2016 Fundamentals of Mechanics 1

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Basic science and technology courses
Okuma Satoshi 
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Course description and aims

The course teaches the fundamentals of particle motion starting with the equations of motion that describe the motion of an object.
Mechanics is important for understanding nature, and is essential for the study of science, engineering, life sciences, and other specialized courses. Students will learn the laws of motion and the mathematical description of motion. This will allow them to understand particle mechanics and they will be able to solve most general problems in mechanics.

Student learning outcomes

By completing this course, students will be able to:
1) Understand the concepts of velocity, acceleration, force, momentum, angular momentum, torque, work, energy, etc., correctly, and describe them mathematically.
2) Understand the laws of motion — the laws of conservation of momentum, angular momentum, and energy that are derived from the laws of motion — correctly, and solve actual mechanical problems by applying these laws.
3) Find mathematical solutions to problems in mechanics, expressed by the appropriate equations, and explain the physical meaning of said solutions.


position, velocity, acceleration, momentum, force, laws of motion, law of conservation of momentum, free fall, simple harmonic motion, parabolic motion, work, kinetic energy, potential energy, law of conservation of energy, central force, angular momentum, torque, law of conservation of angular momentum, universal gravitation, Kepler's laws

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Two-thirds of each class are devoted to fundamentals and the rest to advanced content or application. To allow students to get a good understanding of the course contents and practice application, problems related to the contents of this course are provided in Exercises in Physics I.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Description of motion (position, velocity, acceleration) Explain position, velocity, and acceleration using vectors.
Class 2 Newton’s three laws of motion (law of inertia, equation of motion, law of action and reaction, momentum) Explain Newton’s three laws of motion and express motion using the equations of motion.
Class 3 Linear motion 1 (free fall, simple harmonic motion, simple pendulum, damped harmonic oscillation, and driven harmonic oscillation) Explain typical linear motions such as free fall and simple harmonic motion.
Class 4 Linear motion 2, law of conservation of energy (kinetic energy, potential energy, integration of equation of motion) Explain the concept of conservation of energy in linear motion
Class 5 Motion in a plane (parabolic motion, motion under gravity) Explain damped linear motion (damped harmonic oscillation and driven harmonic oscillation) in addition to planar motion such as parabolic motion.
Class 6 Work and energy (kinetic energy, conservative force, potential energy, and integration of equation of motion in two dimensions) Explain the concepts of work, kinetic energy, potential energy, and the law of conservation of energy.
Class 7 Motion under a central force 1 (angular momentum, law of conservation of angular momentum, description of velocity and acceleration in terms of polar coordinates) Explain the law of conservation of angular momentum and the motion of a particle under a central force, and express motion using polar coordinates.
Class 8 Motion under a central force 2 (Newton's law of universal gravitation and planetary motion (Kepler’s laws)) Explain the motion of a particle under universal gravitation and Kepler’s laws for planetary motion.


Fundamentals of Mechanics, Kazukiyo Nagata, Science-sha and handouts.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Specified by the instructor.

Assessment criteria and methods

Learning achievement is evaluated by a final exam.

Related courses

  • LAS.P105 : Exercises in Physics I

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisites.

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