How Stuff Moves, Part 1: Linear Motion - Harvey Mudd College

edX
Online

Free

Important information

  • Course
  • Online
  • When:
    Flexible
Description

A Calculus-based introduction to Newtonian mechanics that emphasizes problem-solving. With an apprenticeship you earn while you learn, you gain recognized qualifications, job specific skills and knowledge and this helps you stand out in the job market.With this course you earn while you learn, you gain recognized qualifications, job specific skills and knowledge and this helps you stand out in the job market.

Important information

Requirements: A course in Calculus (can be taken concurrently with this course).

Venues

Where and when

Starts Location
Flexible
Online

What you'll learn on the course

Mechanics
Calculus
Physics
Energy
Newton

Course programme

WHAT IS “HOW STUFF MOVES”? Mechanics is the study of how things move. It was the first quantitative science to achieve wide power to predict behavior, including things never before directly observed. Newton, Leibniz, and others invented calculus to describe motion and we will find both differential and integral calculus extremely useful throughout this course. This is the first in a 3-part series of courses that parallels the second-semester mechanics course taught at Harvey Mudd College. Part 1 explores the concepts of momentum, force, and energy, and how these properties define the motion of objects at everyday speeds. Part 2 examines angular motion, and Part 3 examines wave motion.  This course is an invitation to develop your problem-solving skills and to learn how to apply mathematics to all sorts of problems of the physical world. Learning the rules that govern how stuff moves in the world around us is exciting; using those rules to predict correctly something that you haven’t observed means that you really understand something. It‘s a great feeling. WHAT SHOULD I KNOW BEFORE WE START? You need not have taken physics before, but we assume that you have studied mathematics, up to and including a first course in calculus. You may be taking a calculus course concurrently with this course; that should be a good strategy. We will introduce important calculus ideas and methods as the need arises and provide examples. There is a Mathematics Diagnostic Test that you can take at the beginning of this course to ensure that your mathematics background will set you up for success in this course.

What you'll learn
  • The basic physics of how objects move
  • The concepts of momentum, force, and energy
  • How these properties define the motion of objects at everyday speeds

Additional information

Peter Saeta Peter Saeta is a professor of physics at Harvey Mudd College. Saeta researches the limits to absorption enhancement in thin-film solar cells from plasmonics. He has investigated the disordering of semiconductors excited by intense femtosecond laser pulses; the generation and applications of sub-picosecond pulses of far-infrared light; the profiling of optical fiber cores using optical scattering techniques; and the luminescence properties of silicon nanostructures. Before coming to Harvey Mudd, Saeta was a research fellow at AT&T Bell labs and the National Research Council.  Elizabeth Connolly Elizabeth Connolly is a visiting professor of physics at Harvey Mudd College. Elizabeth’s research interests include cavity quantum electrodynamics and soft matter physics.