Physics 106N - How Things Work - Spring, 1997

Course Rules 

The rules in this list may seem rather harsh and arbitrary but they are essential to maintaining the integrity of the course. I have stories to tell about each rule. Some of these stories are predictable and easy to imagine while others are stranger than fiction. Although most of you will never come up against any of the rules, I have a handful of students each semester who just cannot seem to avoid them. If these rules are going to cramp your style, then this class is probably not for you. -- Lou Bloomfield 

Written Work: 

  1. All homework must be placed either in the locked box in the lecture hall or in the locked drop box outside my office. Homework turned in elsewhere will not be accepted. 
  2. Exam booklets and bubble sheets must be placed in the boxes at the front of the lecture hall upon completion. Exam materials not placed in these boxes will not be accepted. 
  3. I never lose any written work that is turned in properly. Claims that I have lost your problem set, term paper, or examination will not be considered under any circumstances. 

Grading and Regrading:

  1. All grading is final except in cases where the scores were added or recorded incorrectly. However, I may, at my option, regrade materials that are brought to me in person during the 48 hour period after the class at which those materials were returned. I will not regrade illegible problem sets or term papers that have not been adequately proofread.
  2. Regrading may result in lower scores. If you bring in a friend's paper for comparison, that person must sign the paper to indicate that they understand that I will also regrade it and that its score may be lowered as a result.
  3. No regrading will be done after the semester grades have been sent out via email.
  4. The final exam will not be regraded under any circumstances.
  5. I will not tell people how close they came to the next higher semester grade. That information only promotes grade grubbing, a practice that I strongly discourage.

Problem Sets: 

  1. Problem sets should be written neatly in ink or typed. Separate sheets must be stapled together and your name must be written on all sheets. Check that your problem sets are complete. Missing sheets will not be accepted later. 
  2. I will not regrade a problem set that was written in pencil under any circumstances. 
  3. Problem sets may be discussed together but you must write them up separately and in your own words. Points will be deducted from all problem sets that are found to have similar answers, regardless of who obtained those answers from whom. 
  4. Problem sets are due on Mondays: PS 1 is due on February 3, 1997, PS 2 is due on March 24, 1997, and PS 3 is due on April 7, 1997. I will deduct 10% of the numerical grade for each day a problem set is late. Once the solutions have been posted on the fifth day (Friday afternoon), the problem sets are no longer acceptable under any circumstances. 
  5. If you find someone else who has a nearly identical answer but received more credit than you, I will not necessarily raise your grade. That person may have received more than they deserved and the proper action would be for me to lower that person's grade. 

Term Paper: 

  1. The term paper is due on Monday, April 21, 1997, in class. I will deduct one grade step (A becomes A-) for each day the term paper is late (including Saturday and Sunday). After the seventh day (Monday, April 28, 1997), term papers are no longer acceptable under any circumstances. 
  2. Term papers must be written in your own words. Copying material essentially word-for-word from another source without crediting it as a quotation is plagiarism and will not be tolerated. Extensive quotations make for a very poor paper. 
  3. You may not work together with anyone on an individual term paper. If you are writing a group term paper, you may work together only with the 1 or 2 other members of your group. 
  4. Term papers may not be written on objects that are part of the course syllabus. A list of such forbidden topics is part of this packet. 
  5. I will not assist in topic selection for the term papers after Monday, April 14, 1997.
  6. You may not use the same topic you used in a previous semester of How Things Work.


  1. The midterm exam will be given on Friday, February 28, 1997, from 1:00PM to 1:50PM. The final exam will be given on Wednesday, May 7, 1997, from 9:00AM to 12:00Noon. If you miss either exam without prior permission from me, you will receive a score of 0 for that exam. There are no exceptions except fully documented medical emergencies that prevent you from telephoning me or my answering machine. In case of a family emergency you or the deans must notify me at (804) 924-6595 before the end of the exam. 
  2. The exams must be taken in either Room 203, Room 204, or Room 205 of the Physics Building, unless authorized by me. Under no circumstances may exam materials ever leave these rooms during the exam. If you remove your exam materials from one of these rooms, even briefly, you will receive a score of 0 on the exam. 
  3. If you miss the start of an exam, you will still be expected to turn the exam in at the regular time. If you miss the exam entirely, you will receive a 0. 
  4. I will consider compelling reasons for an alternative midterm time only up until Friday, February 21, 1997. After that time, you must take the midterm exam as scheduled. 
  5. I will consider compelling reasons for delaying your final exam only up until Wednesday, April 30, 1997. After that time, you must take the midterm exam as scheduled. You must also get permission from the Dean. All late finals will be given as 1 hour oral examinations. 


  1. I will not sign any petitions to change the grading from Credit/No-Credit to Letter Grade or vice versa after the Credit/No-Credit deadline. Check your registration form carefully. 
  2. I will not sign any petitions to add into the course after the Add deadline. Check your registration forms carefully. 
  3. I do not give any extra credit work. 
  4. Permission for exceptions from the normal classwork schedule must be requested in advance. I will not make exceptions after the fact. 
  5. I will not fail a student who makes a serious effort at all the assigned work. If you do not turn in a homework assignment or do not take an exam, you may fail the course. 
  6. I will immediately fail any student who submits for a grade work that is not their own or permits another student to do so.
  7. I will immediately fail any student who submits for a regrade any work that was modified after it was graded. 
  8. I will immediately fail any student who lies to me in an effort to improve their grade or to obtain any special consideration or exception from the normal classwork schedule. 
  9. I will immediately fail any student who attempts to intimidate me or harass me in an effort to improve their grade or to obtain any special consideration or exception from the normal classwork schedule. 
  10. I will consider any of the following actions to be an honor violation and will submit them to the honor committee for prosecution: (1) cheating on an exam, (2) plagiarism on the term paper, (3) copying from another student's term paper, (3) copying from another student's problem set without their permission, (4) vandalism of or tampering with the drop box outside my office.
  11. The honor pledge is implicit for the term paper and the exams. By turning in any one of those items, with or without a written pledge, a student agrees to be bound by the honor pledge and the honor system with regard to that item.