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Describing motion along a line

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Motion is vital to life, and to science. This free course, Describing motion along a line, will help you to understand why classical motion is probably the most fundamental part of physics. You will examine motion along a line and the ways in which such motion can be represented, through the use of graphs, equations and differential calculus.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • explain the meaning of all the newly defined (emboldened) terms introduced in this course
  • draw, analyse and interpret position-time, displacement-time, velocity-time and acceleration-time graphs. Where appropriate, you should also be able to relate those graphs one to another and to the functions or equations that describe them, particularly in the case of straight-line graphs
  • find the derivatives of simple polynomial functions, express physical rates of change as derivatives, and relate derivatives to the gradients of appropriate graphs
  • solve simple problems involving uniform motion and uniformly accelerated motion by using appropriate equations. You should also be able to rearrange simple equations, to change the subject of an equation, and to eliminate variables between sets of equations
  • describe the nature and purpose of drop-towers and drop-shafts, with particular reference to their role in simulating the near weightless conditions of space.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 15 hours
  • Updated Wednesday 16th March 2016
  • Intermediate level
  • Posted under Physics and Astronomy
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Describing motion along a line

Introduction

Unit image

Motion is vital to life, and to science. In many ways it was the investigation of motion, initiated by Galileo Galilei in the late sixteenth century, and brought to a head by Isaac Newton in the seventeenth, that inaugurated the modern era of physics. Progress since that time has been so great that describing motion is now regarded as a fundamental part of science rather than one of its frontiers. Nonetheless, the description of motion played a central role in Einstein's formulation of the special theory of relativity in 1905, and it continues to provide an excellent starting point for the quantitative investigation of nature.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 2 study in Science [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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