NS 543/SC 543 Concepts in Physics IV: Electrostatics, Magnetostatics & DC Circuits

Physics content: Electric charge, electric and magnetic fields, and DC circuits.

Philosophy and History of Physics: History of electricity and magnetism.

Physics Education Research: Misconceptions about electricity and magnetism with applications to curriculum development.

Course Schedule (.pdf)

Course Link

NS 543 Concepts in Physics IV:
Electrostatics, Magnetostatics, and DC Circuits

In-Class: Session 1: Charge, Conductors and Insulators, Induced Charge, Coulomb’s Law

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 18.1 – 18.5

Online: Session 2: Electric Field, Charge on Conductors

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 18.6 – 18.11
Web assignment 1

Reading Assignment for Online discussion:

  • Excerpt from I.B. Cohen’s Benjamin Franklin’s Experiments (1941). Chapter Two: Electricity Before Franklin. Read Sections 1 and 2, pp. 21 – 47.

In-Class: Session 3: Electric Potential Energy and Electric Potential.

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 19.1 – 19.4
Laboratory Experiment: Electric Fields and Potentials
Philosophy/History/Education Research: Overview of the history of electricity.

Online: Session 4: Connecting Potential and Field; Capacitors and Dielectrics

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 19.5
Home Laboratory Experiment: Construct a Leyden Jar following Ben Franklin as my Lab Partner: Section I (pp 20-22). Build the drink cup Leyden jar or an equivalent.
Web assignment 2

Reading Assignment for Online discussion:

  • Ben Franklin as my Lab Partner, by Robert A. Morse. Read Part III. Experiments and theory of the Leyden jar. Read Franklin’s theory and try some experiments.

  • Du Fay, T.S. (1733 – 1734). Philosophical Transactions (1683-1775), 38, 258-266.

  • Gray, S. (1720 – 1721). Philosophical Transactions (1683-1775), 31, 104-107.

In-Class: Session 5: Current, Batteries, Resistance, Ohm’s Law, Circuits

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 20.1 – 20.7
Laboratory Experiment: Ohm’s Law
Philosophy/History/Education Research: Franklin’s electricity theory and experiments, Part I. Compare Leyden jars.

Online: Session 6: Kirchhoff’s Rules, RC Circuits, ammeters and voltmeters

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 20.8 – 20.11. 20.13 – 20.14
Web assignment 3

Reading Assignments for Online discussion:

  • The Electrical Writings of Benjamin Franklin  collected by Robert A. Morse. Sections 1 through 18 (pp. 36 – 43) and Sections 33 – 36 (pp. 51 – 53). (N.B.: Not Ben Franklin as my Lab Partner Part III). http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/personal_pages/bob_m/

  • Chapter 2 from Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn.

In-Class: Session 7: Franklin’s theory, Midterm Exam

Philosophy/History/Education Research: Franklin’s electricity theory and experiments, Part II.
Midterm Exam

Online: Session 8: Magnetic Fields

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 21.1, 21.7
Web assignment 4
Home Laboratory Experiment: Begin building electrostatic generators following Ben Franklin as my Lab Partner: Section I.

Reading assignments for Online discussion:

  • McDermott, L. and Shaffer, P. (1992). Research as a guide for curriculum development: An example from introductory electricity.  Part I: Investigation of student understanding. American Journal of Physics, 60, 994-1003.

  • Shaffer, P. and McDermott, L. (1992). Research as a guide for curriculum development: An example from introductory electricity. Part II: Design of instructional strategies.  American Journal of Physics, 60, 1003-1013. 

In-Class: Session 9: The magnetic force on charged particles and wires

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 21.2, 21.4

Online: Session 10: Magnetic fields produced by currents

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 21.5 – 21.6
Web assignment 5

Reading assignments for Online discussion:

  • Cohen, R., Eylon, B., Ganiel, U. (1983). Potential difference and current in simple electric circuits: A study of students’ concepts. American Journal of Physics, 51, 407-412.

  • Heller, P.M. and Finley, F.N. (1992). Variable Uses of Alternative Conceptions: A Case Study in Current Electricity. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29, 259-275.

In-Class: Session 11: Forces on wires, torques on wire loops; Magnetic materials

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 21.8 – 21.10
Take home exam handed out
Electrostatic generators due.
Laboratory Experiment: Charge-to-mass ratio of the electron

Online: Session 12: Magnetic materials

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 21.8 – 21.10
Web assignment 6

In-Class: Session 13: Wrap-up

Post-test
Project presentations
Take home exam due

Bibliography

Selections from primary sources

Morse,R. A. (2004). A Comprehensive Collection of Franklin’s Electrical Works: The Electrical Writings of Benjamin Franklin. http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/old_items/misc/index_old.html
Specifically, refer to Letter III to Peter Collinson (1747) and to Additional Papers for Peter Collinson, Opinions and Conjectures (1750).

 Selections from secondary sources

Cohen, I.B. (1941). Benjamin Franklin’s Experiments. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Selections from Physics Education Research Literature

McDermott, L. and Shaffer, P. (1992). Research as a guide for curriculum development: An example from introductory electricity.  Part I: Investigation of student understanding. American Journal of Physics, 60, 994-1003.

Shaffer, P. and McDermott, L. (1992). Research as a guide for curriculum development: An example from introductory electricity. Part II: Design of instructional strategies.  American Journal of Physics, 60, 1003-1013.

Cohen, R., Eylon, B., Ganiel, U. (1983). Potential difference and current in simple electric circuits: A study of students’ concepts. American Journal of Physics, 51, 407-412.

Heller, P.M. and Finley, F.N. (1992). Variable Uses of Alternative Conceptions: A Case Study in Current Electricity. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29, 259-275.