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PHYS 195: Waves and Fields

Interference by soap film

Spring 2018

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, G064
Office Hours:

Tuesday 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

Kleppner & Kolenkow (now on blackboard) and Simmons reading coming soon!



Tuesday afternoons 1:00 -~4:00 PM with Charles Collett 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



  • Have a great spring break!
  • Guide 8 and Guide 6 and 7 solutions are posted.
  • The 2018 "Official 195 Measurement of g" is g = 9.818 +-0.005 m/s^2.


Course Info:

course syllabus (pdf)

Weekly Guides (pdf):

Guide 1 (solutions)
Guide 2 (solutions)
Guide 3 (solutions)
Guide 4
Guide 5
Guide 6 (solutions)
Guide 7 (solutions)
Guide 8



  • Clicker questions from lecture.
  • The 3D electric field line viewer: Download from here.
  • Phet Electric Hockey!
  • 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.
  • More on the use of the relativistic frequency (Doppler) shift to find an exoplanet near 51 Pegasus. This technique is lso used to explore the structure of the universe. A page summarizing much more detail on this.
  • The Doppler effect at a train station and as a costume on Big Bang Theory.
  • An applet demonstrating the Doppler effect for sound (requires java).
  • 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.
  • Here is the Phet simulation of interference.
  • Here's the article by Mayo on the energy of waves at sea. For more on ocean waves try this link.
  • Animations of different types of wave motions.
  • Here's the derivation of the equation of motion for sound.
  • The results are in! The 2018 measurement for g on the Hill is g = 9.818 +-0.005 m/s^2! (This agrees with the previous average of 9.815 m/s^2 but disagrees with last year's result of 9.800 +/- 0.007 m/s^2. Given the variation in measurements I used the standard deviation of your results for the error.)
  • The Citicorp Center in NYC and the Taipei 101 Tower have tuned mass dampers. Here's a pendulum in the Taipei 101 Tower. For more specifics see this article and "Wind and Earthquake Resistant Buildings", some of which is on google books.
  • Here's the PhET wave simulation.
  • Here's the PhET normal mode simulation.
  • A reconstruction of the black hole merger event that led to the gravitational wave discovery in 2015. The founders of the experiment won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • More on waves in spacetime: LIGO, interviews with gravity wave folks, and movies of numerical simulations of black hole binary systems.
  • The masses on springs videos: 1 and 2.
  • Here is the Phet simulator on resonance.
  • A resonator exhibit at the Exploratorium.
  • A video of a wine glass orchestra or harp
  • 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. (This link is to the arXiv where many phsyics papers are availabel without charge.) Last year APS News published a piece on this and the authors reminded us that the original accident 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.
  • Millennium Bridge oscillation video. See also a BCC program on this
  • In class on Monday, February 5 we went through the `late time' or `steady state' solution of driven, damped, harmonic motion. Here are the notes (pdf).
  • 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. (Updated link) Enjoy!


Labs (pdf):

The Phys 190 Uncertainties in a nutshell and guide to Taylor
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 new version (8.9 MB)
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 12 March 2018

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