University of California, Berkeley

Physics H7C: Physics for Scientists and Engineers
(Honors Series)
Spring 2013  
Instructor: Yury Kolomensky

Course Announcement


The Honors Program in lower-division physics at the Berkeley Physics Department has consistently represented one of its most successful teaching efforts. Building on the work originally done to create the famous Berkeley Physics Series books, the aim has been to present a set of introductory courses equal to the best taught anywhere from the standpoint of breadth, depth, and adherence to the scientific principle.

H7C will cover special relativity, wave and geometric optics, quantum physics, and their applications. The same topics are covered in the regular Physics 7B class. The difference is in depth, challenges, and class size. Here you should expect to work harder, (hopefully) learn more, be among some of the best students in math, sciences, and engineering, and be constantly challenged and stimulated both by the course material and by interactions with instructors and your classmates. I hope that by the end of the course you would

  • Develop a taste for the elegance in the formulation of the physical principles
  • Learn to distinguish fundamental principles of physics from their routine consequences
  • Appreciate the difficulties and limits of the current physics understanding, and directions of the modern physical sciences.
I should also mention that it is not uncommon to transfer from the Honors class to the regular 7C and vice versa during the first few weeks of the semester.

My style is rather informal, and I encourage you to be active in class (class size is a big plus here). While attending all lectures and discussion sections is not required, you are strongly encouraged to come to class -- after having read the required sections of the textbook, so that you can ask intelligent questions. Likewise, make sure to work out your homework problems. Problem solving is an important part of the physics education, and it is equally important for a physicist to be able to solve formal problems and be able to analyze "real life" situations. As in my previous Honors classes, I will be offering you a choice of homework problems with a varying degree of difficulty. Historically, there is a clear correlation between students' effort in homeworks and their performance on the exams, this should be an additional motivation for you.

In short, if you feel that you

  • Enjoyed the first year physics courses (7AB/H7AB) and were reasonably good at it, and have good aptitude toward math
  • Are not particularly worried about surviving a physics course, and are willing to work harder for the grade
  • Want to learn physics in a stimulating and challenging environment
then H7C is for you !

  H7C, Spring 2013
MWF 9:00-10:00, 3 LeConte

        Yury G. Kolomensky
yury (at)
UCB Campus: 301F LeConte, (510)642-9619
LBNL: 50-6026, (510)486-7811