Physics I

Conic sections for gravitational orbits.

Gravity is one of the fundamental forces in nature. Applying conservation laws for energy and angular momentum results in well defined orbits for systems of two masses. These orbits may be represented by conic sections: circles, ellipses, parabolas, and hyperbolas depending on the total energy of the system. (Figure by Prof. Stanley Kowalski.)


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Fall 2003



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Physics I is a first-year physics course which introduces students to classical mechanics. Topics include: space and time; straight-line kinematics; motion in a plane; forces and equilibrium; experimental basis of Newton's laws; particle dynamics; universal gravitation; collisions and conservation laws; work and potential energy; vibrational motion; conservative forces; inertial forces and non-inertial frames; central force motions; rigid bodies and rotational dynamics.

Kowalski, Stanley. 8.01 Physics I, Fall 2003. (MIT OpenCourseWare: Massachusetts Institute of Technology), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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