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Learn dynamics with online courses and programs

Dynamics is a branch of mechanics based on Newton’s laws of motion. It studies how moving objects behave and what causes a change in motion. This can be applied to everyday situations, like hitting the brakes of your car or hitting a baseball with a bat.

What is dynamics?

Dynamics is concerned with movement and how different forces affect motion. The underlying principles behind the study of dynamics are Newton’s three laws of motion, which state:

1. Every object moves in a straight line unless acted upon by a force.

2. The acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force exerted and inversely proportional to the object’s mass.

3. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

By studying dynamics, researchers can better understand how objects move throughout space under different conditions. Their work has led to developments in all types of industries, from building safer cars with better braking systems to the world of sports, where trainers can use their understanding of dynamics to enhance player outcomes.

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Dynamics course curriculum

Before you start learning dynamics, it’s good to have a solid foundation in math and physics, as well as some classical mechanics. From there, you can build on your knowledge with specialized courses that discuss various aspects of dynamics.

A dynamics curriculum may progress from basic to more advanced topics, covering concepts such as:

  • Vectors and vector operations

  • One- and two-dimensional motion

  • Gravitational, frictional, and tension forces

  • Newton’s three laws of motion and their implications

  • Kinetic and potential energy

Interested in other dynamics subjects? You may have opportunities to take classes on momentum, rotational dynamics, gravitation, oscillation, fluid dynamics, and special relativity.

Learning about dynamics can supplement your knowledge of engineering and quantum physics. edX offers a variety of educational opportunities for learners interested in studying these topics, as well as a host of other disciplines. A boot camp can provide flexible hands-on learning for those who want to upskill quickly, while executive education courses are designed for busy professionals. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program. Find the right learning path for you.

Explore dynamics industry jobs

Dynamics is a complex topic that informs the work in many different fields. You can open the door to exciting career opportunities that could even lead to the next great innovation. With the right knowledge and experience, you can pursue roles such as:

  • Mechanical engineer: Uses principles of dynamics to design, analyze, and optimize mechanical systems and components, such as machines, engines, and vehicles.Footnote 1

  • Robotics engineer: Designs and programs robots and automated systems that often involve complex dynamic interactions between components.Footnote 2

  • Research scientist: Conducts experiments and simulations to study the dynamics of physical systems and phenomena.Footnote 3

  • Data analyst: Uses dynamic modeling and simulation techniques to analyze and interpret data from various sources, including physical systems and processes.Footnote 4

  • Simulation engineer: Creates computer models that simulate dynamic systems to analyze their behavior under different conditions.Footnote 5

While many of these roles exist within similar industries, employment qualifications for careers that utilize knowledge of dynamics may differ based on the position and employer. Some roles may require a higher level degree while others may only ask for a demonstration of skills that can be acquired in a data analytics boot camp, for example. Before deciding on which learning path will work best for you, research potential roles you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your professional aspirations.