Classical Mechanics (Calculus-Based General Physics)

Open—Fall

Calculus-based general physics is a standard course at most institutions. As such, this course will prepare you for more advanced work in the physical science, engineering, or the health fields. (Alternatively, the algebra-based Introduction to Mechanics will also suffice for premedical students.) But to our knowledge, no one has ever taught calculus-based physics in quite this way. Where most general physics classes approach their topic gradually, like a child dipping her toe into a pool, this class will start from the central concepts and work our way out to applications and ramifications. It is our hope that this will lead to a clearer understanding of the essentials, along with mitigating the frenetic pace that generally characterizes introductory courses in physics. This course will cover introductory classical mechanics, including dynamics, kinematics, momentum, energy, and gravity. Emphasis will be placed on scientific skills, including problem solving, development of physical intuition, computational skills, scientific communication, use of technology, and development and execution of experiments. In addition to seminars, the class will meet weekly to conduct laboratory work. These laboratories will be held jointly with students taking the non-calculus-based general physics sequence. (If more than one laboratory section is listed in the schedule, you may choose either.) An optional course-within-a-course preparing students for the MCAT will be available for premed students and will count as part of their conference work. Permission of the instructor is required. Students must have completed on year of calculus as a prerequisite. This course or equivalent is required to take Electromagnetism and Light (Calculus-Based General Physics) in the spring.