Physics 1 for Physical Science Majors

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Overview

This course is a rigorous introduction to classical mechanics, which is the study of forces and motion.  How does gravity control the motion of the planets around the sun or the motion of a projectile fired from a cannon?  Why does a spinning skater spin faster when she pulls her arms in?  Why is a perpetual motion machine impossible? These are the kinds of questions which can be answered with classical mechanics, which was first formulated by Isaac Newton around 1666. Classical, or Newtonian Mechanics is the oldest branch of physics, but it will never go out of style.  It remains the foundation of our understanding of the physical world and is constantly used by engineers and scientists. There is a space probe, called New Horizons, that is on its way to Pluto right now, and it will arrive on July 14, 2015, exactly on time and on target, because its path has been computed using classical mechanics, and nothing more.

Syllabus

Week 1:               1D motion: speed, velocity and acceleration

Week 2:               1D motion continued.   Vector Math.

Week 3:               Motion in 2D.

Week 4:               Newton’s Laws.

Week 5:               Applications of Newton’s Laws.  Friction.

Week 6:               Work and Energy.

Week 7:               Conservation of Energy.

Week 8:               Gravity and orbits.

Week 9:               Conservation of Momentum and Collisions.

Week 10:             Rotational Motion.

Week 11:             Conservation of Angular Momentum.  Static Equilibrium.

Week 12:             Simple Harmonic Motion.