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PHYS 322 A: Electromagnetism II

Meeting Time: 
TTh 9:00am - 10:20am
PAA A118
Jason Detwiler Portrait
Jason Detwiler

Syllabus Description:

TTh 9:00-10:20, PAA A118

Instructor: Jason Detwiler
Office: PAB B444
Office Hours: Tuesdays 3:30-4:30pm and Wednesdays 2:00-3:00pm, both in PAB B444
Best way to contact: Canvas Mail

Jesse Ashworth (
Dean Huang (
Jonah Librande (
Agam Shayit (
Felicia Tsai (

Tutorial sections (Fridays, PAB B109):
AA (8:30-9:20am) - TAs: Jonah (grader) and Agam
AB (10:30-11:20am) - TAs: Dean (grader) and Felicia
AC (11:30-12:20pm) - TAs: Felicia (grader) and Dean
AD (12:30pm-1:20pm) - TAs: Agam (grader) and Jonah

TA office hours:
Tuesdays 11:30am-12:30pm via Zoom (Agam in Weeks 3-9; Jesse in Week 10 + finals week)
Thursdays 5:00-6:00pm (Felicia in Weeks 3-8 at the Physics Study Center (directions); Dean in Weeks 9 & 10 via Zoom)

Welcome to PHYS 322 (Winter 2023)

This the second of a three-quarter sequence on electromagnetism for advanced undergraduates. This second course focuses on magnetostatics (in vacuum and in matter) and electrodynamics (Maxwell's Equations).

Course goals:

  • Develop a basic familiarity with classical field theory, with a focus on divergence-free vector fields and time-varying scalar and vector fields
  • Develop an intuition for static magnetic fields and vector potentials in vacuum and in matter
  • Investigate the deep connection between time-dependent electric and magnetic fields
  • Further develop a toolkit of mathematical skills for manipulating scalar and vector fields and solving related problems

This course uses an all in-person format. Lectures, tutorials and exams will be held in-person. Points are given for participation in in-class discussions. Lectures are be recorded and made available in the Panopto Recordings area on Canvas for later viewing. All assignments are handed in electronically.

Griffiths, "Introduction to Electrodynamics," 4th Ed. You can purchase it at the bookstore.

Pre-Lecture Questions:
Pre-lecture questions are intended to be quick, easy questions to help you check your comprehension of the lecture readings. They will be posted to Canvas and will be due by 8pm the night before lecture for full credit; half-credit will be awarded through the start of lecture.

In-Class Questions:
In-class questions will use Poll Everywhere. You will receive a point for each question you respond to (there are no deductions for wrong answers). Respond to >80% of the questions to receive full credit for this component of your course grade.

Weekly Homework Sets:
Homework problems will usually be taken from Griffiths, sometimes with minor modifications. Solutions to some of these problems can be found online, however students wishing to pass exams are strongly advised to make an effort to solve the problems on their own before looking for help. Students are also strongly encouraged to work on homework with a group of peers after attempting solutions on their own. Strive to understand each problem to the point where you would be able to solve it without help if you were asked the same question again.

Homework assignments will be posted to Canvas and are due at the start of class on the assigned due date. You must post a pdf of your solutions to Canvas (numerous smartphone / desktop apps are available to convert photos to a pdf; the department and libraries also have copiers that scan to pdf). Late homework is penalized 25% per day (except for HW2 and HW5, please see this announcement). See below for the regrade policy.

There will be two in-class midterms and one final exam. You will be allowed to bring one 8.5x11" page of your own hand-written notes (you may use both sides). A calculator should not be necessary but you may use a non-web-enabled calculator if you would like. See below for regrade policy.

In tutorial you will work in groups of about 3-4 students. Your group will discuss problems designed to help you construct a conceptual understanding of physical laws though a research-based, scaffolded-discovery process. Initially you may find the questions challenging and not easy to answer on your own. Tutorial sections are designed to be a comfortable environment for you to make mistakes and to refine your ideas. In the process you will learn how to reflect on your reasoning and to identify where you might make errors.

Tutorial graded components:

  • Tutorial pretests (2% of grade):
    • These are designed to get you thinking about your ideas on topics covered in this course. They are graded based on a thoughtful attempt, not on correctness.
    • These typically become available Mondays at 10:00am PT and are due on Thursdays at 11:59pm PT.
    • Once you start a pretest, you will have 25 minutes to complete it without the ability to pause.
    • Your lowest tutorial pretest score will be automatically dropped.
    • If you miss more than one tutorial pretest due to a valid reason (family or medical emergency, etc.), please contact Jesse, and your tutorial pretest score can be excused.
  • Tutorial participation (3% of grade):
    • Tutorials will be held in person; see your course schedule for the time and location.
    • The in-class tutorial packet is provided for you.
    • Please attended the section you are registered for / assigned to, if able. If you cannot attend your tutorial section in a given week, you can attend a different section.
    • Your lowest tutorial participation score will be automatically dropped. However, you are still responsible for submitting the associated tutorial homework on time.
    • If you miss more than one tutorial in-class due to a valid reason (family or medical emergency, etc.), please contact your tutorial TA, and your tutorial in-class score can be excused.
  • Tutorial homework (10% of grade):
    • Each tutorial has homework that is typically due at 11:59pm PT the Thursday after you have worked through the tutorial.
    • The tutorial homework packet is provided for you.
    • For each homework, you need to upload a scanned PDF file to the respective Canvas tutorial homework assignment.
    • Only part of the tutorial homework is graded in detail (8 points); the rest is examined for completeness (2 points).
    • Your lowest tutorial homework score will be automatically dropped.
    • You can submit tutorial homework up to 1 week late for a 50% deduction.
    • If you need to submit a tutorial homework late due to a valid reason (family or medical emergency, etc.), please contact your tutorial TA, and the due date can be extended without penalty.

Your course grade will be computed from the following elements:

  • Two midterm exams: 16% each (32% total)
  • Final exam: 23%
  • Homework assignments: 20%
  • Tutorials: 15%
  • Pre-lecture quizzes: 5%
  • In-lecture questions: 5%

At the end of the quarter scores will be rescaled with 4.0 corresponding to 95% of the total available points. If this results in fewer 4.0 earners and/or a course mean below the historical averages for this course, grades will be curved up.

To help you gauge your progress, exam means and standard deviations will be posted for each exam. Roughly speaking, assuming you are getting most of the available points on the other course components, an average score on exams will achieve a GPA near ~3.0, and each standard deviation from that roughly corresponds to a GPA change of ~0.5.

Regrade requests for homework or exams can be made for up to 1 week after grades are posted. Your regrade request should be submitted directly to the relevant grader by email -- their contact info is posted on the corresponding homework or exam page in canvas. The regrade request should clearly state your argument, and must refer to the solutions when relevant.

Other Classroom Rules and Courtesies:
Everyone with an interest in learning physics is welcome in this class. Science is for everyone, irrespective of age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, or nationality. Diversity of outlook and experiences strengthens science and accelerates its progress. In this class, we aim to provide a welcoming and supportive learning environment for all students.

We have ~60 students in this class, and that requires a few common sense rules to help everyone learn:

  • Please wait for the previous class to leave before you try to enter the room.
  • Please fill in to the center of the seat rows. We want to avoid having late-arriving students climbing over you and/or sitting in the aisles.
  • Please avoid wearing intense fragrances. In a class this size there is bound to be at least a few students who are very sensitive to perfumes.
  • Please do not talk with each other during class unless we have explicitly taken a break for you to work on problems and/or discuss things with your neighbor.
  • Please refrain from doing non-class-related work, email, browsing, etc., during lecture as it can be very distracting, especially to those students sitting behind you.
  • If you know you will need to leave class early, please choose a seat near the aisle in the back of the room.
  • To encourage everyone to participate in classroom discussions, I use random-calling tools for soliciting answers to questions. Please do your best to answer when called upon.
  • Above all, please be respectful toward each other.

Access and Accommodations:
Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS) please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW's policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form.

If you are a student athlete or musician with schedule conflicts, or have other essential conflicts (presenting at a research conference, job interview, etc.) please contact Prof. Detwiler well in advance of the expected conflicts

Reporting Classroom Issues:
If you have an issue with how class is being conducted, or with the actions of a professor, teaching assistant, or peer, note that most classroom issues result from misunderstandings that can be clarified by discussing them with your instructor, either singly or as a group. If you either do not feel comfortable bringing the issue to the instructor directly or are not satisfied with your instructor's response, please contact Physics Student Services. Our Academic Counselors are well-versed in resources for dealing with classroom and interpersonal issues, as well as in helping you evaluate their severity. If you wish a complaint to remain anonymous as your issue is being reported to Prof. Olmstead (the Physics undergraduate faculty advisor), Prof. Yaffe (the department chair), Safe Campus (see below), or other campus resources, our Physics Student Services team will respect your request. You are also welcome to come directly to Prof. Olmstead, who will maintain your anonymity while discussing any information with the chair and/or the instructor; you may also directly contact the department chair, Prof. Yaffe.

For more serious concerns and conflicts, the following campus resources are available:

  • Safe Campus: for advice and resources on safety and violence prevention, or to report a threat or concerning behavior, contact Safe Campus at 206-685-SAFE or Physics Department Student Services passes on all reports of threats or concerning behavior to Safe Campus, maintaining anonymity if requested.
  • Community Standards and Student Conduct: for reporting student misconduct
  • Title IX: for reporting discrimination on the basis of sex
  • Office of the Ombud: when you are not sure who to go to or what to do

Research Study Information:
This course is part of a research project examining student reasoning ability and attitudes about physics with the goal of improving physics teaching.  By enrolling in this course, you are automatically included in the study. Early in the quarter, students will have an opportunity to learn about the study and to remove themselves from the study if they wish. Your instructor will not know whether or not you participate. Please click on this link to review the details of the study, contact a member of the research team, or remove yourself from the study.

Catalog Description: 
Continuation of PHYS 321. Charges at rest and in motion; dielectric and magnetic media; electromagnetic waves; relativity and electromagnetism; physical optics. Prerequisite: a minimum grade of 2.0 in PHYS 321. Offered: WS.
GE Requirements: 
Natural Sciences (NSc)
Section Type: 
Last updated: 
October 19, 2022 - 5:27am