December 6, 2022

Course Notes


These notes are about mirrors and thin lenses. Remember also your lab on Snell’s Law.

The Bohr Atom


A white-board derivation in less than five pages starting from Bohr’s quantization of angular momentum for an electron bound to a proton by the Coulomb force. By the end we have the energy levels and the radii of excited states for hydrogen.

SHM: Simple Harmonic Motion

The Pendulum

The Simple Pendulum, the Torsional Pendulum and the Physical Pendulum are shown to follow the same same mathematics as a mass on a spring. The natural angular frequency and period of SHM are determined.


Springs and SHM. Potential energy in a spring. Conservation of energy with springs.

The Basics

The relationship between SHM and UCM (Uniform Circular Motion). The basic parameters. Relationship to calculus. The simple mass on a spring.

Parallel Axis Theorem & Rotational KE

Moment of Inertia

Motivated by looking at total kinetic energy for rigid-body motion. A quick example given.

Rotational Dynamics

Moment of Inertia

Motivated by looking at total kinetic energy for rigid-body motion. A quick example given.

Cross Product & Torque

A quick refresher on dot product. Magnitude and direction of the cross product, properties of the cross product and unit-vector notation.

Rotational Kinematics

Definitions & Equations

A comparison with the linear variables and equations.

Uniform Circular Motion


Very basic formulas:

A couple of problems:



Elastic and inelastic collisions.

Introduction to Momentum

Momentum, Force and Impulse.

Work, Energy & Power

WEP – Part II

Gravitational Potential Energy, Fields, Potential Energy Curves, Conservative & Non-Conservative Forces

WEP – Part I

Work, Kinetic Energy, Work-Energy Theorem, Potential Energy, Gravitational Potential and Fields:


Friction & Inclines

It’s getting more interesting!

Free-Body Diagrams

More complex problem solving including multiple bodies.

Force Problems

Some easier applications of the second law.

Newton’s Laws

Inertia, F = ma, equal and opposite forces.

Distance Problems Involving Quadratic Roots

Looking for a single root, interpreting multiple roots.

The Range Equation

The distance traveled, the maximum height, the time of flight and the angle of impact for a projectile – no numbers!

Motion in 2D & Projectile Motion

The equations with easier applications

Projectile Motion

When & where do they meet?

Strategy for collision problems. Write equations for position, solve for intersection. How many solutions?

Motion Graphs

Motion Graphs with derivations of one-dimensional kinematic equations.

Day 1 …

Circle Relationship Lab

Notes on the log plot and on computing pi.

Spreadsheet with idealized data and sample plots.

Word document showing section headings, embedded plots, etc.

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