About This Course
This is a video instructional series on physics for college
and high school classrooms and adult learners. It is comprised of 52 half-hour video
programs that are arranged in the traditional sequence of topics.
- A free, one-time sign up is required.
- This is a broadband site.
The technical requirements include: Windows
Media Player, DSL, a cable modem, or a LAN connection to a T1 line or greater, and
Video for The Mechanical Universe ... and Beyond and
the lecture descriptions are provided courtesty of Annenberg/CPB.
Free-Ed.Net and SweetHaven Publishing Services are not affiliated with or
endorsed by the Annenberg/CPB Project.
Part 1--Classical Mechanics
- 1. Introduction
- This preview introduces revolutionary ideas and heroes from Copernicus to Newton, and
links the physics of the heavens and the earth.
- 2. The Law of Falling Bodies
- Galileo's imaginative experiments proved that all bodies fall with the same constant
- 3. Derivatives
- The function of mathematics in physical science and the derivative as a practical tool.
- 4. Inertia
- Galileo risks his favored status to answer the questions of the universe with his law of
- 5. Vectors
- Physics must explain not only why and how much, but also where and which way.
- 6. Newton's Laws
- Newton lays down the laws of force, mass, and acceleration.
- 7. Integration
- Newton and Leibniz arrive at the conclusion that differentiation and integration are
- 8. The Apple and the Moon
- The first real steps toward space travel are made as Newton discovers that gravity
describes the force between any two particles in the universe.
- 9. Moving in Circles
- A look at the Platonic theory of uniform circular motion.
- 10. Fundamental Forces
- All physical phenomena of nature are explained by four forces: two nuclear forces,
gravity, and electricity.
- 11. Gravity, Electricity, Magnetism
- Shedding light on the mathematical form of the gravitational, electric, and magnetic
- 12. The Millikan Experiment
- A dramatic recreation of Millikan's classic oil-drop experiment to determine the charge
of a single electron.
- 13. Conservation of Energy
- According to one of the major laws of physics, energy is neither created nor destroyed.
- 14. Potential Energy
- Potential energy provides a powerful model for understanding why the world has worked
the same way since the beginning of time.
- 15. Conservation of Momentum
- What keeps the universe ticking away until the end of time?
- 16. Harmonic Motion
- The music and mathematics of periodic motion.
- 17. Resonance
- Why a swaying bridge collapses with a high wind, and why a wine glass shatters with a
- 18. Waves
- With an analysis of simple harmonic motion and a stroke of genius, Newton extended
mechanics to the propagation of sound.
- 19. Angular Momentum
- An old momentum with a new twist.
- 20. Torques and Gyroscopes
- From spinning tops to the precession of the equinoxes.
- 21. Kepler's Three Laws
- The discovery of elliptical orbits helps describe the motion of heavenly bodies with
- 22. The Kepler Problem
- The deduction of Kepler's laws from Newton's universal law of gravitation is one of the
crowning achievements of Western thought.
- 23. Energy and Eccentricity
- The precise orbit of a heavenly body a planet, asteroid, or comet is fixed
by the laws of conservation of energy and angular momentum.
- 24. Navigating in Space
- Voyages to other planets use the same laws that guide planets around the solar system.
- 25. Kepler to Einstein
- From Kepler's laws and the theory of tides, to Einstein's general theory of relativity,
into black holes, and beyond.
- 26. Harmony of the Spheres
- A last lingering look back at mechanics to see new connections between old discoveries.
- 27. Beyond the Mechanical Universe
- The world of electricity and magnetism, and 20th-century discoveries of relativity and
- 28. Static Electricity
- Eighteenth-century electricians knew how to spark the interest of an audience with the
principles of static electricity.
- 29. The Electric Field
- Faraday's vision of lines of constant force in space laid the foundation for the modern
force field theory.
- 30. Potential and Capacitance
- Franklin proposes a successful theory of the Leyden jar and invents the parallel plate
- 31. Voltage, Energy, and Force
- When is electricity dangerous or benign, spectacular or useful?
- 32. The Electric Battery
- Volta invents the electric battery using the internal properties of different metals.
- 33. Electric Circuits
- The work of Wheatstone, Ohm, and Kirchhoff leads to the design and analysis of how
- 34. Magnetism
- Gilbert discovered that the earth behaves like a giant magnet. Modern scientists have
learned even more.
- 35. The Magnetic Field
- The law of Biot and Sarvart, the force between electric currents, and Ampère's law.
- 36. Vector Fields and Hydrodynamics
- Force fields have definite properties of their own suitable for scientific study.
- 37. Electromagnetic Induction
- The discovery of electromagnetic induction in 1831 creates an important technological
breakthrough in the generation of electric power.
- 38. Alternating Current
- Electromagnetic induction makes it easy to generate alternating current while
transformers make it practical to distribute it over long distances.
- 39. Maxwell's Equations
- Maxwell discovers that displacement current produces electromagnetic waves or light.
- 40. Optics
- Many properties of light are properties of waves, including reflection, refraction, and
- 41. The Michelson-Morley Experiment
- In 1887, an exquisitely designed measurement of the earth's motion through the ether
results in the most brilliant failure in scientific history.
- 42. The Lorentz Transformation
- If the speed of light is to be the same for all observers, then the length of a meter
stick, or the rate of a ticking clock, depends on who measures it.
- 43. Velocity and Time
- Einstein is motivated to perfect the central ideas of physics, resulting in a new
understanding of the meaning of space and time.
- 44. Mass, Momentum, Energy
- The new meaning of space and time make it necessary to formulate a new mechanics.
- 45. Temperature and Gas Laws
- Hot discoveries about the behavior of gases make the connection between temperature and
Part 4 Thermal Physics
- 46. Engine of Nature
- The Carnot engine, part one, beginning with simple steam engines.
- 47. Entropy
- The Carnot engine, part two, with profound implications for the behavior of matter and
the flow of time through the universe.
- 48. Low Temperatures
- With the quest for low temperatures came the discovery that all elements can exist in
each of the basic states of matter.
Part 5 Particle Physics
- 49. The Atom
- A history of the atom, from the ancient Greeks to the early 20th century, and a new
challenge for the world of physics.
- 50. Particles and Waves
- Evidence that light can sometimes act like a particle leads to quantum mechanics, the
- 51. From Atoms to Quarks
- Electron waves attracted to the nucleus of an atom help account for the periodic table
of the elements and ultimately lead to the search for quarks.
- 52. The Quantum Mechanical Universe
- A last look at where we've been and a peek into the future.