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Calculus Based Physics 1

  1. May 31, 2012 #1
    Hey guys, I'm wondering what topics in calc-based physics 1 (classical mechanics) actually use calculus. The only few that I can think of are motion laws, newtons laws, work, SHM(?). Anything else that I'm missing (well I've only taken algebra based physics and calc 1, but I'm wondering what else calculus will be used for in physics 1.)

    Does a lot of the math transfer from algebra based to calculus based?

    Any input is appreciated.

    Note: I know that calculus is used much more in E&M, I don't need that explained, thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2012 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    shm = simple harmonic motion ie pendulums, springs...
  4. May 31, 2012 #3
    You may do a derivative and integral here and there. For the most part, calculus in Physics I is used for derivations. The algebra-based math should transfer over to the calculus-based class.
  5. May 31, 2012 #4
    Lol I know what it is, the question mark was because I wasn't positive calculus is used in it.
  6. May 31, 2012 #5
    Probably angular stuff and gravity.
  7. Jun 1, 2012 #6
    The thing is with calculus based physics I, they tell you how all those equations came about using calculus. For example, the equation for spring for F = -kx. They then would tell you in an algebra class that spring work W = 1/2kx^2. This just comes from calculus but instead of telling you where it comes from they just kind of tell you to know it.
  8. Jun 1, 2012 #7
    So they take the derivative of work to get the force of a spring..? If that's the only difference then this class should be a piece of cake lol.
  9. Jun 1, 2012 #8
    that was my experience, it was nearly identical to algebra based physics other than what I previously mentioned, as well as they go over cross and dot product. You know for the work its been Fdcosθ...but they didn't tell you that was from the dot product. Same with using cross product for torque. Some vector notation used and it's nearly the same as an algebra based class.
  10. Jun 1, 2012 #9
    Dot/cross products I learned how they're linked in physics in my precalc class lol.
  11. Jun 1, 2012 #10
    ok well then you are more than ready for the math portion of physics 1, just the concept part is all you need to learn. For me the dot product/cross product wasn't introduced until third semester of calculus.
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