Department of Chemistry, Physics, & Geology

Fall 2024              Course: PHYS 201 (001: T,R 12:30-1:45, SIMS 209 ) and (002:ONLINE-Asynchronus) - General Physics I
Credit hours:
4                 Co-requisite:

Pre-requisite: Completion of General Education Quantitative Skills requirement with a grade of C or above. 


                       Course  Schedule


Professor: Dr. Ponn Maheswaranathan (Mahes), 213B Sims.
Office Hours: T,R 11 - 12:30 Sims 213B  (In-person) and T, R 3 - 4:30 PM (  Virtual BB  ) or by appointment.           
Cell Phone: 803-504-9399                 E-mail:

Textbook: College Physics, by OpenStax, Free Online Textbook,
Students need to register for one of the lab sections, PHYS 201L.
Physics laboratory will start during the second week, August 28 - 31.    

Course Description:

The PHYS 201-202 sequence covers the major branches of classical physics: PHYS 201 deals with mechanics, fluids, wave motion, and sound while PHYS 202 covers thermodynamics, electromagnetism, and optics. The course emphasizes understanding of fundamental physics concepts and principles as well as the development of conceptual and analytical problem solving skills. Physics concepts, principles, and mathematics (algebra and trigonometry) will be used in solving interesting and challenging real world problems. 

General physics I introduces students to the role of scientific reasoning in solving introductory physics problems (e.g. describing motion and calculating force, forces involved in circular motions, how automobile air bags reduce injury during a collision, and describing the laws that govern wave motion). They will apply the scientific methodologies of inquiry during the laboratory, PHYS 201L, and write well-reasoned conclusions. They will also be introduced to the history of scientific discovery (e.g., topics and devices are introduced with historical perspectives) and learn that the theories in physics evolve into laws after continuous re-evaluations and arguments. In addition they will see how the scientific advances made in a laboratory transforms into useful technological devices (e.g., the development of the transistor from vacuum tube to silicon chip). 

Course Objectives:

University-Level Competency 1:
Winthrop graduates think critically and solve problems. Winthrop University graduates reason logically, evaluate and use evidence, and solve problems. They seek out and assess relevant information from multiple viewpoints to form well-reasoned conclusions. Winthrop graduates consider the full context and consequences of their decisions and continually reexamine their own critical thinking process, including the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments.
PHYS201-201L contributes to the development of the first University Competency; Winthrop graduates think critically and solve problems.
The General Physics I course introduces students to the role of scientific reasoning via solving introductory physics problems (e.g., problem solving in kinematics with stopping distance of automobiles, solving equilibrium problems with free-body-diagrams, calculating the lifting force on an air plane, and determining the resonant frequencies of vibrating strings and air columns).

General Education Requirements:
Listed below are the fundamental student learning objectives (1 and 2,3,4,6) for natural science courses as well as examples of how they will be fulfilled in PHYS 201. Upon completing this course, students will be
1. Conversant with the following classical physics concepts: mechanics (eg., kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation, work, energy, power, rotational motion), fluids (eg., Archimedes’ principle, Pascal’s principle, and Bernoulli’s principle), wave motion, and sound. This competency will be assessed using homework, tests and final exam.
2. Able to apply the scientific methodologies of inquiry. (e.g., In the co-requisite laboratory, PHYS201L, students will use scientific methods of inquiry to design and perform experiments and investigations). The students’ ability to fulfill this requirement is assessed using their lab reports.
3. Able to discuss the strengths and limitations of science. (e.g., In the co-requisite laboratory, PHYS201L, students will use experimental error & accuracy during experimental design and data collection & analysis). The students’ ability to fulfill this requirement is assessed using their lab reports.
4. Able to demonstrate an understanding of the history of scientific discovery. (e.g., topics and devices are introduced with historical perspectives. They will see how the scientific advances made in a laboratory transform into useful technological devices: development of the transistor from vacuum tube to silicon chip). This competency will be assessed using tests and final exam.
6. Able to communicate about scientific subjects including (lab courses only) the defense of conclusions based on one’s own observations. (e.g., In the co-requisite laboratory, PHYS201L, students will write well-reasoned conclusions based on data and analysis of their experiments and investigations). The students’ ability to fulfill this requirement is assessed using their lab reports.

Writing Component: The General Education Writing Component will be incorporated into this course by requiring the following writing assignment of at least 10 pages: In the co-requisite laboratory, PHYS201L, students will perform 13 labs and write lab reports. In these lab reports, they will write conclusions, for at least 10 labs, for a total of at least 10 pages of writing. The students’ ability to fulfill this requirement is assessed using their lab reports. 25% of the course grade for PHYS 201 comes from PHYS 201L. 

 The Writing Center (Bancroft 242) provides a space where every Winthrop writer can find an interested, responsive reader. You are invited to utilize the Writing Center at a variety of stages in your writing processes: understanding assignment directions; brainstorming ideas; creating outlines; checking to see that your project specifically meets the directions specified by your instructor; exploring practical routes for revision and development; and adhering to format and style guides (e.g. APA, CBE, Chicago, and MLA). Our tutors can help you become conscious of, and proactive about, particular patterns that emerge in your written work and discuss strategies and resources you can use as you write, revise, and edit your own work. The center can also help with group work if the entire group is present. Additionally, the Writing Center website maintains a library of handouts and writing advice. To access these resources, learn more about the Writing Center tutors, and for detailed instructions on how to prepare for a tutorial, see our website: Visit to register for an account and schedule a face-to-face or online appointment. You can also call 803-323-2138 or walk in to Bancroft 242 to see if a tutor is available.

Statement concerning course management: Any student enrolled in courses at Winthrop regardless of modality (traditional in-person, online, hybrid, telepathy, ...) is entitled access to all campus resources. These resources include, but are not limited to, admissions counseling, recreational facilities, and health, library, and academic services. Questions regarding access to these resources should be directed to the assigned academic advisor.

 Counseling Services: Maintaining your mental health is necessary for your overall academic health, and Winthrop has resources to help you do so. Students are strongly encouraged to utilize WU Counseling Services if external concerns such as stress, identity issues, relationships, difficulty engaging in class or work, depression, anxiety, or others are impacting their ability to succeed academically. Counseling Services offers short term, confidential, free consultation and psychotherapy. If you have concerns about your mental health, you can meet or speak with a counselor the same day you call by utilizing the Center for Student Wellness Patient Portal ( or by calling the Front Desk at 803-323-2206 during business hours (M-F, 8:30a-5:00p). For concerns outside of business hours, you are encouraged to utilize your RA, RSC On-Call, Campus Police (323-3333), or a national hotline such as the National Lifeline (call or text 988). For more information about Counseling Services, Types of Appointments, and How to Make an Appointment, visit

COVID-19 Statement: Although COVID-19 has reached an endemic phase it is still important to remain vigilant as we face a recent rise in positive cases. As socially responsible members of this community, everyone is expected to engage in daily health self-monitoring, to stay home (residence hall or off-campus housing) from on-campus class, work, or activities if they begin experiencing any COVID-related symptoms. When experiencing any COVID-related symptoms, students are expected to contact Health Services by completing the QI form in the Patient Portal and respond to the nurse who will contact them with instructions. COVID positive residential students are required to follow their QI plan for 5 days of isolation off campus so be prepared with a back-up plan as well. By acknowledgement, you agree to Winthrop’s expectations of you regarding health monitoring and reporting.


COVID-Related Absence: Health Services will communicate with the student on what steps to take next, and if need be, the Dean of Students Office will receive absence verification for required isolation and quarantine. Students who verify their absences through the Dean of Students Office often minimize any academic impact caused by missed class time. Students retain a responsibility to communicate with instructors regarding missed work, and complete assignments in a timely manner as they are able. Regular communication with faculty is expected so that student progress in the course is not negatively impacted. Health Services will only provide dates of absence, not medical information. In person classes generally will not have a remote option; students should not expect to have remote access to the class lecture or discussion, even in the case of absence.    


Attendance and Participation:
Students are encouraged to follow all the lectures and to actively take part in classroom activities. Regular attendance and good participation efforts will help in the final letter grade assignment for borderline cases. Winthrop’s student class attendance policy, which stipulates that “attendance” is measured by course activity participation in online and/or in-person    learning modalities, will be followed. Not completing the assignments on or before due dates is considered as absence from the course.

Chapter sections, video lectures, questions, and problems are assigned for each lecture. It is important that you read the chapter and follow the lectures.     
After that you need to answer the assigned questions and solve problems. Homework will be administered using Blackboard. Get help when needed.     

Students with Disabilities/Need of Accommodations for Access:
Winthrop University is committed to providing accessible learning experiences and equal access to education for all students. The syllabus is available in alternate formats upon request. If you are a student with a disability (including mental health concerns, chronic or temporary medical conditions, learning disabilities, etc.) and you anticipate or experience academic barriers due to the condition, please contact The Office of Accessibility (OA) for information on accommodations, registration, and procedures. After receiving approval for accommodations through OA, please make arrangements with me as soon as possible to discuss your accommodations so that they may be implemented in a timely manner. OA contact information:; 803-323-3290; Macfeat House.

Winthrop’s Academic Success Center:
Winthrop’s Academic Success Center (ASC) is a free resource for all undergraduate students seeking to perform their best academically.  The ASC offers a variety of personalized and structured resources that help students achieve academic excellence, such as tutoring, academic skill development (test taking strategies, time management counseling, and study techniques), group and individual study spaces, and academic coaching.  The ASC is located on the first floor of Dinkins, Suite 106.  Please contact the ASC at 803-323-3929 or  For more information on ASC services, please visit

Winthrop’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards (ONCA) identifies and assists highly motivated and talented students to apply for nationally and internationally competitive awards, scholarships, fellowships, and unique opportunities both at home and abroad. ONCA gathers and disseminates award information and deadlines across the campus community, and serves as a resource for students, faculty, and staff throughout the nationally competitive award nomination and application process. ONCA is located in Dinkins 222B. Please fill out an online information form at the bottom of the ONCA webpage and email for more information.

Student Conduct Code: The policy on student academic misconduct is outlined in

Syllabus change policy: The instructor will make changes to this syllabus as deemed necessary for the progression of the course.

Tests & Final: Three tests (10% per test, total 30%) and a comprehensive final (25%) are scheduled as follows.


Tests and Final


Content Description

09- 14-23

Test #1

1,2, & 3

Kinematics in one dimension, Kinematics in two & three dimensions, and Projectile, Circular, & Relative Motions.  


Test #2

4,5,6, 7, & 8

Newton's laws of motion, Friction, Circular motion, Work, Energy, Power, Conservation of Energy, Center of Mass, and Momentum.

11-9-23  Test #3

9,10, & 11

Rotational Kinematics & Dynamics, Angular Momentum, Equilibrium, and Fluids.


16 & 17

Hooke's law, Simple Harmonic Motion, Wave motion, and Sound.


Final Exam

1-11, 16,17



Points & Grade:
Tests: 30%, Homework: 17%, Laboratory: 25%, Discussions : 3%, and Final: 25%.
The letter grade will be assigned as follows:

100% - 90% = A     89% - 87% = A-    86% - 84% = B+    83% - 80% = B           79% - 77% = B-   
    76%-74% = C+   73% - 67% = C     66% - 64% = C-     63%-60% = D             59%- 0%  = F
     [A to C-] = S