Physics BSC206

Physics is a subject that underpins so much of what we do in our daily lives


  • It relates to everything we hear and see; and every movement we make or cause to be made.
  • Understanding physics allows us to do our work better: from making and moving things to using tools and equipment

Learn to Understand Motion

Examining objects in motion and understanding the concepts of displacement, velocity, speed and acceleration is a great way to understand how physics work. It is the study of motion which began since 400 years that gave birth to the science of physics, and is often known as “kinematics”. There are only a few mathematical equations that you need to know in this section and they are relatively simple and straight forward and easy to remember.

What are Waves?
Simply put waves are a form of energy travelling from one place to another; for example think of the sun, it is very far away yet its light and heat reaches earth, think of hitting a snare drum; the sound travels to your ears. These are only two examples of waves but there are many more. Unfortunately sound waves and radio waves can’t really be seen, this makes them hard to describe, however one can visualize how waves behave when dropping a stone into water.

What are Electrostatics?
Over the past few decades, people’s dependency on electricity has witnessed an exponential growth, compared with the past century where people only used a few electric lights. However, scientists began to study and research electricity long before electric lamps were invented. These studies and observations date back to the days of ancient Greeks when they observed that rubbing amber would allow it to attract smaller objects such as feathers. To better understand electricity, we need to start with understanding electrostatics which is the study of electric charges at rest.

Understanding Energy
The energy of an object can be defined as the potential of that object to do work. This has relevance to kinetic energy, potential energy and lother energy types such as chemical, electrical, nuclear and thermal energy. To further understand the concept of energy, consider a ball rolling on the ground. If you apply a force to the ball and increase its rolling speed, you are actually doing work on the ball which results in an increase in the ball’s energy. So as you can see, work and energy are inter-related and in this lesson you will learn how to calculate the work done on an object as well as the amount of potential and kinetic energy that object possesses at any point in time.

Learn more about things like this by studying this course; starting any time, and working through it at a pace that suits your own abilities.

Course Content

There are 10 lessons in this course:

1. Review of Basic Algebra

  • Introduction
  • Equations and formulae
  • Variables
  • Quadratic equations
  • Graphing
  • Geometry
  • Triangles
  • Basic formulae
  • Quadrilaterals
  • Angles and radians
  • Logarithms and exponentials
  • Trigonometry

2. Introduction: Scope and Nature of Physics

  • Observing, measuring, modeling, predicting
  • Units of measurement
  • Converting between units
  • Precision of measurements and identifying significant digits

3. Forces and Mechanics

  • Physics and motion
  • Displacement
  • Speed and velocity
  • Acceleration
  • Force
  • Force of gravity
  • Work
  • Power
  • Energy

4. Waves

  • What are waves
  • Properties of waves: longitudinal waves, transverse waves
  • Wave terminology
  • Relationship of frequency or period
  • Wave speed
  • Electromagnetic radiation and waves
  • Sound waves
  • Sound spectrum
  • Measuring sound
  • Speed of sound
  • Doppler effect
  • Standing waves and resonance

5. Electricity and Magnetism

  • Electrostatics
  • Conductors and insulators
  • How to make an electroscope
  • Coulomb's law
  • The electric field
  • Electricity and electric circuits
  • Current
  • Voltage
  • Resistance
  • Power
  • Ohm's law
  • Circuits: series, parallel
  • Magnets
  • Magnetic forces
  • Ferromagnetism
  • Creating magnets
  • Earth's magnetic fiels
  • Geomagnetic reversal
  • Electromagnetism
  • Electromagnetism and solenoids
  • Electric motors
  • Magnetic force
  • Right hand rule
  • Inductors
  • Lenz's law

6. Energy and Work

  • What is energy
  • Mechanical energy
  • Potential energy
  • Kinetic energy
  • Conservation of total energy and mechanical energy
  • Converting kinetic energy into potential energy
  • Work and force
  • Conservative and non conservative forces
  • Conservation of mass energy

7. Fundamentals of Thermodynamics

  • Temperature measurement units
  • Fahrenheit
  • Celsius
  • Kelvin
  • Converting between units
  • What is heat
  • Heat transfers: thermal equilibrium
  • Thermal expansion and thermal contraction

8. Light and Optics

  • What is light
  • Reflection
  • Refraction
  • Demonstration of refraction
  • Index of refraction
  • Difraction
  • The electromagnetic spectrum
  • How a rainbow forms
  • What are mirrors
  • Flat mirrors
  • Convex mirrors
  • Concave mirrors
  • Lenses
  • Converging lenses
  • Diverging lenses

9. Nuclear Physics and Radioactivity

  • Structure of matter
  • The periodic table
  • What is radioactivity
  • Alpha radiation
  • Beta radiation
  • Gamma radiation
  • Radioactivity applications
  • Nuclear medicine -diagnostic and therapy
  • Radioactive tracers in agriculture
  • Food irradiation
  • Archeological and geological dating
  • Radiocarbon dating
  • Half life
  • Power generation
  • Radiation effects and injuries
  • Cancer and burns caused by radiation

10. Astronomy, Cosmology and Astrophysics

  • What is astronomy
  • The pioneers of astronomy
  • The branches of astronomy
  • Sub fields of astronomy
  • Astronomy in our daily life
  • The most important discoveries in astronomy
  • What is Cosmology
  • How did cosmology evolve
  • Hubbles law
  • Cosmological principle
  • Calculate the age of the universe using the Hubble constant
  • What is astrophysics

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

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