Nature of the Course
Physics/Global Studies 280 is a non-technical course about the development of nuclear weapons and attempts to control them. Topics include the physics and design of nuclear weapons, the effects of nuclear explosions, including the probable consequences of nuclear war, and nuclear weapon delivery systems; current nuclear weapons, weapon programs, and arsenals; the threats these weapons pose, including the threat of nuclear terrorism; approaches to defending against nuclear-armed ballistic missiles; and efforts to control nuclear weapons and reduce the threat they pose.
Origins of the Course
Motivated by their concern about the dangers of nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war, a group of Illinois astronomy, nuclear engineering, and physics faculty volunteered to create this course in the Spring of 1982 as a public service. The faculty involved were Larry L. Smarr (Astronomy and Physics), Arthur B. Chilton (Nuclear Engineering), and Gordon A. Baym, Gary E. Gladding, John B. Kogut, Frederick K. Lamb, Christopher J. Pethick, Michael Stone, Jeremiah D. Sullivan, Jon J. Thaler, Albert Wattenberg, and Michael Wortis (Physics). The course was approved as a regular Physics course the next year and has been taught by Physics faculty every year since.
Physics/Global Studies 280 has two main objectives: (1) to enable you, whatever your background, to gain a basic understanding of the nature of nuclear weapons, the threat they pose to humankind, and possible ways to reduce and eventually eliminate this threat; (2) to enable you to improve your writing skills.
Physics/Global Studies 280 Web SiteThe Physics/Global Studies 280 web site is an essential resource and should be checked daily. It is accessible via the Physics/Global Studies 280 Home Page, which is located at http://online.physics. uiuc.edu/courses/phys280. The web site provides critical information, including reading and homework assignments, course announcements, and links to important course-related documents and web sites. The slides shown in the Lecture-Discussion sessions will usually be posted on the course web site within about 24 hours after each session ends. Slides, exams, and other materials from previous semesters are available on the course web site and are a valuable supplemental resource that you should exploit.
Prior to 2005, this course was called Physics/Global Studies 180. The web site of the current course provides links to Physics/Global Studies 280 and Physics/Global Studies 180 web pages from previous semesters that contain valuable resources. Please feel free to consult these, but be aware that some of this information is now out-of-date.
The writing assignments for the semester have been posted on the Writing Assignments page. Please print the details of these assignments and bring them to the relevant Monday Writing Labs.
Required TextbooksThe following required texts are now available at campus bookstores or online:
The following texts are required reading for the course, but you do not need to buy them because they are available online:
You will also be directed to fact sheets, charts, and articles that will supplement the information in the textbooks and presented in the slides shown in the Lecture-Discussion sessions. These materials will be made available via links on the course web site. To comply with fair use requirements, accessing some of them will require you to use your NetID and NetID Password. You are expected to read and understand this additional information.
Other Web Sites
In addition to the Physics/Global Studies 280 Web Site, many documents on topics covered in the course are available on governmental and non-governmental web sites. The quality and accuracy of these documents vary greatly. You should consult the course staff for guidance if you have any doubts. The Physics/Global Studies 280 Documents page provides links to some of the most authoritative and useful external web sites and documents. You are encouraged to bring to the attention of the course instructor and staff other useful web sites you find.
Your Essay, Research Paper Project, Writing Lab Participation, Quiz, and Exam scores will be posted in the secure online gradebook, as soon as they are available. The scores listed in the online gradebook are considered your official scores. You are strongly encouraged to check the posted scores as soon as possible, to ensure that no mistakes have been made. If you find a mistake, you please bring it to the attention of your Writing Lab instructor as soon as possible. You should retain the originals of all graded materials until you have received your final letter grade at the end of the course. Without these originals, it may not be possible to correct errors in the gradebook.
The course will roughly follow the following weekly cycle
The Writing Labs will be used to explain all the writing assignments and provide one-on-one help with these assignments. The Writing Labs are designed to help you think about the writing process and improve your writing skills. Activities will include writing and proofreading exercises and analysis and discussion of examples of good and bad writing. Your graded essays will be handed back to you in your Writing Lab and your TA will discuss the most common errors made in a given assignment and how to eliminate these errors. The Writing Labs will also be used to discuss assigned readings, material in the Handbook for Writers, and the current events discussed in the Lecture-Discussions.
Your TA will be happy to discuss your ideas with you and proposed organizations and structures of your writing assignments in the Writing Labs or in office hours, before or after you have completed these assignments, but they are not able to "put pen to paper" on drafts of your ungraded writing assignments. They will discuss your graded assignments with you.
The Writing Labs are not a substitute for the Lecture-Discussion sessions. The Writing labs will not cover the material covered in the Lecture-Discussions.
Your participation in the Writing Labs will be evaluated and you will be assigned a Writing Lab Participation Score for each Lab.
We will give 4 random quizzes during the semester testing the reading material.
Your writing lab score is worth 6% of the maximum possible score in the course, so be sure to prepare for and participate in all the Writing Labs!
Further details about how your Writing Lab Participation Score will be used to determine your course letter grade can be found here.
Lecture-Discussions will be used for lectures, demonstrations, and discussions of the basic course material. A few guest lectures by individuals with expertise in the subject matter of Physics/Global Studies 280 will be given during the semester.
Approximately once each week, about ten minutes of the Lecture-Discussion session will be used to discuss an important current event related to the course. You are strongly encouraged to ask questions and offer comments during these discussions. Your knowledge of the current events discussed in the Lecture-Discussion sessions will be tested by Lecture-Discussion Quiz questions (see below), by your participation in Writing Lab discussions of these events, and by questions about them on the Midterm and Final Exams.
Several times during most Lecture-Discussion sessions, the Instructor will ask you to discuss and answer or simply answer a specific question, using your iClicker. If you correctly answer 50% or more of the iClicker questions during a given session, you will receive the maximum possible Quiz credit (2 points) for that session. You can view the Quiz credit you have earned so far in Physics/Global Studies 280 in the online gradebook. At the end of the semester, your Quiz points will be converted to a percentage Quiz score by dividing by 2 points times the number of Lecture-Discussion sessions during the semester (28) and multiplying by 100. Your Lecture-Discussion Quiz score is worth 17% of the maximum possible exam score in the course.
Further details about how your Lecture-Discussion Quiz score will be used to determine your course letter grade can be found here.
Plagiarism and Cheating
We will not tolerate violations of academic integrity, such as plagiarism or cheating.
Article 1, Part 4 of the Student Code defines in detail what actions are considered infractions of academic integrity. These actions include cheating, fabrication, and plagiarism. Article 1, Part 4 also lists the penalties for infractions of academic integrity, which can be as severe as dismissal from the University. As the Preamble to Article 1, Part 4 explains, ignorance of the provisions of Article 1, Part 4 of the Student Code does not excuse violations of it.
Do not assume that you know what is and is not plagiarism or cheating. Many students who have committed serious violations of Article 1, Part 4 have done so because they failed to study it and were not clear about what is and is not allowed, even though Article 1, Part 4 was assigned reading in the first writing course that they used to satisfy the prerequisite for this course. For this reason Article 1, Part 4 is the first required reading assignment in Physics/Global Studies 280. You are personally responsible for reading carefully and understanding Article 1, Part 4.
All papers submitted in this course are scanned by plagiarism-detecting software.
Our plagiarism-detecting software will compare your paper with an international database that includes all papers submitted in Physics/Global Studies 280 during this semester and previous semesters as well as a very large collection of other writings (books, articles, essays, papers, etc.) by professional authors and students at Illinois and elsewhere. Your papers will also be reviewed carefully by the course staff for evidence of cheating, fabrication, or plagiarism. Do not plagiarize! You will be caught, and the penalties are serious.
Avoiding Common Mistakes
This section of the Student Handbook is intended to help you avoid common mistakes by highlighting important instructions that are given elsewhere in the Handbook but are frequently overlooked.
Each writing assignment has a strict page limit. Your paper must not be longer than this page limit, when printed in the format specified here and including the title, headers, and footers. To check this, you should print the exact version you are going to submit. If your paper is longer than the page limit when printed, the score it otherwise would have received will be marked down heavily.
Your paper must be printed double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font with 1.25" side margins and 1" top margins and .5" bottom margins. If your paper does not comply with these instructions, the score it otherwise would have received will be marked down heavily.
To receive full credit, the first page of your paper must include a header block at the top right-hand side of the page that lists your name (on the first line of the head block), the assignment code and your writing lab section (both on the second line of the header block). Also the first page must include the date you are submitting the paper just under the header block. The format of the assignment code, writing lab section, and the date must exactly match the example below. This block with the date underneath should look like this:
To receive full credit, you must type the title of your paper centered at the top of the first page.
To receive full credit, you must use a header to insert your name and the assignment code and your writing lab section in a block at the top right-hand side of the second and every subsequent page (if the assignment allows you two or more pages). This block should look like this:
To receive full credit, you must use a centered footer to insert the page number at the bottom of every page.
To receive full credit for your RE1, RE2v1, RE3v1, RE4, RE5, RPPv1, and RPv1 (and your Extra Credit Essay, should you choose to submit one), you must:
To receive full credit for your RE2v2, RE3v2, RPPv2, RPv1 and RPv2, you must turn in a paper copy of the paper by the end of class on the Thursday the assignment is due.
When you turn in the second version of a paper (or a paper with input from a peer or TA), you must staple the earlier, graded version(s) to the back of the second version. If this is not done, the second version cannot be graded, because we will not be able to determine whether you responded to the comments on the first version, and you will receive a score of zero on your second version (this course requires writing and revising the assigned essays).
If you discover that you failed to staple your first version to your second version when you turned in the second version, place your marked first version in the Physics 280 homework box as soon as possible; you may still be able to receive full or partial credit (see Late Submission).
Late papers will be accepted until 3:00 p.m. on the Friday after the Thursday the assignment was due, but 15 points will be deducted from the score of the paper if it was submitted late. No papers will be accepted after 3:00 p.m. that Friday and you will receive 0 points.
Learn from your mistakes on early papers and make sure you do not make the same mistakes on later papers. If you continue to make the same types of errors, your papers will be marked down very heavily. For further details, see our policy on recurring errors.
Two Versions of Every Writing Assignment
Physics/Global Studies 280 is an Advanced Writing course. Such a course requires writing with revision. Consequently two versions are required for all writing assignments, except your Extra Credit Essay, should you choose to submit one.
For the second version to be graded, the marked first version must be stapled to it.
Both versions of each writing assignment are considered equally important. Consequently your scores on the first and second versions of each essay will count equally toward your overall course score.
First Versions of Writing Assignments
Your first version (not your first draft!) of each writing assignment should be a polished paper that represents your very best effort. The graded first version will usually be returned to you at the Writing Lab meeting immediately following the date the paper was due. If you do not pick up your graded writing assignment in your Writing Lab, you must contact your TA to arrange a time to pick the assignment.
When you submit v1 you will receive a prompt by e-mail to peer review another student's essay. This will be 10% of your v2 grade. Peer reviews are due Monday at 10:00 a.m.
Second Versions of Writing Assignments
Your second, final version of each writing assignment should correct any errors in your first version and address all of the comments, criticisms, and suggestions made by the course staff in response to your first version.
As noted above, the second version of your assignment must have the marked first version stapled to it; if it does not, the second version cannot be graded and will be assigned a score of zero.
Here are some other points to keep in mind:
Learning From Good WritingOne way to improve one's writing is to study examples of good writing by others. Here are some examples of questions you might want to ask yourself about an essay, article, opinion piece, or other example of good writing:
Try analyzing one of the readings posted on the course web site using the approach outlined here. Analyze its structure as well as its content, using the questions listed above and any others you think are relevant.
Essay Revision and GradingWe will follow specific procedures in marking your essays and will ask you to follow specific procedures when revising them. These procedures are based on many years of experience helping students improve their writing.
Marking of essays
Instructions for revising essays
Eliminating recurring errors
You will occasionally make writing errors. To improve your writing, you must avoid repeating the same errors. To help you do this, we will keep track of your most frequent errors. The first time you make an error, we will deduct points appropriate for the seriousness of the error and we may mark it on your paper. If you make the same error in a subsequent paper, we will circle it, mark it as a second occurrence of the same type of error, and reduce your score by a larger amount. If you continue to make same type of error, your papers will be marked down heavily.
The goal is to make rapid progress in correcting bad writing habits and to eliminate recurring errors. If you study carefully the marks on your paper, keep your own list of the errors you have frequently made, consult with the course instructor or teaching assistants, and check carefully your subsequent essays to make sure you have not repeated an error, it is very unlikely that you will continue to make the same types of errors.
Writing Error Codes
In grading writing assignments, we will indicate writing errors and their nature using the error codes listed on the back flap of The Little, Brown Essential Handbook for Writers and the additional codes listed in this table:
Writing Assignment Grading RubricA description of the criteria used in assigning letter grades to writing assignments may be found here.
Writing Assignment Grading Scale
You will be required to write four short essays and revise essays 2, 3, and 4. Each essay will be held to a specific length limit, which will be listed on the assignment page. To check this, you should print the exact version you are going to submit. If your paper is longer than the page limit when printed, it will be given a score of zero.
Explicit citations of your sources will be required in all your essays as well as in your Research Paper, but you may use shortform citations in your essays, in order to save space. For example, a class slide may be cited as [18p280 Nuclear Weapons, slide 30], where 18p280 refers to the Spring 2018 Physics/Global Studies 280 course. The sources we expect you to use for particular assignments and shortform citations for them, as well as the details of the assignments themselves and their due dates, are available via the Writing Assignments page.
Looking for Research Paper Codes?
The first two essays will emphasize writing skills at the paragraph level and will provide you with an opportunity to obtain guidance and detailed feedback from the course staff. You will then progress to the third and fourth essays and the research paper. This process is designed to give you a clear understanding of what is expected and to identify major problems early on so that you can avoid them in later assignments. The result should be a steady improvement in your writing skills.
Extra Credit Essay
You will have the option of submitting one Extra Credit Essay (ECE) during the course of the semester. In order to submit an ECE, you must first attend an approved seminar or other event on campus related to the subject matter of Physics/Global Studies 280. You must then write an essay no longer than 2 pages that answers certain specific questions about the event. The questions for each Extra Credit Essay Opportunity (ECEO) will be provided at the time the ECEO is announced. You must submit both a printed and an electronic copy of your ECE. Your ECE will not be revised. Full details will be provided on the Writing Assignments page.
Please include the appropriate code listed in the table below in the header of your extra credit essay, should you choose to submit one (see Writing Assignment Checklist).
Regardless of which Extra Credit Essay Opportunity you choose, you must upload an electronic copy of your essay. See the detailed instructions.
If you submit an ECE, the score you earn on it will contribute to the Writing Component of your total course score. See the section on Course Grades for details.
Research Paper Project
You will be required to write a research paper on a question chosen by you in consultation with the teaching staff. A research paper differs from an essay. The goal of an essay may be to discuss, describe, explain, or amuse. Your Physics/Global Studies 280 research paper will report the results of your investigation of a research question. It must have a thesis, develop arguments in support of that thesis, draw conclusions, and recommend one or more actions. As part of the research paper project, you will learn how to write a proposal, which is yet another kind of writing.
The research paper represents a culmination of your writing activities in the course and provides you an opportunity to demonstrate the writing skills you have developed by writing and revising your Required Essays and to communicate what you have learned about the topic of your research paper. To the extent feasible, the course staff will assist you in completing this assignment.
The research paper project has two main purposes. First, it allows us to help you investigate a topic related to the course that is of particular interest to you. Second, it provides an opportunity for you to develop further your skills in research, analysis, proposal preparation, and writing, with help from the course staff.
Your research paper must address a research question that has both technical and policy aspects. To assure that your research paper will be successful, you must choose a research question within one of the Approved Research Topics.
The "research" in the research paper title indicates library research, not original research. Library research is required: your research paper must go much deeper into your research question than we have gone or will go in the course lecture-discussions (for guidance on what we will cover during the remainder of the course, see the Slides page from last year). Your research paper must be based on your library research and not on any of the materials on the course slides or in this semester's assigned readings.
The research paper project has four steps:
(1) To help you write a successful research paper, you are required to prepare a research paper proposal (RPP) and have your RPP approved by a member of the teaching staff before you begin writing your research paper. You must follow your RPP in preparing your research paper.
The first version of your RPP (your RPPv1) is due by the date listed on the Writing Assignments page and will count 50% of your total research paper proposal score.
(2) You will review your graded RPPv1 and submit a second, revised version of your research paper proposal (your RPPv2).
Your RPPv2 is due by the date listed on the Writing Assignments page and will count 50% of your total research paper proposal score.
(3) You will write the first version of your research paper (your RPv1), faithfully following your approved RPPv2.
Your highly polished RPv1 is due by the date listed on the Writing Assignments page and will count 50% of your total research paper score.
(4) You will review your graded RPv1 and submit a second, revised version of your research paper (your RPv2).
Your RPv2 is due by the date listed on the Writing Assignments page and will also count 50% of your total research paper score.
The shorthand codes for each document you will submit in completing the research paper project are listed in the table below. These codes will be used to refer to these documents throughout the course.
Submitting Your Writing Assignments
First versions. The first versions of all writing assignments must be submitted both as a computer file uploaded at the Physics 280 Assignment Upload Page and as a printed paper document turned in at the beginning of class on the due date (see Submission of Electronic Copies and Submission of Printed Copies). Both copies must be submitted before the deadline.
Second versions. The second versions of all writing assignments must be submitted as a printed paper document in class on the paper due date (see Submission of Printed Copies). The graded first version must be stapled to the back of the second version or the second version will not be graded.
Extra Credit Essays. Extra Credit Essays must be submitted both as a computer file uploaded at the Physics 280 Assignment Upload Page and as a printed paper document submitted in class by the paper due date (see Submission of Electronic Copies and Submission of Printed Copies).
Deadlines and Penalties for Late Submission
The deadline for electronic writing assignment submissions is 1:00 p.m. on the relevant Thursday, which is listed on the Writing Assignments page.Paper copies are due in class on the due date.
If both a printed paper copy and an electronic file copy are required for a writing assignment, the writing assignment will not be considered received until both copies have been received.
If a paper is received after 1:00 p.m. on the Thursday it is due but before 3:00 p.m. the next day (Friday), it will be assessed a 15-point late-paper penalty (the paper will be graded normally, but 15 points will be deducted from the score it would otherwise have earned). A paper received after 3:00 p.m. that Friday will not be graded and will receive a score of zero. This policy is necessary to ensure that we receive papers in time to grade them, check and analyze the grades, and correct any grading errors before returning your papers to you in your Monday Writing Labs.
If you discover that you failed to staple your first version to your second version when you turned the second version in, place your marked first version in the Physics 280 homework box as soon as possible and we will attempt to match it to your second version. If you place your marked first version in the box after the on-time submission deadline but before the late-paper deadline and we can join your two versions, we will grade your second version as a late paper. The Physics 280 homework box is on the second floor of the north-south corridor that connects Loomis Lab and the Seitz Materials Research Lab. This corridor is between rooms 269 and 271 on the second floor of Loomis Lab. The "280" homeowrk box is the second homework box from the South in the top row of boxes. It is labeled "280".
If you do not submit your marked first version by the late-paper deadline or we cannot match a marked first version with your second version, we cannot grade the second version and you will receive a score of zero on the second version.
Submission of Printed Copies
The printed copies of your writing assignments should be turned in by the beginning of class on the Thursday due date. If you cannot attend class that Thursday, please arrange an alternate way to submit your paper with your writing lab TA.
Submission of Electronic Copies
To receive full credit for your RE1, RE2v1, RE3v1, RE4, RPPv1, and RPv1 (and your Extra Credit Essay, should you choose to submit one), you must:
Both the electronic and the printed documents you submit must conform to the rules for the writing assignment and must be received by the deadline listed for that writing assignment.
You should preserve an electronic and a paper copy of every writing assignment you submit, in case you are required to re-submit an assignment. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have back-ups.
Table of Correct Filenames
The electronic copy of your paper should have the name listed here:
Writing Assignment Checklist
Each writing assignment has a strict page limit. Your paper must not be longer than this page limit, when printed in the format specified here and including the title, headers, and footers. To check this, you should print the exact version you are going to submit. If your paper is longer than the page limit when printed, it will be given a score of zero.
EVERY PAGE of your paper must include (see the sample document in WORD format):
Reasons for these procedures
Following these procedures will ensure that your paper is graded promptly and will protect you in case the pages of any of your papers become separated in handling. (In grading some assignments, we will be handling more than 600 pages. If your name and the assignment code are not on every page of your essay and the pages become separated in handling, it is difficult if not impossible for us to reassemble your paper for grading. Putting the submission date on your paper will help ensure it is given appropriate credit.)
The quizzes and examinations will cover the material in the Reading and Writing Assignments, the slides and videos shown in the Lecture-Discussion sessions, and the discussions in the Writing Labs and Lecture-Discussions, all of which are important components of the course.
Several times during most Lecture-Discussion sessions you will be asked to discuss and answer or simply answer a specific question, using your iClicker. These questions are intended to:
There will be an 80-minute Midterm Examination on the date indicated on the Exams page with all questions requiring only short answers. The Midterm Exam will be given during a regular Lecture-Discussion period, but not in 144 Loomis (the regular Lecture-Discussion room). See the exams page for the date and location of the Midterm Exam. The Midterm Exam will cover the material presented during the first half of the course. You will be informed during the week before the exam the textbook chapters, assigned readings, and other course content it will cover.
The Final Examination on will be on the date indicated on the Exams page. The majority of the questions will require only short answers. The Final Exam will cover the entire course but will focus on material presented after the Midterm Exam. You will be informed during the week before the exam the textbook chapters, assigned readings, and other course content it will cover.
Grade Re-Evaluation Policy
Grading Scale for All Course Work
All work will be graded using an absolute scale, not a curve. Consequently it is possible for every student to receive an A grade. This grading philosophy is in keeping with the goals of the course, which are to help you improve your writing skills and understand the course material well. How other students perform is not relevant to these goals. Grading on an absolute scale also encourages discussion and cooperation among the students enrolled in the course, since helping another student will not lower your grade. In fact, experience shows that both students in such a discussion usually learn something, which leads to an improvement in the grades of both. Keep in mind, though, that the University's rules on academic integrity require that all writing you submit be your own work.
Letter grades will be assigned to all course work and to your overall course performance based on your percentage scores, as follows*:
*This is an advanced composition course; therefore any student who does not achieve a score of at least 50% on the Writing Component of the course, defined just below, may be given a failing grade in the course.
Total Course Score
Your total course percentage score will be computed by combining your percentage scores on the writing and examination components of the course using the following formula:
Total Course Percentage Score = 0.7 x (Writing Component)
The total course percentage score is capped at 100%.
Your Writing Component percentage score will be computed using the following formula:
where the Research Paper Project Score is computed using the following formula:
Your Examination Component percentage score will be computed using the following formula:
These formulas weight the various course components approximately as follows: