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Classical Mechanics

Hardcore training for the aspiring physicist.

Here we'll establish the bedrock principles of physics and use them to reveal matter in motion; from drones and rockets to skyscrapers and blinking fireflies.

By the end, you'll develop a rigorous approach to describing the natural world and you'll be ready to take on new challenges in quantum mechanics and special relativity.

Interactive
quizzes

49

Concepts and
exercises

705+
  1. 1

    Introduction

    A quick look at what classical mechanics can do for you.

    1. Formula One Racing

      Want to design the fastest car? You'll need classical mechanics for that.

    2. Cellular Automaton

      Complex behavior can emerge from very simple rules.

    3. Huygens' Clock Puzzle

      Get hands-on with interactive pendulums and crack this classic puzzle.

  2. 2

    Kinematics

    A common language for everything that moves.

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      Kinematics in the City

      Navigate the difference between acceleration and velocity on the streets of the city.

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      The Kinematic Equations

      Derive the most useful kinematic relationships for an accelerating object.

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      Angular Kinematics

      Try your kinematics skills at the racetrack.

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      Projectile Motion

      Can you help Robin Hood prove he's the best shot in Nottinghamshire?

  3. 3

    Newton's Laws

    Three simple laws govern nearly everything you see.

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      What are Forces?

      Ride on a park swing to learn the basics of forces.

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      The 3 Laws of Motion

      Get to know Newton's laws of motion at hockey practice.

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      Weight and Scales

      Use Newton's laws to help a fly escape from a sealed jar.

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      Pressure

      Take a deep dive to learn about forces in fluids.

  4. 4

    Energy

    It's the currency of the Universe.

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      Exploring Energy

      Find out how energy transforms on the ski slopes.

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      Work-Energy Theorem

      Uncover the work-energy theorem by taking an elephant for a sleigh ride.

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      Conservation of Energy

      Energy can never be created or destroyed, only changed.

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      Power

      How much energy do your muscles consume?

  5. 5

    Momentum

    Solve some harder problems with a different angle on Newton's Laws.

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      Momentum in the Office

      Annoy your coworkers by building a jet engine on your office chair.

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      Impulse-Momentum Theorem

      Save your knees when you jump from trees.

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      Rocket Equation

      How much fuel does a rocket need to get to space?

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      Ideal Gas Law

      How many gas molecules are inside a basketball?

  6. 6

    Reference Frames

    To make measurements, first you'll need a coordinate system.

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      Relativity on the Train

      Are you moving or am I?

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      Center of Mass Frame

      Bumper car collisions are simple in this reference frame.

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      Rotating Frames

      A rotating reference frame is necessary when you're driving around in circles.

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      Einstein's Theory of Relativity

      The speed of light is constant in any reference frame.

  7. 7

    Statics

    The science of standing still.

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      Tower of Cards

      Where is the weakest point in a tower of cards?

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      Irregular Towers

      Derive the force on any single block in a stack.

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      Static Equilibrium

      Two conditions must be satisfied for any building to stand tall.

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      Rope Statics

      When you're scaling a cliff, it takes a lot of strength to stay still.

  8. 8

    Springs

    In a mostly stable world, simple harmonic oscillations are the norm.

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      Energy Landscapes

      A golf ball rolling in a valley behaves just like a spring.

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      Elastic Forces

      Much of modern physics stems from a single force law.

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      Simple Harmonic Oscillators

      A Florida orange moving around a circle is the perfect oscillator.

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      Pendulums

      How can a pendulum clock keep good time?

  9. 9

    Oscillations

    You see new behaviors when you link oscillators together.

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      Vibrations in Molecules

      The fingerprint of every molecule can be found in its vibrations.

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      Coupled Oscillations

      Connect two pendulums by a spring, and let them talk.

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      Strings

      Every possible vibration can be built up from simpler patterns.

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      Loaded Strings

      Make waves by coupling oscillators in a line.

  10. 10

    General Considerations

    Where do we go from here?

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      Natural Units

      Nature provides its own meter sticks, and it hints at the great unknown.

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      Lagrangian Mechanics

      There's another way to understand all of mechanics, and it's awesome.