Physics 218, Fall 2003

Waves and Thermodynamics

Welcome to Cornell's Physics 218, the third semester of the Honors physics sequence, on waves and thermodynamics. Lectures this semester are being given by Prof. James Sethna 11:15 - 12:05 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in Rockefeller 230. Sections will be taught by Sarah Buchan (section 1) Wednesday 2:30-3:20 in Rockefeller 104 and (section 2) Tuesday 1:25-2:15 in Rockefeller 128. We will have four labs, which will (tentatively) start on September 15, Monday evening 7:30-10:30 (section 1) and Tuesday afternoons 1:30-4:30 (section 2).


Lecturer: James Sethna,,, 255-5132, Clark 521, office hours immediately after class WF.

TA: Sarah Buchan, 255-5160, 401 Newman.

Lab TA: Ben Hunt, 254-2260, home 275-8228, A19 Clark.

Course Information

I've made up a tentative schedule for the course, describing the topics and reading for each lecture. We will be using simulations in some of the homeworks, using the programs pythag and huygens: you can download these for Macs, Windows, or Linux. No late homeworks will be accepted, but we will drop the lowest homework score: those with reasons for missing more than one homework should talk to the instructor. The labs in this course are pass-fail (make sure you get a signature from the lab instructor), but missing a lab will count directly against your final grade (one grade level for each missed lab). Go to your assigned lab unless you've checked with the lab instructor. Each student in this course is expected to abide by the Cornell University Code of Academic Integrity. Collaboration in this course is encouraged on the homeworks, although each student should independently write up the their own solutions.

Further information

Web page last modified: December 18, 2003

James P. Sethna,

Statistical Mechanics: Entropy, Order Parameters, and Complexity, now available at Oxford University Press (USA, Europe).