PH 212

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Introduction to PH 212

Physics is more than just a bunch of facts to be memorized or problems to be solved, it is a living discipline. Physics is a study of nature. Learning the basics of physics promotes seeing your everyday world in a whole new way. Physical models can be used to describe fundamental natures of systems, often by making simplifications. Once the simplified system is understood, more aspects of physics can be added to model an increasingly complicated system.

Physics 212 is the second course in a three quarter sequence, offered by the Oregon State University Physics Department. You need a good working knowledge of the topics in PH 211 to do well in this course.


You need a good working knowledge of kinematics, as we will study the angular equivalent in circular motion.

You should understand how to solve problems in the Newtonian force framework. This term, we will study the angular equivalents.

We will also study conservation. Just as momentum is conserved in the absence of external forces, angular momentum is conserved in the absence of external torques.

Problem solving begins with understanding the physical system involved and application of the appropriate underlying assumptions. Next, draw a good diagram. The diagram should then be used to create appropriate graphs or diagrams, such as free-body diagrams. The graph or diagram is used to construct a set of mathematical equations. One of the major flaws in the way folks typically approach physics problems is to jump right to the math, missing the underlying understanding of the system. As the systems become more difficult, paying attention to the underlying physics becomes increasingly important.

The second half of this course deals with oscillations and waves, and applications of wave theory to sound and light, such as wave optics. We also discuss ray optics and finish by considering the topic of gravity.