**What topics are covered in this class?**- waves, especially sound and light
- interference
- standing waves and musical instruments
- optics and lenses
- electric fields
- magnetic fields
- intro to quantum mechanics

**What math skills will I need?**- using algebra to manipulate and solve an equation
- graphing sine waves
- how changing a function changes its graph
- trigonometric functions
- radian measure of angles
- basic geometry, especially similar triangles and congruent angles
- vector arithmetic
- conceptual meaning of derivative and integral

**What materials should I have for this class?**- Beyond the usual pencil and paper, you will definitely want graph paper and a straightedge. You will be doing a lot of graphing and you want it to be as precise as possible. If you don't think you'll be using a whole pack of graph paper, split one with some friends. Alternatively you can print out custom graph paper of whatever grid size you want at Incompetech.
- A few different colors of pen/pencil (or a fancy click-pen with several colors) can be a very good way to write your notes in a more organized way, and to distinguish between several curves on the same graph.
- Doing arithmetic in your head is impressive, but to speed things up you'll probably want a calculator. A scientific calculator will be enough for most purposes; if you want to do anything with graphing, matrices, statistics, programming, etc., I'd recommend a TI-82/83/84.
- Your T.A. will occasionally give you stuff to take home and experiment with (light bulbs, lenses, magnets, etc.), so you might want a pouch or small box to keep those organized and make sure they don't get lost.

**What's the difference between a particle and a wave?**- Both involve some sort of motion, but exactly WHAT is moving?
- Particle motion means the OBJECT itself is moving forward.
- Wave motion means that individual particles may be oscillating a little bit (usually forward/backward or up/down), but their oscillations all together form a DISTURBANCE that is propagating forward. That traveling disturbance also carries with it ENERGY and INFORMATION (such as wavelength, amplitude, period, etc.).

- Both involve some sort of motion, but exactly WHAT is moving?
**What types of waves are there?**- Transverse wave: the particles oscillate perpendicular to the direction of wave propagation. Imagine wiggling one end of a horizontal Slinky up and down.
- Longitudinal wave: the particles oscillate parallel to the direction of wave propagation. Imagine wiggling one end of a horizontal Slinky forward and backward (along the length of the Slinky itself).
- Torsional wave: the particles rotationally oscillate around the axis of wave propagation. Imagine repeatedly twisting one end of a horizontal Slinky clockwise and counterclockwise.
- Pressure wave: alternating bands (or shells) of high pressure and low pressure spreading out through a gas or liquid. The usual example is sound waves in air or water. In this case we're not really treating it as particles whose location is being disturbed; what's being disturbed is the pressure itself (above and below standard atmospheric pressure).
- Electromagnetic wave: also known as light (including visible light, ultraviolet, infrared, radio waves, microwaves, X-rays, etc.). What's oscillating here is not a physical object, but rather electric fields and magnetic fields. We'll look into this in more detail later in the quarter.

**This FAQ is a work in progress.**If you have any questions that are not addressed here, please ask.- Don't forget to check my general FAQ as well.