Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

PHYSICS 501, FALL 2020





Prof. David Vanderbilt
Office: Serin E291
Phone: 445-9049
Office hours: TBA

Textbook and Syllabus:

You may also wish to consult the Book List for suggestions of other books appropriate to the level of this course.

In the fall semester, we will cover Shankar Chapters 1-7 and 9-15 (see Syllabus).

Lectures: Monday and Thursday, 10:20-11:40am, CCB-1203. Lecture should be as interactive as possible; you are definitely encouraged to ask questions, or express what is confusing you, in the lecture. Also, I strongly recommend that you read the corresponding textbook material before lecture, so that you can come prepared to ask questions about the points that you find unclear.

Homeworks: Since people usually "learn by doing," the homeworks are an extremely important part of the course experience. Homeworks will be assigned at intervals of 1 or 1.5 weeks; they will be graded and returned to you. See the guidelines for submitting homeworks.

Exams: There will be a midterm and a final. The midterm will be given in class, probably in late October. The final will be a two-hour exam during finals period; the date and time are yet to be determined.

Web site: If you are looking at a paper copy of this document, it is actually a printout of the course home page located at Please bookmark this location. It will be used frequently for listing homework assignments and communicating other details about the course.

Communication: My "posted office hours" are as listed above, but you are free to see me at other times as well. If it's a quick question, just drop in; otherwise it might be advisable to phone or email ahead to make an appointment. Also, feel free to contact me by email about any aspect of the course.

Grades: To arrive at the final grade I will do a numerical calculation first (with weights of approximately 40% for homeworks, 25% for the midterm, and 35% for the final). This will then be adjusted, based on factors like class participation, to arrive at a final letter grade.

Course Policies and Student Resources: Please read here for departmental and university information on various topics including

Back to Rutgers Physics Home Page

Please send any comments on this page to