Fundamentals of Physics for Engineers (PHY1124 – Undergraduate Course)

Motivation of the course

The modern science, in the current form, has been developed during last 400 years. It is impossible to learn these developments in science historically. Thus, they will be chosen selectively for your undergraduate programme by the faculty and your school. Fundamentals of Physics for Engineers (PHY1124) covers two important subjects in physics; classical mechanics, and electromagnetism. In this course, undergraduate students will learn the basic concept and formalism to describe the motion of objects. In particular, they study basic concepts of kinematics, reference frames, relative motion, Newton’s laws of motion, forces, and the concepts of work, energy and power. Furthermore, they learn fundamentals of electrostatics, such as Coulomb and Gauss’ laws, and magnetostatics (Bio-Savart).

This course is intended for undergraduate students in electrical and computer engineering.

Main textbook

The course will be based on Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics (9th Edition) by Raymond A. Serway and John W. Jewett. Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 23, 24, 25, 29, and 30 of the book will be covered during this course.

Class meeting time

The lectures will be held each Monday from 8:30 to 10:00 and Thursday 10:00 to 11:30 in 800 King Edward (STE), G0103. This course has a DGD, which will be held each Tuesday from 16:00 to 17:30 in MHN 257. DGD will be conducted by graduate assistants. Though DGD sessions are not mandatory, they are strongly recommended. It will help students to improve their problem-solving skills.


The course grade will be determined based on (1) assignments and activities during lectures (15%), (2) midterm examinations (30%), and (3) final examination (55%). Note that in addition to the standard grading there will be an optional (5%) assigned to pre-lecture quizzes. 

The physics laboratory is run independently from the rest of the course. To learn about the duties and scheduling please visit the laboratory website on virtual Campus or communicate with Dr Michael C. H. Wong (STE 3040).

After the semester is over the final grade for the whole course will be calculated using the following formula

Final grade = 0.8 × Course grade [out of 100] + 0.2 × Lab grade [out of 100]

Letter grades submitted to Faculty:

90-100 85-89.99 80-84.99 75-79.99 70-74.99 66-69.99 60-64.99 55-59.99 50-54.99 40-49.99  0-39.99
A+ A A B+ B C+ C D+ D E F


There are two midterm examinations for this course; one will be taken at 10:00-11:30 of the Thursday, February 8th, and the second one will be taken at 10:00-11:30 of the Thursday, March 22nd. Students are not allowed to use books, notes, and calculator for all exams associated with this course. The midterm with a lower score will be worth 10% of the course grade.

  • Midterm -1 (8th of February 2018) [SOLUTION].
  • Midterm -2 (22nd of March 2018) [SOLUTION].
  • Final Exam (24th of April 2018) [SOLUTION].


There will 10 bi-weekly assignments, which will be available below in a PDF format (the link will be activated two weeks before the deadline). The assignment sheets have to be printed out and filled. The completed assignments will have to be returned to the drop-off box in the STE building (4th floor) by 18:00 of the date specified below. Each assignment is comprised of 4 to 5 problems of equal value, which the total point value for all assignments will be announced and converted to 15 % at the end.

Lecture notes

The course notes will be available a week after each lecture and can be downloaded via the following links:

Pop quiz

There will be pre-lecture pop quizzes with a marking weight given above –  Pop quizzes and their answers will be available a week after each quiz and can be downloaded via the following links:

  • Quiz -1 [QI].
  • Quiz -2 [QII]. 
  • Quiz -3 [QIII].
  • Quiz -4 [QIV].
  • Quiz -5 [QV].

Important notes

Academic Fraud

What is academic fraud?

Academic fraud is defined as “any act by a student that may result in a distorted academic evaluation of that student or of another student.” Academic fraud occurs if you do any of the following:

  • Plagiarize (copy) or cheat in any way (for more information on plagiarism and how you can avoid it, see the academic fraud section in the student guides).
  • Submit work you have not completely written yourself (with the exception of quotations and references). This can include an assignment, an essay, a test, an exam, a research report or a thesis, whether you present your work in writing, orally or in another form.
  • Present research data that has been falsified or made up in any way.
  • Attribute a statement of fact or reference to a made-up source.
  • Submit the same work or a large part of the same work in more than one course, or a thesis or other work that has been presented elsewhere without the prior approval of the appropriate professors or academic units.
  • Falsify or misrepresent an academic evaluation, using a forged or altered supporting document or facilitating the use of such a document.
  • Undertake any other action for the purpose of falsifying an academic evaluation.

Missed Midterm

The only valid reasons for missing the midterms are:

  1. Sickness confirmed by the note from a physician(s). The note has to be dated on the date of the test or before it, and has to clearly indicate that student was sick on the date of the test.
  2. Serious injury and/or hospitalization – the note from the hospital will be needed.
  3. Representing university as an athlete, scholar or researcher.

If you missed the midterm examination(s), please contact me as soon as you are back in school. I would prefer to see you in person – visit me with the original doctor’s note at my office ARC463 (during office hours or by appointment).

  1. I will need to have Xerox-copy of the doctor’s note, stapled to the brief letter explaining your situation.
  2. Your name, student number, date of the test etc. should be stated clearly in your letter.
  3. I will decide on the form of the supplementary evaluation after all of the students who missed the test have contacted me.

Your make-up midterm test will happen at the end of the semester-last week of classes.

It is student’s responsibility to attend supplementary midterm:
I will announce the time date and place during the lecture within last week of classes as well as on the class website.

Feedback comments after the Final Exam (orders are totally random)

I enjoyed this course as a whole, but I would have much liked I’d the assignments were handed back to the students. This way, we would know which topics and concepts we needed work in.


Thank you I love teachers that love the subject matter


Hello professor Karimi, I would like to say thank you for this informative semester. Your teaching style was excellent as it incorporates real life examples using visuals that you either draw or perform in class. These examples really helped me as I am a more visual learner. One thing that I think would help students like myself to understand the course material better is by mentioning and highlighting the key formulas and equations that we should know. This is because during the class when you start to derive formulas it is easy to get lost and forget what is most important. Thank you!


thank u professor karimi u are the GOAT professor!!

the assignments were honestly so weird like i swear sometimes we had to use equations that we hadn’t learned in class yet to solve some of the questions.
the notes that were posted online were really messy maybe next year you could make them more neat.

i think that’s it, that’s the only criticisms i have !!!

i had some really dumb answers to questions during class but u never made me feel dumb and you always explained solutions in a way that were never condescending. we (the class) always agree that u are looking out for us at the end of the day and u genuinely want us to learn more about physics. it’s hard not to be so enthusiastic about the course material when you are always so happy to be teaching us during lectures.

honestly i liked this course so much that I’m considering adding a minor in physics to my degree even though i’m dumb!! u inspired me to believe that even dumb students like me can do well in physics! :)!!
i still don’t understand why people paid money to see Bill Nye this semester when they could come to your office hours FOR FREE !!!also your outfits are really good but i think you should get a white shirt that isn’t so sheer that’s the only thing. your shoes are always really nice though. best dressed professor at uottawa for sure.

in conclusion this course was 8/8 no deb8 i appreci8 u and your teaching! you are the GOAT first year physics professor ! i hope to be able to take a course with you again in the future!



Make assignments questions shorter and midterm


I like how Ebrahim use his own passionate voice instead of the microphone to address the lectures. I like how he interacts with us, and how he often leaves some mistakes intentionally just to let us find out. I like the suits he always wears.


Thank you for looking out for us. The first time I ever spoke to you one to one you emailed ME about extra time from SASS, which was definitely my responsibility and not yours as a professor, in which I greatly appreciate your effort to look out for every single student. Honestly I was going to drop the course after receiving a 40% on the first midterm, but you told us after that if you actually went to class and wrote the assignments you would be able to decently in the course, so I trusted you because I knew you were looking out for us and I ended up doing decently on the second midterm and stuck through the course. If I did not do so i’d end up being 1 course behind and not being able to take the courses next year.

So Thank you very much for being mentor to my work ethic.



The only thing I am complaining are the lecture times. I would have performed much better if it’s not a morning class.


Professor Karimi is an excellent professor! He is passionate, humorous and always well prepared for the lecture. I like the way Prof Karimi teach, mechanism rather than just meaningless calculation. I feel involved and encouraged in the class and always happy to be in his class. Also, I did learn a lot things in the class. And he is a good grader. Can’t love him more.


very good prof


The material learned in the lectures had very little related to our assignments and midterms. Need more examples in class and more practice questions to do st home




I really loved the way prof. Karimi taught the content of this course. It was really interesting to see how the physics is closely related to our real world.


no comments


i like your no cell phone rule. it makes me listen in class and also explanations of course material in class is very thorough




Karimi marks really hard for midterm 1, only reason i got a 92 on midterm 2 was because his TA marked it.


Given that it was a review of my grade 12 Physics. It was easy to cope with the course syllabus.


These lectures have been the most energized classes of my semester and I commend the professor on his interests in making sure we understand the material.




I am so happy that you are not filling up the board, otherwise I don’t I would have came to your class 830 in the morning, I pretty much attended all of your class, and I forced my self to wake up 🙂 Which means you have some skill to attract student to come to class.


The first midterm was marked insanely hard. I was disappointed when we could not get it dropped when instead only 5% of the weighting is reduced. The assignments have nothing to do with the material taught in class because the lectures are far too abstract. We have never done questions similar to the assignment in class. All we have done is deriving equations which makes me confused all the time. I would’ve learned the material faster if we had numbers involved in the questions practiced in class.


Really enjoyed the course.