The main subject of SCI PHYS 101 Introduction to Physics is classical mechanics. Classical mechanics is the study of the motion of objects and how they are influenced by a range of forces. The foundations of classical mechanics are Isaac Newton’s famous three laws he introduced in his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687. This book is generally considered to be one of the most important works in the history of science.

The course covers the key elements of classical mechanics. We describe different types of motion: translational, circular, rotational and oscillatory. We start by studying (structure-less) point masses, but will later also consider extended objects. Common forces as tension, gravity, friction and the elastic spring force are extensively discussed and used. We introduce and use the concepts of kinetic and potential energy. We also emphasize the significance and use of conservation laws for momentum and for energy.

The treatment of classical mechanics will be calculus-based. (Indeed, calculus was developed – by Newton and others – because it is needed to understand classical mechanics.) To learn to apply the concepts of classical mechanics, students will spend a lot of time on solving problems. Students will learn to analyze situations, determine which precise equations follow from what first principles, and solve the obtained equations correctly. In addition to mastering theory, students will also perform a number of experiments.

The course covers the key elements of classical mechanics. We describe different types of motion: translational, circular, rotational and oscillatory. We start by studying (structure-less) point masses, but will later also consider extended objects. Common forces as tension, gravity, friction and the elastic spring force are extensively discussed and used. We introduce and use the concepts of kinetic and potential energy. We also emphasize the significance and use of conservation laws for momentum and for energy.

The treatment of classical mechanics will be calculus-based. (Indeed, calculus was developed – by Newton and others – because it is needed to understand classical mechanics.) To learn to apply the concepts of classical mechanics, students will spend a lot of time on solving problems. Students will learn to analyze situations, determine which precise equations follow from what first principles, and solve the obtained equations correctly. In addition to mastering theory, students will also perform a number of experiments.

- Teacher: Leo Wit de