PHYSICS 1AH

Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Mechanics

Description: Lecture/demonstration, four hours; discussion, one hour. Enforced requisites: Mathematics 31A, 31B. Enforced corequisite: Mathematics 32A. Recommended corequisite: Mathematics 32B. Enriched preparation for upper-division physics courses. Same material as course 1A but in greater depth; recommended for Physics majors and other students desiring such coverage. P/NP or letter grading.

Units: 5.0
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Overall Rating 2.6
Easiness 1.7 / 5
Clarity 2.1 / 5
Workload 2.2 / 5
Helpfulness 2.9 / 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2017 - I took 1AH and 1BH as a second year chemistry major. My high school had not offered AP physics, but I got a 5 in AP Calc AB, transferred an A in Calc II from community college, got As in Math 32AB, 33A in my first year, and took 33B (also got an A) concurrently with 1AH. For reference: I got an A- in 1AH and a B in 1BH. These classes are hard. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- From what I could see, the ideal student for 1AH or 1BH would have: 1) taken AP Calc BC in their junior year of high school 2) taken multivariable calculus and linear algebra in their senior year of high school 3) gotten a 4 or 5 in both calculus-based AP Physics tests Most of the people in the class were not this ideal student, but several were (as first quarter freshmen) also in my math 33B section, and, like the other reviewer said, those fast track EE students were the real deal. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Content-wise, 1ABCH is divided up differently from 1ABC in this way: 1A covers mechanics through torques (not including oscillators), while 1AH covers all of this as well as changing mass systems (rockets, water wheels, snow plows); oscillations, including unstable, damped, and driven oscillators, systems of coupled harmonic oscillators (solved using eigenvalues, a math 33A technique), and the derivation of the wave equation from infinitely many coupled harmonic oscillators; and central forces/the many body problem. The textbook is An Introduction to Mechanics by Kleppner and Kolenkow, originally written for an MIT honors class. We covered chapters 1-7, 10, and 11. The textbook chooses not to include solutions, which is frustrating because many of the problems are unusual to set up in some way. There are lots of examples in each chapter, but the examples are also sometimes esoteric (solar sails!). Math-wise: the book says knowledge of differential equations is not necessary, but I found taking 33B concurrently very helpful for this class in particular. Light multivariable calculus is used for rigorous definitions of stuff, but the problems usually reduced to one dimension. Linear algebra showed up several times, especially in the coupled oscillators. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1B covers three weeks of oscillations and waves, then spends the next seven weeks working through electrostatics, DC circuits, and the lightest of touching on simple magnetic fields. But, 1BH is not content to settle for that, oh no. Skipping the SHO content, we spent five weeks on electrostatics (3 chapters in the book), then rushed through electromagnetism (chapters 4-10, skipping chapter 8 on AC circuits) in the five weeks after that. It was, frankly, very difficult. The book is Purcell and Morin’s Electricity and Magnetism, which makes the unfortunate (for us) choice of showing how magnetism derives from relativity in chapter 5 and using it throughout the book (most undergraduate E+M books, like Griffiths, don’t cover that material until the end). As a result, you essentially have to learn special relativity in the middle of the quarter to do well – luckily, the mechanics textbook that Morin also wrote was a helpful supplement. Electrostatics is also pretty difficult without a rigorous mathematical understanding of boundary value problems (which I did not have). The good news about the book: the problems are much more sensible than in the 1AH book, and most chapters include 20-30 completely worked out problems in the back. The text itself also does not jump off the tracks for solar-sail type diversions, so reading is much smoother. The course is very heavy on multivariable calculus (particularly math 32B content, like Stoke’s Theorem), but linear algebra and differential equations were not used very much. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1C starts by finishing electromagnetism in about four weeks, continuing through optics, then ending with a single chapter on special relativity. Since 1BH already covered all of E+M, 1CH becomes a class in optics (plus 3 weeks of special relativity at the end). The textbook is Eugene Hecht’s Optics, written for upper division physics students and very expensive. Since I am a chemistry major, I opted not to take this class, instead taking 1C and enjoying my curve advantage in already knowing the E+M and special relativity content. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As far as the professor: Professor Rosenzweig can be confusing at times, but he does a pretty decent job all around and obviously lives and breathes breathes physics. I found him much easier to follow in 1BH than 1AH because in 1AH, he tended to dive off-topic to mechanics problems that he found interesting, like the snow plow. He did not seem to enjoy just presenting the new content very much. In 1BH, outside of a 1 hour diversion into statistical mechanics to show why potential is not ‘exactly’ zero on a conducting surface, he seemed much more interested in the physics and mathematics involved, and his lectures were much better because of it. To theorize, I think the 1BH content is just much more relevant to the modern particle physicist. His problem sets are generally from the book, with maybe 1 or 2 additions that he wrote himself. The curves on exams jumped around wildly, but in general, you get an A or a B. I only went to office hours twice – they were generally scheduled from 2-5 PM on Wednesdays, when I had a lab conflict. Discussion was not really necessary, unless you wanted to see your graded homework covered in red marks (hehe). ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you feel unprepared for this class, I would recommend Chemistry 20AH, which I took as a freshman. It covers quantum mechanics in a lot of detail, so it will be intellectually rewarding for a physics/engineering major, but it is less prerequisite heavy (a tiny, tiny amount of multivariable calculus, some straightforward single-variable calculus). There is also the math honors series, but by all accounts, that series is very proof heavy. Anyway, to all incoming freshman: welcome to UCLA! And good luck.
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