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This subject is designed for students with a minimal background in Physics, and aims to provide a sound introduction to a range of important physics principles and applications. Emphasis is placed on key concepts rather than detailed analysis.
Mechanics: describing and explaining translational and rotational motion, for example in the contexts of human and animal movement and transport (Newton’s laws of motion, both translational and rotational; energy transfer and transformation; momentum and impulse; simple harmonic motion; equilibrium).
Waves and sound: water waves; production and detection of sound, eg. musical instruments, hearing; ultrasound (reflection and refraction, superposition, resonance, energy transport, absorption, Doppler effect).
Optics: optical imaging; sensors and optical instruments; human vision (dispersion, lenses and mirrors, interference, diffraction, polarisation).
Gravitation: universal gravity, weightlessness, planetary and satellite orbits, escape velocity (universal gravity, Kepler’s laws).
Vector notation, and differential and integral calculus, are used when appropriate. New mathematical concepts that students may not have encountered in previous studies are introduced as required.
Intended learning outcomes
To enable students to understand the importance of physical principles and develop their capacity to:
- understand and explain the physics principles of translational and rotational mechanics, wave and optics;
- apply these principles using logical reasoning, together with appropriate mathematical reasoning, to a variety of familiar and novel situations and problems; and
- acquire experimental data using a range of measurement instruments and interpret these data.
A student who completes this subject should be able to:
- explain their understanding of physics principles and applications lucidly, both in writing and orally;
- acquire and interpret experimental data and design experimental investigations;
- participate as an effective member of a group in tutorial discussions, laboratory and study groups;
- think independently and analytically, and direct his or her own learning; and
- manage time effectively in order to be prepared for regular practical and tutorial classes, tests and the examination.
Last updated: 19 November 2019