Smartphone & Computational Physics

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
July 13, 2020 - July 24, 20207/13 - 7/24M-F 8:30A-11:20A; Week 1: W&F 12:30-3:05 & Week 2 M&W 12:30-3:05OpenRenuka Rajapakse

Course Description

This course will provide an overview of Newtonian Mechanics. We will be studying one and two dimensional motion, forces, momentum, energy, rotational motion, periodic motion and light. Starting with the concepts of vectors we will move on to studying Newton's laws of physics. Learning about the conservation of energy and momentum will then lead to the analysis of circular motion. We will learn about periodic motion, waves and light, which will lead to the developments of some concepts in modern physics and electromagnetic theory.

Smartphones and tablets in use today have sensors that are able to measure lengths, positions, velocities, accelerations, light and sound as well as many other physical phenomena such as vibrations and magnetic fields. We will be using smartphones or tablets as i/o devices to take measurements that will help us understand Newton's laws of physics. We will study the mechanics of solids, physics of waves, electromagnetism, optics and thermodynamics using a smartphone or tablet as our main measurement device. We will then use computer software such as Mathematica to analyze our data and to make further predictions.

Learning will be interactive, starting out with simple experiments leading us to concepts in mechanics. We will learn the theory behind our experimental results, and develop our experiments further to increase accuracy. The students will require some background reading, which will develop their critical thinking skills. They will work in groups, develop collaborative skills, and how to present their data in a way that highlights the concepts they have learned. This course also incorporates an academic group project which requires a presentation of their findings.

When possible, we plan to visit some of the laboratories at Brown University and observe the applications of introductory physics concepts in an advanced research environment.

The learning objectives for this course are for students to develop creative and critical thinking skills, and learn to identify critical information that help them in problem solving. The students will appropriately reason, synthesize knowledge and evaluate information necessary to solve problems and form perspectives on issues facing the world today.

Prerequisites: Some knowledge of algebra is recommended. It is encouraged that the students bring a laptop.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPI0607
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

STEM for Rising 9th and 10th Graders

Two-week, non-credit residential program focused on STEM subjects and taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 8-9 by June 2020; minimum age of 14 and maximum age of 15 by the start of the program.

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