PHY121, Physik II FS2020


Lecturer : Prof. Ben Kilminster
Lectures ( PHY121.1 ):

Thursday, 08:00 - 09:45     (Y16-G-15)

Friday, 08:00 - 09:45

Exercise sessions ( PHY121.2 ): Thursday, 13:00 - 14:45    (First : 27th February 2020)


Course information sheet

References & texts

The following texts can be used as reference.  

  • Paul A. Tipler, Gene Mosca: Physics for scientists and engineers.  
  • Wolfgang Demtröder: Experimentalphysik 1 und 2 (goes into more depth)

Further recommended literature

Additional resources to help with mathematics. 

  • MHP: Mathematische Hilfsmittel (PDF, 587 KB) (in german) derivatives, integrals, series expansions, statistics, vector algebra, coordinate transformations, tensors, ... )
  • C.B. Lang und N. Pucker: Mathematische Methoden der Physik, Spektrum Verlag, Heidelberg und Berlin.

Formelsammlung Mittelschulphysik (PDF, 396 KB) is also useful for usage of basic formulas.

Weekly exercises

Exercises will be posted on OLAT here.  Please register and log in immediately to see if you can access the course,  If not, check that your UZH email is registered properly. 

Exercises will be assigned every Wednesday, and will be due the following Wednesday at 18:00. Your teacher assistant (TA) will let you know where to submit your exercises. 

The first exercise sheet will be assigned on February 19th, and should be submitted to the TA on Feb. 26th.   The solutions to the first exercise sheet will be presented on Feb. 27th.

Exam schedule

The final exam schedule is located hier

Mid-term exam :  Complete at home in week 7.  

Final exam :  Mittwoch, 24. Juni 2020 10:00-12:00 Uhr Hörsäle 19, 20.

Exam guidelines  :

Exams will be similar in style to the weekly exercises (conceptual questions). A formula sheet with all needed equations will be provided to you in the exams.  The formula sheet will be sent to you at least a week before the exam to help you study.  We will provide you with paper and a calculator if needed.  The final exam will be printed in english and in german.   The mid-term will be based on the first six lectures, and the first five written exercises. 

The following are forbidden in exams : 

  • Any means of communication (mobile phones, smart watches, etc.)
  • Any kind of calculator, laptop, or electronic storage device
  • Any additional formula sheets or written notes. 


Your grade is based on the following assessments : 

  • 0%  mid-term examination (due to Corona-virus) this will be treated as a weekly exercise instead of toward your final grade. 
  • 100%  final examination
  • Weekly exercises (A minimum grade of 50% on the exercises is required to take the final exam. )

Attendance is expected and recorded for exercise sessions.  The mid-term and final examination will be composed of questions similar to those presented in the lectures and the weekly exercises. 

Outline of course

  1. Electricity
  2. Magnetism
  3. Dynamic electric and magnetic fields
  4. Electromagnetic waves
  5. Thermodynamics

Lecture information



Script  PHY121-FS2020-Script-Final (PDF, 3875 KB) (updated June 21, 2020)
Lecture schedule (25 lectures) Topics          PDF of chalkboard Additional resources

Week 1  (Feb. 20-21, 2020)

Electric charge, Coulomb force, Electric field


PHY121-FS2020-Week1-L1 (PDF, 5704 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week1-L2 (PDF, 9600 KB)

script updated in above link

Week 2 (Feb. 27-28, 2020)

Gauss' law, conductors, Electric potential

PHY121-FS2020-Week2-L1 (PDF, 9264 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week2-L2 (PDF, 10039 KB)

script updated in above link

Week 3 (Mar. 5-6, 2020) Electric potential, capacitors, dielectrics

PHY121-FS2020-Week3-L1 (PDF, 7077 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week3-L2 (PDF, 7959 KB)

Link to video on OLAT

Week 4 (Mar. 12-13, 2020)

Electrodynamics; current; resistance; circuits with V, I, R; RC circuits

PHY121-FS2020-Week4-L1 (PDF, 6543 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week4-L2 (PDF, 12364 KB)

Link to video of lecture

Week 5 (Mar. 19-20, 2020)

Magnetic field, Lorentz force from moving charges or a current-carrying wire in B-field, magnetic moment, magnetism, Hall effect, B-field from moving charges/current-carrying wires

PHY121-FS2020-Week5-L1 (PDF, 13601 KB)

PHY120-FS2020-Week5-L2 (PDF, 8220 KB)

Script updated. Video for lectures available on OLAT. 

Week 6 (Mar. 26-27, 2020)

Biot Savart Law, Ampere's law, magnetic flux, Faraday's law, Lenz's law, motional EMF, Eddy currents

PHY121-FS2020-Week6-L1 (PDF, 8027 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week6-L2 (PDF, 17329 KB)

Script updated. Video available on OLAT.
Week 7 (April 2-3, 2020)

inductance, alternating current generators. circuits with inductors  (LR, LC, LCR), energy stored in a magnetic field, displacement current, review of the four Maxwell's equations, quantized description of magnetic moment, paramagnetic, diamagnetic, ferrormagnetic materials

PHY121-FS2020-Week7-L1 (PDF, 10284 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week7-L2 (PDF, 9011 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week7-Supplemental (PDF, 14369 KB)

The supplemental lecture notes are on AC circuits.  This is an extra topic for interested people. I will do some experiments in class to explain. 

Week 8 (April 9, 2020)

  Holiday on April 10th

Lecture on the method of images in electrostatics. 

Summary of lecture on AC circuits. Experiments on AC circuits.

Review of Maxwell's equations.  Displacement current.

Thermodynamics: Intro.

PHY121-FS2020-Electrostatics-images (PDF, 7470 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week8-L1-part1 (PDF, 3870 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week8-L1-part2 (PDF, 2205 KB)

Arash gives a lecture on how to solve some electrostatic problems (see video on OLAT).


See supplemental lecture from week 7 on AC circuits. 

Holiday April 16-17th
Easter break


Week 9 (April 23-24th, 2020) 

Thermodynamics : microscopic properties.

Heat is energy.  Heat <-> Work.

First law of thermodynamics. 

PHY121-FS2020-Week9-L1 (PDF, 12786 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week9-L2 (PDF, 8557 KB)


Week 10 (April 30, 2020)

Holiday on May 1st

Heat energy transfer.  Heat conduction and expansion, radiation, convection.  Phase changes. Heat capacity. Relationship of temperature and internal energy for gases. 

PHY121-FS2020-Week10-L1 (PDF, 14950 KB)


Week 11 (May 7-8, 2020)

Heat capacity in gas, adiabatic processes, C_p, C_v, Joule-Thomson effect. Gas cycle doing work. Heat engine, steam engine, combustion engine, Otto cycle. 

PHY121-FS2020-Week11-L1 (PDF, 11195 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week11-L2 (PDF, 9864 KB)

Cycle-Lifting-weight-with-gas (PNG, 2436 KB)

Cycle-combustion-engine (PNG, 2691 KB)

Combustion-engine-animated (GIF, 3665 KB)

Steam-engine-animated (GIF, 646 KB)

steam-engine-diff-animated (GIF, 44 KB)

Stirling-motor-1chamber-animated (GIF, 116 KB)


Week 12 (May 14-15, 2020)

Stirling Motors (type A, type B).  Second law of thermodynamics.  Carnot efficiency, refrigeration cycles, COP, Peltier effect. 

Entropy as a thermodynamic value. Entropy as number of states.

PHY121-FS2020-Week12-L1 (PDF, 6988 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week12-L2 (PDF, 10268 KB)


Week 13 (May 22, 2020)

Holiday on Thursday, May 21st

 Introduction to electromagnetic waves and optics.  PHY121-FS2020-Week13-L1 (PDF, 8611 KB)  
Week 14 (May 28-29, 2020) Electromagnetic waves and optics.  Wave superposition, refraction, interference, diffraction. 

PHY121-FS2020-Week14-L1 (PDF, 8789 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Week14-L2 (PDF, 30528 KB)

PHY121-FS2020-Optics-figures (PDF, 735 KB)

polarization-absorbers (GIF, 812 KB)