seriously.


I believe every student who has been admitted to Baylor can be successful and I want to partner with you to help you thrive academically. Be sure to take advantage of the many resources available for academic success, including coming to see me during my office hours. Students who regularly utilize the great resources in the Paul L. Foster Success Center ( are among my most successful students. If your academic performance in this class is substandard, I will submit an Academic Progress Report to the Success Center so that the team of coordinated care professionals can ensure that you get the help you need.

Office hours: TR 10-11:30 (Note that I encourage online appointments at any mutually convenient time.)
Office: Rm E.325
Office phone: 710-2510
Dept. phone: 710-2511

Importantly, Baylor’s Health Services department on the Waco campus no longer provides notes to “excuse” students from missed classes. Please do not ask Health Services for such documentation.

The College of Arts and Sciences requires students to be present for at least 75% of all scheduled classes. Failure to do so results in an automatic grade of F.

I will be passing out an attendance sheet every class period. Please mark your attendance there. If you do not do so I will have no record you attended!


Students and Academic Integrity

Baylor University policies require that students, staff, and faculty act in academic matters with utmost honesty and integrity. It is the responsibility of each student to be familiar with the Honor Code and other university policies and procedures affecting academic integrity. Students are also encouraged to consider these suggestions:

  • Review each class syllabus for expectations your professor may have regarding course work and class attendance that go beyond those stated in university policies and guidelines and the Honor Code.
  • Be familiar with the importance of academic integrity in class. Understand how citations show respect for other scholars.
  • Talk with your professor if you are confused about citation practices or other research standards.
  • Make sure you understand not only what counts as plagiarism and cheating, but also how to avoid engaging in these practices. Manage your time, take notes correctly, and use the internet appropriately.
  • Make sure you understand your professor’s guidelines about working with other students on assignments, receiving assistance from other students on assignments, citing sources, using notes or exams from previous or other classes, and accessing information during an examination. If in doubt –ASK YOUR PROFESSOR!
  • Understand that penalties can result from dishonest conduct, ranging from failure of the assignment to immediate expulsion from the university. For more information see the Baylor University Honor Code on the Academic Integrity Web page or contact the Office of Academic Integrity at 710-8882 or

The Baylor Honor Code is listed at:

Please note the violation section listing C(4):

(4) Offering for course credit work prepared in collaboration with another, unless the student secures the instructor’s permission in advance of submission. A student does not prepare work in collaboration with another if he or she merely discusses with another a matter relevant to the work in question.

First Generation College Students

Baylor University defines a first-generation college student as a student whose parents did not complete a four-year college degree. The First in Line program at Baylor is a support office on campus for first-generation college students to utilize if they have any questions or concerns. Please contact First in Line at, call 254-710-6854, or visit to learn more about the services available.

Military Student Advisory

Veterans and active duty military personnel are welcomed and encouraged to communicate, in advance if possible, any special circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployment, drill requirements, disability accommodations). You are also encouraged to visit the VETS Program Office with any questions at (254) 710-7264.

Office of Equity and Title IX

Baylor University does not tolerate unlawful harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, race, color, disability, national origin, ancestry, age (over 40), citizenship, genetic information or the refusal to submit to a genetic test, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, Texas, or local law (collectively referred to as Protected Characteristics).

If you or someone you know would like help related to an experience involving:

1. Sexual or gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, intimate partner violence, or retaliation for reporting one of these types of prohibited conduct, please visit, or contact us at (254) 710-8454, or

2. Harassment (excluding those issues listed in #1) or adverse action based on Protected Characteristics, please visit, or contact us at (254) 710-7100 or

Students Needing Accommodations

Any student who needs academic accommodations related to a documented disability should inform me immediately at the beginning of the semester. You are required to obtain appropriate documentation and information regarding accommodations from the Office of Access and Learning Accommodation (OALA). Contact Information: (254) 710-3605 – Paul L. Foster Success Center, 1st floor on the East Wing of Sid Richardson.