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HarveyMuddX: How Stuff Moves, Part 1: Linear Motion

A Calculus-based introduction to Newtonian mechanics that emphasizes problem-solving.
How Stuff Moves, Part 1: Linear Motion
4 weeks
3–4 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule
This course is archived
Future dates to be announced

About this course

Skip About this course

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.

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.

At a glance

  • Institution: HarveyMuddX
  • Subject: Physics
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites:
    A course in Calculus (can be taken concurrently with this course).
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated skills: Angular (Web Framework), Mechanics, Problem Solving, Calculus, Integral Calculus, Diagnostic Tests, Physics, Linear Motion

What you'll learn

Skip 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

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