AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Session: Astronomy in the Physics Classroom
  Paper Type: Contributed
  Title: Motivating Mechanics Using Astronomy and Space Science: Physics from Planet Earth
  Meeting: 2015 Summer Meeting: College Park, Maryland
  Location: N/A
  Time: 9:30AM
  Author: Joseph C. Amato, Colgate University
(607) 277-1623, jamato@colgate.edu
  Co-Author(s): Enrique J. Galvez
  Abstract: The foundations of classical mechanics were laid down by Galileo and Newton to explain the motions of the Earth, Moon and planets, and to comprehend our place within the cosmos. These same goals are used to enrich and invigorate Colgate's introductory calculus-level mechanics course. Milestone discoveries (e.g., Hipparchus' measurement of the Earth-Moon distance, Kepler's laws, Newton's law of Universal Gravitation, Hubble's law) inspire the study of physics while illuminating the human aspect of scientific progress. Breaking-news events (e.g., the discovery of exoplanets, dark matter and energy; interplanetary spaceflight; the landing of Philae) enliven traditional topics and demonstrate that a basic understanding of mechanics is sufficient to appreciate many of the breathtaking discoveries of our day. The course has an associated textbook, entitled Physics from Planet Earth. Examples from the text (including exercises and homework problems) which use astronomy and space science to illustrate physical concepts are presented.
  Footnotes: None
  Presentation: Mac Version Motivating Physics….pptx

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