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An Introductory Physics Course with Peter Eyland

This is a general introduction to Physics requiring an understanding of low level Mathematics.

Course Content



Greek alphabet

Lecture 1

• Scientific method,
• The origins and goals of Physics,
• The International system of Units, and
• Symbols and equations in Physics.


Lecture 2

• Laboratory instruments: the balance, Vernier calipers, Micrometers, stopwatches, measuring cylinders,
• Uncertainty and accuracy: random and systematic errors,
• Accumulating errors in the laboratory,
• Graphing with errors,
• Volume and area formulae.


Lecture 3

• Waves moving energy through a medium.
• Longitudinal and transverse waves.
• Amplitude, wavelength, period, frequency and phase difference.
• Reflection, refraction, diffraction, interference and polarisation.


Lecture 4

• Sound waves produced from a sudden local compression
• Infrasonic and Ultrasonic waves
• Ultrasonic transducers
• Reflections at interfaces
• Ultrasonic applications
• Thermoacoustics
• Opto-acoustics

Sound and Ultrasound

Lecture 5

• Resonance
• Standing waves
• Harmonics, Overtones and Partials
• Musical instruments with strings & pipes


Lecture 6

• The human ear's structure and function
• Intensity and Loudness
• Hearing loss
• The Fletcher-Munson curves
• Pitch


Lecture 7

• Reflection
• Refraction (Snell's law)
• The wave nature of light
• Two slit interference
• Mirages and optical illusions


Lecture 8

• Total internal reflection
• Optical fibres
• Image formation by convex lenses
• Image formation by concave lenses

Optical Fibres and Lenses

Lecture 9

• The Camera
• Aberrations in lenses
• Telescopes
• Binoculars
• Microscopes

Optical Instruments

Lecture 10

• Solids, fluids, plastics and plasmas
• Pressure as the intensity of force
• Pressure at a depth in a liquid
• Pascal's principle and hydraulics
• How a vacuum is not nothing


Lecture 11

• Pressure and the eyes, lungs, digestion and the joints
• Blood Pressure
• Pressure gauges

Body Pressures

Lecture 12

• Archimedes' achievements & death
• Hiero's crown
• Archimedes' principle


Lecture 13

• Descartes and Cartesian co-ordinates
• Vectors and scalars
• Polar co-ordinates
• Adding vectors sequentially and simultaneously
• Subtracting vectors
• Vector components and adding by components
• Moment of force
• Mass and weight
• Equilibrium and centre of gravity


Lecture 14

• The force of static friction
• The force of kinetic friction
• The conditions for equilibrium
• Couples


Lecture 15

• Zeno's paradox
• Average and instantaneous speed
• Position vs time graph to speed vs time graph
• Speed vs time graph to position vs time graph
• Average and instantaneous acceleration
• Speed vs time graph to acceleration vs time graph
• Acceleration vs time graph to speed vs time graph
• Constant acceleration graphs and equations


Lecture 16

• Velocity and speed
• Momentum as the quantity of motion
• Newton's laws of motion
• Internal and external forces


Lecture 17

• Conservation of momentum
• Inelastic and Elastic Collisions
• Explosions
• Rockets


Lecture 18

• The work done by a force
• Conservative forces
• Kinetic energy
• Potential energy
• Conservation of mechanical energy

Work and Energy

Lecture 19

• Power as the rate of doing work
• Engine power and speed
• Drag
• Efficiency
• Types of Energy resources
• Energy reserves


Lecture 20

• Boyle's law
• Charles' law and Absolute Temperature
• Gay-Lussac's law
• The Combined Gas law
• Avogadro's number
• The Universal Gas Equation

Gas laws

Lecture 21

• Microscopic views of matter
• Einstein and Brownian motion
• Kinetic Theory assumptions
• The microscopic picture of pressure
• Internal energy
• Molar mass and the Atomic Mass Unit
• The microscopic picture of temperature
• The Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution for molecular velocities

Kinetic theory of gases


A few exam papers &/or tutorial questions with full worked solutions may be obtained for a small fee. Please email if you require assistance with this.

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