Fall 2017

The Newtonian Synthesis: Dynamics of Particles and Systems, Waves

Listed in: Physics and Astronomy, as PHYS-123

Formerly listed as: PHYS-23


David Hanneke (Section 01)


The idea that the same simple physical laws apply equally well in the terrestrial and celestial realms, called the Newtonian Synthesis, is a major intellectual development of the seventeenth century. It continues to be of vital importance in contemporary physics. In this course, we will explore the implications of this synthesis by combining Newton’s dynamical laws with his Law of Universal Gravitation. We will solve a wide range of problems of motion by introducing a small number of additional forces. The concepts of work, kinetic energy, and potential energy will then be introduced. Conservation laws of momentum, energy, and angular momentum will be discussed, both as results following from the dynamical laws under restricted conditions and as general principles that go well beyond the original context of their deduction. Newton’s laws will be applied to a simple continuous medium to obtain a wave equation as an approximation. Properties of mechanical waves will be discussed. Four hours of lecture and discussion and one three-hour laboratory per week.

Requisite: MATH 111. Admission with consent of the instructor.  Limited to 24 students.  Fall semester.  Professor Hanneke.

If Overenrolled: Preference to first year students


Lab Science Course, Quantitative Reasoning


2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2022, Fall 2023

Note from the instructor:

Students having trouble registering should e-mail the instructor and show up on the first day of class.

Our textbook is University Physics, Volume 1, 14th edition, ISBN 9780133978049. Just get volume 1, not the whole thing, or you'll be lugging a 3.3 kg tome around. We will use Mastering Physics online, but I recommend skipping the "bundle" with the textbook and buying the license online (instructions with the first homework). You are welcome to use the 13th edition of the textbook, ISBN 9780321898012 or 9780321733382. The "Technology Update" doesn't matter, so get whichever you can find. Used copies of the 13th edition are an order of magnitude cheaper than the 14th edition! The main difference between editions is re-numbering of the chapter problems, which may involve some cross-checking between editions.