Whenever a person thinks of the
formal study of physics, his/her thoughts are likely to be linked
to mechanics. We will spend more time here than anywhere else.
The concepts under consideration will cause you to fully exploit
your skills as a mathematician. Your ability to take simple events
and analyze them in considerable detail, both theoretically and
in the laboratory, will be expanded here.
Mechanics deals with the study of how things move and why they
move the way they do. We begin with objects that move in one
dimension and observe how unchanging forces applied to any given
object affect its motion. Then comes the motion of objects when
unchanging forces are applied in two dimensions. Next comes consideration
of objects moving under the influence of variable forces.
Several quantities in nature are conserved, that is to say, in
any interaction the quantity is neither created nor destroyed.
Two such quantities, mass-energy and momentum, will come under
study in this unit. Finally, we will consider special relativity,
a topsy-turvy but eminently verifiable view of how things move
without acceleration as set forth by Einstein in 1905.Mechanics
as a general topic of study is not easy. There are many factors
to consider when analyzing how things move. Your early work may
cause you to feel like the fellow at left. The organization of
the content of this text recognizes that fact. We will consider
topics in short, easy-to-understand pieces. We will hold
complicating factors such as air resistance at bay until we are
ready. The hard part will come when we try to translate a verbal
description of some event into its mathematical analog. To
make that leap less fearful we have, at the beginning of every
problem set, lists of problem-solving protocols that should lead
you to good habits and therefore good grades. Click on Kinematics
and let the games begin.
This page was last reviewed
by m.e.g. 01/20/09