Practical Physics for Practical Situations

This is a course from a previous year. View the current courses

This course covers topics in physics and examines principles of physics that are readily seen evident in practical, everyday life situations. It provides the student with tools to independently analyze and ultimately comprehend, the scientific explanation and rationale that lurk behind the scenes of these phenomena. It is a goal of the course that students will ultimately be able to give a systematic explanation of naturally occurring physical phenomena. A substantial part of the course would be “student-generated” and therefore it is expected that students give much thought to the kind of phenomena that they would like to investigate and conceptually describe, and propose their queries as topics of discussion and investigation during the course, preferably on the first meeting of the course. Key to this examination, understanding and explanation of physical phenomena would be the discussion of the general laws of conservation of matter, momentum and charge. The general principles of thermodynamics will also be considered as they apply to most of the familiar and immediately recognizable everyday phenomena.

This course relies on the input of its students. In order to increase students’ participation, involvement, enjoyment and most of all, understanding of the principles of practical physics; the course is augmented by selected chapters of a number of relevant texts. A sample: Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything”; Adams’ “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”; Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” and the instructor’s “Facts, Fallacies, Fiction of Force”.