The aim of this module is to show the impact Newtonian mechanics has on physics. The microscopic motion of atoms can be modelled using Newton’s laws and hence provide us with an understanding of macroscopic quantities such as pressure and temperature. Newton’s law of gravitation can be used to predict the motion of planets and distant galaxies. In the final section we explore the intricacies of stars and the expansion of the Universe by analysing the electromagnetic radiation from space. As such, it lends itself to the consideration of how the development of the scientific model is improved based on the advances in the means of observation.

We will be focussing on the following areas:

Thermal Physics
This section provides knowledge and understanding of temperature, matter, specific heat capacity and specific latent heat with contexts involving heat transfer and change of phase.

Circular Motion
There are many examples of objects travelling at constant speed in circles, e.g. planets, artificial satellites, charged particles in a magnetic eld, etc. The physics in all these cases can be described and analysed using the ideas developed by Newton. The concepts in this section have applications in many contexts present in other sections of this course, such as planetary motion.

Oscillatory motion is all around us, with examples including atoms vibrating in a solid, a bridge swaying in the wind, the motion of pistons of a car and the motion of tides.

Gravitational Fields
This section provides knowledge and understanding of Newton’s law of gravitation, planetary motion and gravitational potential and energy. Newton’s law of gravitation can be used to predict the motion of orbiting satellites, planets and even why some objects in our Solar system have very little atmosphere with the opportunity to analyse evidence and look at causal relationships.  Geostationary satellites have done much to improve telecommunications around the world. They are expensive; governments and industry have to make difficult decisions when building new ones. You will have the opportunity to discuss the societal benefits of satellites and the risks they pose when accidents do occur

Astrophysics and Cosmology
This section provides knowledge and understanding of stars, Wien’s displacement law, Stefan’s law, Hubble’s law and the Big Bang. You will have the opportunity to appreciate how scientific ideas of the Big Bang developed over time and how its validity is supported by research and experimental work carried out by the scientific community.