
Here you find an algebrabased course on Newtonian mechanics at the highschool level, oriented towards astronomy and spaceflight. It thus omits rigid body mechanicsno torque or moment of inertiabut includes mass measurements in the weightless environment of a space station (with a simple related experiment), synchronous orbits and space trajectories from Earth to Mars. The stress is on concepts, such as vectors and their applications, mass and inertia, and uses of frames of references, including the thorny question of centripetal vs. centrifugal. Applications illustrate the way physics makes the nature understandablewhat hurricanes swirl counterclockwise (but with draining water in a sink, it's fiftyfifty), why wings of jetliners are swept back, why a bicycle cannot be balanced without moving and how energy serves as a currency paying for physical processes, with heat the "soft currency" of nature. Newton's discovery of universal gravitation is explained, and his apple tree, too, makes a cameo appearance. For earlier web pages, covering Kepler's laws, see Part I of "Stargazers" which discusses astronomy. For applications of Newtonian mechanics to rocket flight (page #25), the concept of the ballistic pendulum (#26), Lagrangian points (#34) and gravityassist maneuvers (#35), see Part IV on spaceflight
14. Vectors 15. Energy 16. Newton and his Laws 17. Mass 17a. Mass Measurements aboard Space Station Skylab 17b. Comparing Masses without the Use of Gravity 18. Newton's Second Law 18a. Newton's Third Law 18b. Momentum 18c. Work 18d. Work against an Electric Force: The Van de Graaff Generator 19. Motion in a Circle 20. Newton's theory of "Universal Gravitation" 21. Kepler's Third Law 21a. Applying Kepler's Third Law
Optional: Spaceflight to Mars
22. Frames of Reference: The Basics 
Author and Curator: Dr. David P. Stern
Mail to Dr.Stern: stargaze("at" symbol)phy6.org .
Last updated: 9222004