Physics! #17: University Physics Chapter 2 Wrap-Up

Motion Along a Straight Line

Okay, so motion in one dimension isn’t the sexiest thing in physics. But, this is where it all starts. For better or worse, every physics textbooks starts off with mathematics. This is necessary, since physics is mostly math, but I think it sometimes discourages students. A lot of people get into physics hoping to learn about relativity and quantum weirdness and black holes. That’s all to come, but first you’ve got to learn the tools.

With that in mind, you can still find a lot of fun here. Those basic equations you now know define a lot of reality, and will come up over and over. So, try to roll them into the way you think – when you’re walking down the street or taking a shower or playing a game, try to understand how much of everything you see is governed by these equations. You’ve only just scratched the surface, but already a lot of motions in reality can be defined in ways you basically understand.

In the next chapter, we advance into motion in 2D and 3D. This makes things a bit more interesting, and helps prep us for forces, which is where the real fun starts.

Happy nerding!


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2 Responses to Physics! #17: University Physics Chapter 2 Wrap-Up

  1. Matt says:

    As someone working toward a degree in Physics, I really appreciate your coverage of these topics. I like the way you break it down from the high-level to make it easier for me to get into the weeds on my own. It really helps to have someone look at this practically because the professors are sometimes too deep in the subject material to see the it objectively. High school was a long time ago for me, and your work is doubly appreciated because of that. Keep it up.

  2. Steuard says:

    There are a handful of textbooks that are moving away from this “mathematics of motion first” approach. I may have mentioned Chabay & Sherwood’s “Matter and Interactions” textbook before: its first chapter talks about motion just long enough to introduce the concept of momentum, and even introduces the equation for relativistic momentum before the chapter’s over. Getting at the “good bits” quickly like that is a really neat idea; I’m hoping to find an opportunity to teach that way before too long.

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