0Introduction

IA Dynamics and Relativity

0 Introduction

You’ve been lied to. You thought you applied for mathematics. And here you

have a course on physics. No, this course is not created for students taking the

“Maths with Physics” option. They don’t have to take this course (don’t ask

why).

Ever since Newton invented calculus, mathematics is becoming more and more

important in physics. Physicists seek to describe the universe in a few equations,

and derive everyday (physical) phenomena as mathematical consequences of

these equations.

In this course, we will start with Newton’s laws of motion and use it to derive

a lot of physical phenomena, including planetary orbits, centrifugal forces

a

and

the motion of rotating bodies.

The important thing to note is that we can “prove” all these phenomena just

under the assumption that Newton’s laws are correct (plus the formulas for, say,

the strength of the gravitational force). We are just doing mathematics here.

We don’t need to do any experiments to obtain the results (of course, we need

experiments to verify that Newton’s laws are indeed the equations that describe

this universe).

However, it turns out that Newton was wrong. While his theories were

accurate for most everyday phenomena, they weren’t able to adequately describe

electromagnetism. This lead to Einstein discovering special relativity. Special

relativity is also required to describe motion that is very fast. We will have a

brief introduction to special relativity at the end of the course.

a

Yes, they exist.