Mechanics I

Instructor: Paul Garrett

Course Outline


This course and the following one, PHYS*2450, continue building the foundation in mechanics begun in first year. These courses are intended for students proceeding to advanced studies in the physical sciences. Topics include one, two and three dimensional motion, the harmonic oscillator, gravitation and orbital motion. Some familiarity with computer programming is needed for the laboratory (such as CIS*1200 or CIS*1600) or equivalent.


To give students a solid foundation in classical mechanics. To enhance the students' problem solving skills. To introduce students to basic techniques in laboratory data acquisition and analysis. To give students experience in writing formal laboratory reports. The following University Learning Objectives are best served by the course. Numeracy - the course demands the development of problem solving skills and the ability to carry out numerical calculations is emphasized. Understanding of Forms of Inquiry - the course emphasizes the rigorous description of mechanical phenomena with sophisticated mathematical theory. The students have the opportunity in the laboratory to carry out independent data acquisition and analysis.

Material Covered

Introduction to the computer program "MathCad", and its use in problem solving. Motion in one dimension. Analytic and numerical solutions of the equations of motion. The harmonic oscillator. An introduction to complex numbers. Motion in two and three dimensions. A discussion of the div and curl of a vector. Gravitation. o Orbital Motion.

Recommended Readings

Lab Manual 2010

Planning Your Program

Who should take this course?
Students proceeding into Physics, Theoretical Physics, Chemical Physics, Biophysics, or Honors Physical Science.

Prerequisites: 1 of IPS*1220, PHYS*1000, PHYS*1080, 1 of IPS*1210, MATH*1010, MATH*1210, MATH*2080

Co-requisites and concurrent courses: PHYS*2460