Basic Physics

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Course Date: 11 August 2014 to 09 September 2014

Price: free

Course Summary

In our highly technological society, it is useful to have a basic understanding of the how and why the world works the way it does: that’s what physics is all about. It also involves a touch of history, a bit of mathematics, and many everyday examples. Before starting this course, you are recommended to have the following equivalent mathematical knowledge: • Calculus • Elementary statistics • Trigonometry • Sine and Cosine graphs • Algebra Physics is concerned with every aspect of our universe, and in Basic Physics you will explore 4 main areas: Motion, Waves & Sound, Electricity & Magnetism, and Light. You will gain some valuable insight into these topics, and be able to make simple calculations and predictions.

Course Instructors

Dr. Wayne Rowlands

Wayne is a Senior Lecturer at Swinburne University of Technology, where he has taught for more than 10 years. Apart from his passion for delivering undergraduate lectures, he has been active in science communication for many years, ranging from visiting High School physics classes to presenting a regular science radio show. In addition, Wayne has been involved in Swinburne’s world-class research into laser manipulation of atoms, producing new states of matter at incredibly low temperatures.

Course Description

What's it about?

In our highly technological society, it is useful to have a basic understanding of the how and why the world works the way it does: that’s what physics is all about. It also involves a touch of history, a bit of mathematics, and many everyday examples.
Before starting this course, you are recommended to have the following equivalent mathematical knowledge:

• Calculus
• Elementary statistics
• Trigonometry
• Sine and Cosine graphs
• Algebra

In our highly technological society, it is useful to have a basic understanding of the how and why the world works the way it does: that’s what physics is all about. It also involves a touch of history, a bit of mathematics, and many everyday examples.
Before starting this course, you are recommended to have the following equivalent mathematical knowledge:

• Calculus
• Elementary statistics
• Trigonometry
• Sine and Cosine graphs
• Algebra

Physics is concerned with every aspect of our universe, and in Basic Physics you will explore 4 main areas: Motion, Waves & Sound, Electricity & Magnetism, and Light. You will gain some valuable insight into these topics, and be able to make simple calculations and predictions.

What's involved?

Module 1Motion
9 videos, 8 quizzes, 1 assessment11 Aug - 17 Aug
Module 2Waves & Sound
10 videos, 9 quizzes, 1 assessment18 Aug - 24 Aug
Module 3Electricity & Magnetism
9 videos, 8 quizzes, 1 assessment25 Aug - 31 Aug
Module 4Light & Optics
9 videos, 8 quizzes, 1 assessment1 Sep - 7 Sep

What will I learn?

  • The important quantities that describe motion: position, velocity, acceleration
  • How to analyse the causes of motion using Newton’s Laws of Motion
  • What the relationship is between force and energy
  • How to understand the properties of waves, including a mathematical description
  • How to understand sound and light in terms of their wave nature
  • How waves overlap and interfere, and how this applies to some musical instruments
  • Why a siren changes pitch as it moves past you
  • The general properties of electric and magnetic fields
  • How to understand the motion of charge as an electric current, and its application in simple circuits
  • How to determine the forces on charges and currents from magnetic fields
  • Key steps in the development of our understanding of light
  • How to use the basic principles of reflection and refraction to understand the behaviour of lenses and mirrors
  • An insight into the unusual and unexpected properties of light that are simultaneously wave-like and particle-like

This course requires approximately 2 - 4 hours of study per week, but can vary depending on the student. This includes watching videos, and taking quizzes and assessments. The total video time for this course is approximately 3 hours and 56 Minutes.

If you pass this course you'll receive a Certificate of Achievement. While this certificate isn't a formal qualification or credit, you can use it to demonstrate your interest in learning about this area to potential employers or educational institutions.

Where to from here?

If you love this course, why not take your studies further? Here are some accredited qualifications that could help you achieve your goals.

Where could this lead me?

If you're wondering what your future could look like in this area, here are some potential careers you could head towards.

  • Researcher
  • Engineer
  • Physicist

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