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PHYS 195: Waves and Fields

Interference by soap film

Spring 2017

Laissez les bonnes ondes rouler! (Let the the good waves roll!)

- from the Livingston, LA LIGO Observatory (at one time)

Instructor: Seth Major, smajor, 4919, G052
Office Hours:

Thursday 1:30 - ~5:00 PM

Mondays 2 - 4



MWF 10:00-10:50 AM Science Center G041



Halliday, Resnick, Walker, Fundamentals of Physics Extended, 10th Edition (same as Phys 190)

John Taylor, An Introduction to Error Analysis

and K&K and Simmons reading on the 195 eReserves



Tuesday afternoons 1:00 -~4:00 PM with Seth in G030 or nearby lab

Wednesday afternoons 1:00 -~4:00 PM with Viva Horowitz in G030 or nearby lab

Thursday afternoons 1:00 - ~4:00 PM with Adam Lark in G030 or nearby lab



  • The final had an average of 82% and an standard deviation of 10. Nice work and have a great summer!
  • The grade calculator. Fill in your current and estimated grades the calculator will calculate your estimated grade.


Course Info:

course syllabus (pdf)

Weekly Guides (pdf):



  • We discussed lots of material this semester. Here is a five page (is it possible?) review.
  • For more Michelson-Morley Experiment see Wikipedia and and this video.
  • More on Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Two-slit interference and diffraction intensity applet.
  • The video of an interference experiment done at Hitachi by Tonomura Here's a link to a Hitachi website with an explanation of the experiment. The history of this experiment (one of the "top 10 beautiful experiments" as determined by readers of Physics World) reveals the complicated nature of determining "who is first".
  • More slit patterns on hyperphysics.
  • Two-slit interference and diffraction intensity applet.
  • On Soap film intensities. A movie of our demo. Here is a link to much, much more on colors.
  • Simple Huygens' Principle animations.
  • Here is the Phet simulation of interference.
  • We won't be able to delve into this in detail but the first person who made a working telescope and recorded the results was Galileo. A picture of Galileo's notebook is on this site.
  • The Phet lens demonstrator.
  • Burning Mirrors?? Did Archimedes use a mirror (or mirrors) to burn the Roman fleet? Here are translations of some accounts and pictures created centuries later. Here are some links giving some perspective from the physical point of view. There's more on the Siege of Syracuse in these pages.
  • Rainbows! You all might enjoy this site devoted to the scattering of light from spherical droplets of water. Check out the variablity in published indices of refraction of water.
  • A "guest" appearence of the deceased rapper Tupac Shakur used the technique of Pepper's ghost. See more on ars technica.
  • Snell's law waves, without the reflected wave, with the reflected wave.
  • The electromagnetic spectrum.
  • An animation of an e&m plane wave. Wave of an accelerating charge. Wave of an oscillating dipole.
  • Light! The details if you want to see them - notes on the derivation of the wave equation of electromagnetic fields
  • Notes for the Biot-Savart calculation of the magentic field on axis of a solenoid.
  • The 3D electric field line viewer: Download from here.
  • Electric motor kits have been distributed. These details include a description of what it is all about and a description of a motor design.
  • The Phet Electric Hockey!
  • Here's the article by Mayo on the energy of waves at sea. For more on ocean waves try this link.
  • The Doppler effect at a train station and as a costume on Big Bang Theory.
  • The Doppler shift for light is used in astronomy. Here is an illustration and info on red and blue shifts. The effect is one technique for finding extra solar planets.
  • An applet demonstrating the Doppler effect for sound (requires java).
  • Here is the Phet simulation of interference.
  • Animations of different types of wave motions.
  • Here's the derivation of the equation of motion for sound.
  • The grade calculator (an excel spreadsheet). Simply fill in your mid-term exam grade, solution set grades (out of 10), and estimates for rest, and the calculator will calculate your estimated grade.
  • There's a Chladni plate picture in the banner of this web page. Wikipedia has more on Ernst and his plates. Here's a page of his notebooks! Of course, YouTube has Chladni plate videos and there's a 2D flaming (!) demonstration shown in this video.
  • Check out this comic on resonance
  • A video of a wine glass orchestra or harp
  • Here is the Phet simulator on resonance, used in the Guide 5 problem set.
  • A resonator exhibit at the Exploratorium.
  • Here's the PhET wave demo.
  • A reconstruction of the black hole merger event that led to the gravitational wave discovery last year.
  • The masses on springs videos: 1 and 2.
  • The Citicorp Center in NYC and the Taipei 101 Tower have tuned mass dampers. I opened class on Monday February 6 asking why the Taipei 101 Tower has a pendulum inside. For more specifics see "Wind and Earthquake Resistant Buildings", some of which is on google books.
  • You can see more of the Tacoma Narrows bridge in this video.There's a 2006 American Journal of Physics article by Green and Unruh on a more careful modeling of the Tacoma Narrows bridge. APS News recently had a piece on this as well, where they remind us that the original accidfent report pointed out the non-resonant behavior of the bridge.
  • Fun can be had exciting the different modes of a suspension bridge. Here's an example at Messiah College.
  • Check out this comic on resonance.
  • In class on Monday, February 6 we went through the late time solution of driven, damped, harmonic motion. Here are the notes (pdf).
  • Millennium Bridge oscillation video. See also a BCC program on this
  • For a review of rotational dynamics see Chapter 10 of HRW.
  • Galileo may have timed the swinging of the chandeliers in the Pisa cathedral. A picture of the ones installed in 1587, at History of Science at UO.
  • Here is the PhET spring mass-on-a-spring demo. Enjoy!
  • Clicker questions from lecture.


Labs (pdf):

Lab 1: Simple Oscillation
Lab 2: Moving Away from Simple Oscillation with a Pendulum
Lab 3: Measuring g with a pendulum
Lab 4: Resonance
Lab 5: Standing Waves
Lab 6: Speed of Sound
Lab 7: Coulomb's Law
Lab 8: Electroscopes
Lab 9: B-field mapping
Lab 10: The q v x B force and the electron's charge to mass ratio
Lab 11: Snell's Law
Lab 12: Interference and Diffraction


Last modified 14 May 2017

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