How Things Work: An Introduction to Physics (Coursera)

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An introduction to physics in the context of everyday objects.


Course Introduction

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Professor Bloomfield examines the principle of inertia through skate boarding. Objects at rest tend to remain at rest while objects in motion, tend to remain in motion. Why does a stationary skater remain stationary? Why does a moving skater tend to continue moving? How can we describe the fluid, effortless motion of a coasting skater? How does a skater start, stop, or turn? Why does a skater need ice or wheels in order to skate? Physics concepts covered include Newton’s first and second laws and 5 physical quantities: position, velocity, acceleration, force, and mass.

Falling Balls

Professor Bloomfield examines the physics concepts of gravity, weight, constant acceleration, and projectile motion working with falling balls.


Professor Bloomfield examines the physics concepts of Newton’s third law including conserved quantities, support forces, work, energy, and mechanical advantage working with ramps.


Professor Bloomfield illustrates the physics concepts of rotational versus translational motion, Newton’s law of rotation, and 5 physical quantities: angular position, angular velocity, angular acceleration, torque, and rotational mass using seesaws.


Professor Bloomfield illustrates the physics concept of frictional forces through experiments with wheels.

Bumper Cars

Professor Bloomfield examines the physics concepts of momentum, impulse, angular momentum, angular impulse, and the relationship between potential energy and force using bumper cars.


This is the final exam.


Louis A. Bloomfield

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Course Delivery


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14 Hours

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Course Length

8 Weeks

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Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Urdu

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