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Calculus based physics differences algebra based physics

  • Thread starter thharrimw
  • Start date
27
0
as someone stupid enough to sign up for courses without checking to see if they'll actually go towards my degree (i know, i'm a ****ing idiot) and thus ending up taking both algebra and calculus based physics, i can tell you that there's not a hell of a lot of difference. you learn all the same concepts and equations: in my experience there was absolutely nothing new that i picked up in calc based physics. the classes only varied in that the prof spent more time going over the whys and hows of the equations and how they worked (a lot of which derived from calculus, like s=a/2(t^2)+vi(t)+si ). that's the way it is at my college at least, there could be huge differences at other schools but in my experience there was virtually no difference. IMO, you could take a class in algebra based physics, take a calculus course afterwards, and be just as well off as someone who took both calc-based physics and calculus itself at the same time (hell, you could be better off: calculus makes a hell of a lot more sense when you're learning it if you already know a thing or two about velocity and acceleration)
 
Calculus based physics sounds easier.
 
Say what? That's the definition of acceleration. How does it follow from Newton's second law?
I don't know much about cal. based physics but, I'm guessing it comes from 1/2 a^2 +m
 
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I don't know much about cal. based physics but, I'm guessing it comes from 1/2 a^2 +m
That makes absolutely no sense. And the units don't match up either.
 

cristo

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
8,056
72
Say what? That's the definition of acceleration. How does it follow from Newton's second law?
I think D H is talking about this version of Newton's second law [tex]F=\frac{d(mv)}{dt}[/tex]. I'm not sure how [itex]\ddot{x}=a[/itex] comes from this though; perhaps I'm missing something!
 
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Basically with calculus we are able to expand upon the ideas presented with an algebraic approach to physics. Not only can the algebraic equations be derived using calculus but there are some cases where it is much more practical (and easier) to use calculus.

For instance say we wanted to find a velocity of a function at a certain time, with only knowing it's position at any given time. Without calculus the best we can do is approximate this. But since a velocity is just a change in position, if we find the change in position over an infinitely small time interval we can find the actual velocity of an object. This would be an example of differentiation.

An example of integral calculus would be something like this. Say you have a rigid rod and you wanted to calculate the force of gravity the rod exerts on another object at sometime. Well to do this we need to chop the rod up into finitely small parts and find the force for all of these parts, then sum them together to get the total force. Without calculus goodluck summing up the force of an infinite number of pieces of a rod.

Also you can have differential equations (Just shows how a particular function is changing) and you might want to calculate a value of the function at a particular point. A good example of this would be a spring that is dampened.
 
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algebra based physics is what pre med students take
calc based physics is what science/engineering majors take.
simple as that.
 
That makes absolutely no sense. And the units don't match up either.
Oh the plus should be a x and the m should be a v. I just did some basic antidifferentiation.
 

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