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Introduction to Mechanics

This course will survey physics concepts and their respective applications. It is intended as a basic introduction to the current physical understanding of our universe. Originally part of “Natural Philosophy,” the first scientific studies were conducted after Thales of Miletus established a rational basis for the understanding of natural phenomena circa 600 BCE. One of the Seven Sages of Greek philosophy, Thales sought to identify the substances that make up the natural world and explain how...

Topics: General Engineering, Algebra, Calculus, General Mathematics, Geometry, Trigonometry, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Philosophy
Cost: Free

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Description

This course will survey physics concepts and their respective applications. It is intended as a basic introduction to the current physical understanding of our universe. Originally part of “Natural Philosophy,” the first scientific studies were conducted after Thales of Miletus established a rational basis for the understanding of natural phenomena circa 600 BCE. One of the Seven Sages of Greek philosophy, Thales sought to identify the substances that make up the natural world and explain how they produce the physical phenomena we observe. Prior to Thales, humans had explained events by attributing supernatural causes to them; his work represents the very beginning of scientific analysis.The Scientific Method used today builds on this early foundation, but adds the essential underpinnings of evidence based on experiments or observation. Briefly, the modern scientific method involves forming a hypothesis about the cause of a general phenomenon, using that hypothetical model to predict the outcome of a specific example, and then testing that prediction by experiment or observation. A true prediction for a specific example does not prove the general hypothesis. However, one false prediction proves the general hypothesis invalid, or at least limited to special cases. Because of this property, Karl Popper, a noted 20th century philosopher, proposed that any scientific knowledge must be falsifiable—that is, there must be an experiment which could, in principle, show some prediction of the hypothesis to be false.This is still the quest of physics today: to develop descriptions of the natural world that correspond more and more closely to actual observations. Given this definition, the story behind everything in the universe is in fact one of physics. In practice, however, the field of physics is more often limited to the discovery and refinement of the basic laws underlying the behavior of matter and energy. While biology is founded upon physics, in practice, the study of biology generally assumes that the present understanding of physical laws is accurate. Chemistry is more closely dependent on physics, but still assumes that physical laws provide accurate predictions. Engineering is little more than applied physics, and so on.In this course, we will study physics from the ground up, learning the basic principles of physical law, their application to the behavior of objects, and the use of the scientific method in driving advances in this knowledge. This first course of a three-course series (the subsequent courses in the series are Introduction to Electromagnetism and Introduction to Quantum Mechanics) will focus on describing how objects move and interact. While mathematics is the language of physics, you will only need to be familiar with high school-level algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. The small amount of additional math and calculus we will need will be developed during the course.

Details

  • Days of the Week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Level of Difficulty: All Levels
  • Size: One-on-One
  • Cost: Free
  • Institution: Saylor
  • Topics: General Engineering, Algebra, Calculus, General Mathematics, Geometry, Trigonometry, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Philosophy

Provider Overview

About Saylor: The mission of the Saylor Foundation is to make education freely available to all. Guided by the belief that technology has the potential to circumvent barriers that prevent many individuals from participating in traditional schooling models, the Foundation is committed to developing and advancing inventive and effective ways of harnessing technology in order to drive the cost of education down to zero

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