PHYS 131
Introduction to Mechanics Fall 2023
Division III Quantitative/Formal Reasoning
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

We focus first on the Newtonian mechanics of point particles: the relationship between velocity, acceleration, and position; the puzzle of circular motion; forces, Newton’s laws, and gravitation; energy and momentum; and the physics of vibrations. Then we turn to the basic properties of waves, such as interference and refraction, as exemplified by sound and light waves. We also study the optics of lenses, mirrors and the human eye. This course is not intended for students who have successfully completed an AP physics course in high school.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory
Limit: 30
Expected: 60
Class#: 1351
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: exams, labs, and weekly problem sets, all of which have a substantial quantitative component
Prerequisites: MATH 130; students who scored 4 or 5 on an AP physics exam, or 6 or 7 on the IB Physics HL exam may not take this course and are encouraged to take PHYS 141 instead
Enrollment Preferences: seniority
Unit Notes: PHYS 131 can lead to either PHYS 132 (for students wanting a one-year survey of physics) or PHYS 142 (for students considering a Physics or Astrophysics major)
Distributions: Division III Quantitative/Formal Reasoning
QFR Notes: This class will have weekly problem sets requiring substantial quantitative reasoning

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