University of New South Wales conducts online course on Mechanics

Online course on Mechanics


Mechanics is the basis of much of physics, engineering and other technological disciplines. It begins by quantifying motion, and then explaining it in terms of forces, energy, momentum and forces including gravity. This course allows to analyse the operation of many familiar phenomena around us, but also the mechanics of planets, stars and galaxies.

About the course

This course will help students understand with greater depth many of the wonders in everyday life, in technology, in the universe at large. That, in turn, will lead them to look further and deeper into the world and the universe around them.

Course Syllabus

Week 1: Introducing physics, mechanics and this course. And taking you through a range of tools needed for physics.

Week 2: Motion in one dimension.

Week 3: Kinematics in two dimensions including the motion of projectiles and motion in a circle.

Week 4: Newton's laws of motion.

Week 5: Weight vs mass. Contact forces, their normal and frictional components. Hooke's law and springs.

Week 6: Newton's second law in terms of kinetic energy. Introducing potential and internal energy. Conservation laws. Energy transformation and power

Week 7: Newton's second law in terms of momentum. Collisions and conservation of momentum

Week 8: Newton's law of universal gravitation. Gravitational potential energy and escape velocity. Kepler's laws and the motion of satellites, planets and galaxies.


For this course students will need some simple high-school mathematics: arithmetic, a little algebra, quadratic equations, the sine, cos and tan functions from trigonometry. The course does not use calculus. However, we do provide a study aid introducing the calculus that would accompany this course if it were taught in a university.

Course Format

Each module spans 1 week of the course and has 4 to 5 lessons in video format, totalling less than half an hour of video per week. The videos contain key experiments, animations, development of material and worked examples.

Course Sessions

August 25, 2014 - September 10, 2014

For further information, click here.

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