This course covers Mechanics, a field of study pioneered by Isaac Newton that is primarily concerned with describing the motion of macroscopic objects in response to forces. In developing this subject, we will encounter several important concepts such as energy, momentum, and angular momentum. In the last part of the course we will study oscillations, waves, and sound. This course includes lab PHY221.

Course outline:

  • Weeks 1-4: Describing motion (kinematics)
  • Weeks 5-7: Predicting and Explaining Motion (Newton’s laws)
  • Weeks 7-8: Energy
  • Week 9: break
  • Weeks 10-11: Conservation of energy and momentum
  • Weeks 12-14: Extended objects, rotational dynamics
  • Weeks 14-15: Oscillations and waves


Course objectives: This course has several rather broad goals. They include that you

  • develop a good understanding of a few important concepts in physics
  • learn to apply these concepts to familiar and unfamiliar situations
  • gain the ability to reason qualitatively and quantitatively about physics


This course includes lab PHY222

In Physics 212 you will learn about three fascinating subjects, electricity, magnetism, and light. These subjects are at the core of many diverse phenomena in nature, technology, and our everyday lives. They make possible conveniences of modern technology like wireless communication, various medical diagnostic techniques, light bulbs, and electric power stations. Moreover, they include things we often take for granted, like the sunlight that heats our planet, the chemical bonds that hold us together, and the signals that beat our hearts. What is perhaps most remarkable about the phenomena of electricity, magnetism, and light is that they are consequences of a single thing: the existence of electric charge. This fundamental property of matter is the source of the electric and magnetic forces and the electromagnetic radiation that dominate our lives. During the semester, you will start to explore the nature of electric charge. You will learn some of the basic rules and concepts that we use to describe the behavior of charge and account for a wide range of electric and magnetic phenomena. From these studies, you will develop a solid foundation from which to begin to understand the electromagnetic world in which we live. The objectives of this course are: (1) To develop a basic understanding of the laws of electromagnetism; (2) to develop the ability to apply these new concepts, both qualitatively and quantitatively, to familiar and unfamiliar physical situations; and (3) to develop an appreciation for the essential role that electromagnetism plays both in our modern society and in the natural world at large.