8.03SC | Fall 2016 | Undergraduate

Physics III: Vibrations and Waves

Instructor Insights

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Instructor Insights

"I decided to include a lot of demos during my lectures because I believe that to learn physics you have to know how to convert everything into mathematics, (…) make predictions, and, finally, compare predictions to experimental data. Demonstrations (…) show that the mathematics we cover in class (relate) to what nature does in physical systems."
— Yen-Jie Lee

Below, Professor Yen-Jie Lee describes various aspects of how he teaches 8.03 Physics III: Vibrations and Waves.

Curriculum Information


18.02 Multivariable Calculus and 8.02 Electricity and Magnetism

Requirements Satisfied


8.03 may be applied toward a Bachelor of Science in Physics.


Every fall and spring semester


The students’ grades were based on the following activities:

  • 25% Problem sets
  • 20% Exam 1
  • 20% Exam 2
  • 35% Final exam

Student Information


71 students

Breakdown by Year

Mostly sophomores

Breakdown by Major

Mostly physics majors

Typical Student Background

Some students had backgrounds in advanced mathematics.

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

  • Met 2 times per week for 1.5 hours per session; 27 sessions total.
  • Class sessions included lectures, demonstrations, and time to ask the professor questions.


  • Met 2 times per week for 1 hour per session; 28 sessions total.
  • Smaller groups of students met with class staff to work through problem sets and to ask questions about the course material.

Out of Class

  • Outside of class, students worked on problem sets and prepared for exams.

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Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2016
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Lecture Notes
Problem Sets
Instructor Insights