PHY121, Physik II FS2021


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

Thursday, 08:00 - 09:45  ( Zoom room sent by email )

Friday, 08:00 - 09:45

Exercise sessions ( PHY121.2 ): Thursday, 13:00 - 14:45    (First : 4th March 2021)


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 25th, and should be submitted to the TA on Feb. 26th.   The solutions to the first exercise sheet will be presented on March 3rd.

Exam schedule

The final exam schedule is located hier

Mid-term exam :  Live, Thursday, April 15th, 13:00-14:45. Based on Weeks 1-6. Counts as homework.

Final exam :  Mittwoch, 30. Juni 2021 10:00-12:00 Uhr Hörsäle 20, 40.

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, 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-Kilminster-Script-Finalv5 (PDF, 3 MB) (last edited : June 2020)
Lecture schedule (25 lectures) Topics          PDF of chalkboard Additional resources

Week 1  (Feb. 25-26, 2021)

Electric charge, Coulomb force, Electric field, dipoles


PHY121-FS2021-Info-Links (PDF, 1 MB)

PHY121-FS2021-Week1-L1 (PDF, 2 MB)

PHY121-FS2021-Week1-L2 (PDF, 2 MB)


Week 2 (Mar.4-5, 2021)

Gauss' law, conductors, Electric potential

PHY121-FS2021-Week2-L1 (PDF, 2 MB)

PHY121-FS2021-Week2-L2 (PDF, 2 MB)

PHY111-FS2021-ClassPic (PNG, 6 MB)
Week 3 (Mar. 11-12, 2021) Electric potential, capacitors, dielectrics    

Week 4 (Mar. 18-19, 2021)

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

Week 5 (Mar. 25-26, 2021)

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    

Week 6 (Apr. 1, 2021)

Holiday April 2nd

Biot Savart Law, Ampere's law, magnetic flux, Faraday's law.


Holiday April 8-9th



Week 7 (April 15-16, 2021)


Lenz's law, motional EMF, Eddy currents


inductance, alternating current generators. circuits with inductors  (LR, LC, LCR), energy stored in a magnetic field.  Magnetization, magnetic moments of atoms.

Week 8 (April 22-23, 2021)

Quantized description of magnetic moment, paramagnetic, diamagnetic, ferrormagnetic materials

Displacement current, review of the four Maxwell's equations, 

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

Week 9 (April 29-30, 2021) 

Thermodynamics : microscopic properties.

Heat is energy.  Heat <-> Work.

First law of thermodynamics. 


Week 10 (May 6-7, 2021)


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

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


Week 11

Holiday May 13th

(May 14, 2021)

Heat engine, steam engine, combustion engine, Otto cycle. 

Week 12 (May 20-21, 2021)

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.


Week 13 (May 27-28, 2021)


Introduction to electromagnetic waves and optics.  

Electromagnetic waves and optics.  Wave superposition, refraction, interference, diffraction. 

Week 14 (June 3-4, 2021) Electromagnetic waves and optics.  Wave superposition, refraction, interference, diffraction.