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1 Proposal: number 68

68. PHYS 145: Principles of Physics I

Contact:Lev Deych
Abstract:This class deals with fundamental principles underlying our understanding of
the physical world around us. More specifically it is concerned with several
areas of “classical physics,” which were developed between 16th and 20th
centuries and which deal with objects that are not too small, and that are not
moving too fast. In this class students will learn the basic concepts (motion,
gravity, energy, temperature, etc.) and methods used by physicists in
explaining properties of the natural world. They will also learn how
discoveries in physics affected, technologically and culturally, western
societies in 18 - 21 centuries.
Interaction between students and teaching staff is organized in the
form of three components: lectures, recitations and labs. Students learn
material, however, not only during scheduled class times, but also during their
preparation for classes. The preparation includes: reading a textbook and
additional reading materials, solving homework problems, and performing other
assignments deemed necessary by an instructor.
Main goal of lectures is to deliver main conceptual content of the studied
material. Organization of lectures depends on individual styles of professors
teaching the course, but active involvement of students in discussion of the
subject matter will always be one of the main means of achieving this goal.
Recitations play a more technical role: during recitations students sharpen
their practical skill in applying new concepts to typical situations occurring
in real life or during scientific inquiry.
During labs, students are introduced to and obtain hands-on experience of
empirical methods of scientific inquiry. They learn to design meaningful
scientific experiments, use basic measuring devices and instruments, collect
and analyze experimental data to make reasonable scientific inferences.
Topics in this class include:
Mechanics: Kinematics (description of motion); projectile motion in everyday
phenomena and in the history of physics, Newton’s laws as the foundation of a
mechanical world view; models of the solar system from ancient Greeks to
Copernicus and Kepler; Newton’s law of universal gravity and its implications
for astronomy, cosmology and space exploration; momentum and its conservation,
kinematics of collisions; mechanical energy and its conservation, general
concept of energy and its application in physics and beyond; kinematics of
rotation, absolutely rigid body as a new idealization in physics; dynamics of
rotation, torque, energy of rotation; hydrostatics and hydrodynamics,
Bernoulli’s equation and its role for aviation; oscillatory motion, simple
harmonic oscillator as a universal model of linear oscillations.
Elements of kinetics and thermodynamics: Statistical approach to systems of
many particles; ideal gas as the simplest model of a thermodynamic system;
thermodynamic processes (isothermal, isobaric, isochoric, adiabatic); internal
energy and the 1st law of thermodynamics; 2nd law of thermodynamics and heat
engines; thermodynamics and industrial revolution; entropy.

Submissions and Approvals

Course Date Requirement Action By Whom Notes
PHYS 145 2008-09-02 NS+L Submitted Dept
PHYS 145 2008-09-02 QR Submitted Dept
PHYS 145 2008-09-16 NS+L Approved GEAC
PHYS 145 2008-10-02 NS+L Approved UCC
PHYS 145 2008-11-13 NS+L Approved Senate