2021 Fundamentals of Mechanics 1 E

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Academic unit or major
Basic science and technology courses
Uchida Masaki 
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Course description and aims

The course teaches the fundamentals of particle motion starting with the equations 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 physical laws of motion and their mathematical description. This will allow them to understand particle mechanics as well as find solutions to most general problems in mechanics.

Student learning outcomes

By completing this course, students will be able to:
1) Correctly understand the concepts of velocity, acceleration, force, momentum, angular momentum, torque, work, energy, etc., and mathematically describe them.
2) Correctly understand the laws of motion; the laws of conservation of momentum, angular momentum, and energy that are derived from the laws of motion; and solve actual physical 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 is devoted to fundamentals and the rest to advanced content or application. To allow students to get a good grasp of the course contents and practice problem solving skills, 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) Explain Newton’s three laws of motion and describe motion using the differential equations.
Class 3 Linear motion (free fall, simple harmonic motion, simple pendulum, coupled oscillation) Explain typical linear motions such as free fall and simple harmonic motion.
Class 4 Motion in a plane (parabolic motion, damped harmonic oscillation, and driven harmonic oscillation) Explain damped harmonic oscillation and driven harmonic oscillation in addition to planar motion such as parabolic motion.
Class 5 Work and energy (kinetic energy, conservative force and potential energy), law of conservation of energy Explain the concepts of work, kinetic energy, potential energy, and the law of conservation of energy.
Class 6 Motion under a central force ,Motion of planets(description of velocity and acceleration in terms of polar coordinates) Explain the motion of a particle under a central force, as well as describe such motion using polar coordinates.
Class 7 Angular momentum and torque (vector product) Explain the concepts of angular momentum and torque, and express them using the vector product.

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


Morikazu Toda, Mechanics, Iwanami Shoten (Japanese)

Reference books, course materials, etc.

None required.

Assessment criteria and methods

Learning achievement is mainly 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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