Welcome Letter

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About Me

My name is Dr. Patrick M. Len, and I will be your instructor for this physics course (I also teach astronomy). You can watch this video to find out more about me!


Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. Patrick M. Len, Ph.D.
E-mail: pLen@cuesta.edu


About This Course

Here are some important details to know about this course before the start of the spring 2024 semester. You will gain full access to this course on the first day of the semester (Tuesday, January 16). Both the lecture and laboratory components of this course are a hybrid of in-person classroom and online work.

In this course you will be learning about creating images from light, how interference can strengthen or cancel waves, electric force and field models, how to analyze circuits, magnetic force and field and flux models, radioactivity and nuclear decay, and analyzing certain phenomena using Feynman diagrams.

Together we will explore our place in this physical world, while being respectful of everyone's backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. We will have an opportunity to learn about physics and from each other in an enthusiastic and welcoming environment. Your feedback is valuable, and so please let me know what can be done to maximize your learning experience.


Hybrid Course Information

This course has three weekly components:

  • In-person lectures (Monday 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM in room 2609, San Luis Obispo campus).
  • In-person labs (Monday 3:30 PM - 4:50 PM in room 2101, San Luis Obispo campus).
  • Asynchronous online instruction (using Canvas).

We will be using Canvas (a web-based learning management system) for course materials and links, grades, e-mail and discussion boards. Please be prepared to spend 8-12 hours per week for this course on self-directed reading, viewing, studying, and writing.

If you are unsure if a hybrid course with an online component is right for you, go to Cuesta College's Online Readiness Resources webpage and go through the questions listed there, to self-assess your ability to succeed.

Refer to the Technical Frequently Asked Questions regarding specific minimum computer and browser requirements for Canvas.

Cuesta College has resources on Getting Started with Canvas, and offers a "Being Successful Online" tutorial.

Cuesta College has a technical support page available to help you with Canvas problems.


Course Catalog Description

This course is the second semester of a two-semester sequence, and presents the principles of geometric optics, physical optics, static and dynamic electricity and magnetism, introductory DC and AC circuit theory, modern physics topics (relativity, particles and waves, atomic structure, radioactivity and nuclear reactions) using trigonometry. Prerequisite: PHYS 205A or equivalent.


Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe and quantify geometric and physical behavior of light. (E.g., model image formation by lenses, or interference/diffraction by slits.)
  2. Describe and quantify behavior of electric forces, fields, potential energy, and potentials. (E.g., given certain materials, or configuration of point charges, apply superposition to find net result at a certain location.)
  3. Describe and apply conservation laws of current and potentials to circuits. (E.g., given circuit with ideal/non-ideal emfs, resistors, capacitors, switches, determine currents and potential differences.)
  4. Describe and quantify behavior of magnetic forces, fields, fluxes, and induction. (E.g., given configuration of current-carrying wires/loops, determine resulting forces, induced emfs, or induced currents on other objects, or in time-varying circuits.)
  5. Describe and quantify phenomena in modern (post 19th century) physics such as relativity, atomic physics, nuclear physics, etc. (E.g., describe why certain systems demand non-classical models, and be able to quantify behaviors of these systems.)


Required Textbook/Materials

Please contact me if you have problems purchasing or accessing the textbook; using a scientific/graphic calculator or Google Sheets; or with scanning and uploading written work using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

  • Physics (12th Edition) by John D. Cutnell, Kenneth W. Johnson, David Young and Shane Stadler. This course is part of the Cuesta College First Day delivery program, with access to the e-textbook at a discounted price. Cuesta College will bill you for the e-textbook at the end of the second week of the semester. You can opt out of paying for the online e-textbook and purchase a bound or loose-leaf hardcopy of the textbook through the Cuesta College Bookstore or other book retailers. For more information and FAQs go to customercare.bncollege.com.
  • Scientific calculator; graphing capabilities optional. (Use of a calculator application during exams is not permitted.)
  • Access to Google Sheets, a free spreadsheet program with graphing, curve-fitting and correlation coefficient capabilities.
  • A camera-enabled smartphone, tablet, or laptop webcam to upload your written work in an image (JPEG, HEIC, GIF, PNG) or a compatible document (DOC, PDF) format.



You can arrange reasonable learning accommodations for this course (or for selected components that may be inherently inaccessible) through Cuesta College Disabled Student Programs & Services, and they will coordinate with you and me on the specific details.


Academic Standards

In this course, you will learn a lot of physics, and you will need to show me how much physics you have learned. In order to do this, I will:

  1. Help each student learn to the best of their ability.
  2. Be fair in grading work done by each student.

In return, you must study and learn, and do only your own individual work on the preview/review questions, lab reports, discussion boards, quizzes, midterms, and the Final Exam. Together we can do this, and successfully explore the physical world and understand how it works!

(Review the Cuesta College Student Code of Conduct for a complete list of acceptable and unacceptable behavior.)


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