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Physics of the Everyday

Investigate everyday physics, from household objects to weather patterns.

Discover physics in unexpected places: from refrigerators and toilets, to traffic jams and water towers.

By the end of this course, you'll use powerful ideas like forces, energy, and estimation to solve crimes, design bridges, and throw axes through the lens of a physicist.

Interactive
quizzes

40

Concepts and
exercises

470+
  1. 1

    In the House

    From the fridge to the toilet.

    1. Refrigerators

      Each component of your fridge does something different. How do you put them together to keep food cold?

    2. Toilets

      Take a deep dive into the physics of the flush.

    3. Helicopter Toy

      Propellers are fun to play with, but they're also a product of natural selection.

    4. Water Contamination

      How much meth is in your tapwater? Hopefully, not the same amount as in your sewage.

  2. 2

    On the Field

    A workout for your body and mind.

    1. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Axe Throwing

      Hitting a target is easier than you think, if you know where to stand.

    2. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      BMX

      Use the concept of torque to land a wallride and grind a curvy rail.

    3. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Motocross

      If you want to land a front flip, you'd better have a grasp on angular momentum first.

    4. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Tug of War

      Brute strength won't help you in your next tug of war—find out what will.

  3. 3

    Fuel the World

    A series of high energy experiences.

    1. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Fossil Fuels

      Most energy on Earth is just stored solar energy, including oil. So why are fossil fuels unsustainable?

    2. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Mammalian Caloric Intake

      What fraction of its bodyweight does an elephant need to eat to survive? What about a mouse?

    3. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Solar Power

      Weigh the pros and cons of solar energy. Can solar power meet the demands of modern society?

    4. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Nuclear Energy

      Nuclear fusion powers the Sun, but how can something as small as an atom release so much energy?

  4. 4

    Out in Nature

    Don't forget your jacket.

    1. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Seasons

      Find out the real reason for the yearly cycle of seasons.

    2. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      The Greenhouse Effect

      How Earth found warmth in a cold, dark place.

    3. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Weather Systems

      Low pressure, high pressure, cold front, warm front — decode the jargon in your weather report.

    4. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      The Water Cycle

      Earth's water can be solid, liquid, or gas. How long does it spend in each phase?

  5. 5

    Infrastructure

    The spice must flow.

    1. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Fluoridated Water

      Is it a public health intervention, or a repressive government's mind-control tactic?

    2. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Airplanes

      What is lift? More importantly, what is a lift dumper?

    3. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Traffic

      Traffic jams aren't modern inventions, they're a force of nature.

    4. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Water Towers

      Find out why the water to your house stays on even when the power is off.

  6. 6

    Crime

    Whodunit?

    1. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Bike Tracks

      Crack a tricky murder investigation with the physics of bicycle tracks.

    2. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Blood Splatter

      Analyze blood splatter patterns to help reconstruct the events of a crime scene.

    3. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Auto Collisions

      Use clues about the tire skids and the extent of the damage to reconstruct a fatal collision.

    4. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Stray Bullets

      Can you predict where these stray bullets will end up? Kinematics can help.