THE FOUR FORCES OF PHYSICS
Galileo * Newton * Maxwell* Curie * Einstein * Meitner
INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Camille Minichino
CLASS FORMAT: presentations by instructor, class discussion, writing exercises, demonstrations, experimentation and measurement, problem-solving, A/V material.
ASSIGNMENTS: reading, observational exercises, problem-solving, oral and written reports, experimentation, optional projects.
1 OVERVIEW OF THE FOUR FORCES. Presentation of the "big picture:" the four forces of physics -- gravitational, electromagnetic, weak, and nuclear. Discussion of the historical and philosophical context in which each force was introduced into the overall model of physics.
Writing Exercises: Holistic and reductionist thinking, falling bodies debate, physics for poets
2 LOGIC AND METAPHOR. The language and methods of physics.
Discussion of the role of mathematics in science, measurement
and experimentation, the influence of engineering on the models
of physics, and the technology associated with each force.
Writing Exercises: Computations
3 to 5 THE GRAVITATIONAL FORCE. Study of motion in the gravitational
field. Conservation of energy and momentum, and other concepts
that define gravity in our description of the universe.
Writing Exercises: Forces; Projectile Motion; Physics in Everyday Life; lab reports
6 to 8 THE ELECTROMAGNETIC FORCE/WAVE MOTION. Study of electricity
and magnetism, and electric currents. Properties of waves, both
longitudinal (such as sound waves) and transverse (such as light
waves). Discussion of wave motion as a fundamental characteristic
of the behavior of the universe.
Writing Exercises: Electric Field Lines; Wave motion; Inverse Square Law; Lab Reports; Physics in Everyday Life; Biographical Sketches
9 to 11 THE NUCLEAR FORCE. Study of atoms and nuclei, nuclear
fission and fusion. Models of the nucleus and the phenomena they
Writing Exercises: Calculate energies of ionization; Models of Nucleus; Design Experiments; Biographical Sketches; Physics in Everyday Life
12 and 13 THE WEAK FORCE. Study of radioactive decay and other
phenomena of elementary particle physics.
Writing Exercises: Conservation laws; Biographical Sketches; Physics in Everyday Life
14 and 15 QUANTUM MECHANICS AND RELATIVITY THEORY. Contemporary
research problems; competing theories of the universe; the existence
of other forces; chaos theory; the fundamental particles of the
Writing Exercises: Planck's Constant; Design Experiments; Physics in Everyday Life
1. Galileo Kit-duplication of Galileo's free-fall experiments
2. Potential-Kinetic Energy Tracks-inclined plane experiments
3. Simple Machines Kit-levers, wheels and axles, pulleys and gears
4. Centripetal Force-demonstration
5. Basic Electricity Kit-experiments in circuitry
6. Electric Motor Discovery Kits-assembly and exploration of electric motor
7. Electronics Experimentation Kit-integrated circuit projects
8. Ripple Tank Wave Generator -demonstration of wave motion
9. Cup Loudspeaker Kit- activities demonstrating amplification of waves
10. Complete Optical Bench-experiments in geometric optics
11. Cloud Chamber Set-experiments in alpha decay
12. Fiber Optics Kit-experiments and demonstrations in fiber optics
14. Particles and Interactions-activities based on fundamental particles