Please help AP Physics assignment

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hi.. my summer assignment for AP Physics is to write a three page paper describing the 'Principles of Physics', and to make a video that properly displays them to go along with it... i am having the hardest time finding the principles.. everytime i search i get links to college courses or physics sites that do not have what i am looking for. do any of you know what the 'principles of physics' are? or can any of you direct me to a site that will give me the information that i need?.... i have also gone to my local library and i was unable to find all the information i need. PLEASE HELP ME!

<3 nina


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Well, there are no specific 'principles' that the physics community agrees upon, so the assignment is open-ended. I see two ways you could tackle it:

Option 1) There are fundamental theories:

1) Newtonian mechanics, which deals with the trajectories of baseballs and planets.

2) Quantum mechanics, which deals with the behavior of microscopic particles, e.g. those inside atoms.

3) Classical electromagnetism, which deals with antennas and cavity resonators and Maxwell's equations.

4) Special and general relativity, which together deal with relative motion and gravitation.

5) Quantum electrodynamics, which extends classical electromagnetism to the quantum domain.

6) Atomic theory and statistical mechanics, which deal with gases and ensembles.

7) Nuclear and particle physics, which deals with the particle zoo and modes of decay, etc.

You could do an outline of these 7 (or more) areas and the types of problems they solve. This would be, IMO, an excellent project on the 'principles of physics.'

Option 2) Another interpretation might be the principles of doing physics. These principles might be the mathematical and intuitive toolkit physicists use to solve problems. Such tools are the calculus (and all its subtypes, such as vector calculus, multivariable calculus, the calculus of variations, and differential equations), differential geometry, vector analysis, linear algebra, group theory, and so on. These topics unfortunately require a good bit of study (i.e. an undergraduate education or more) in order to accurately describe them. While it's a valid interpretation of the question, it'd be tough for you to do.

I say go with option 1!

- Warren

Chi Meson

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As was mentioned, your assignment was obviously open-ended. "The priciples of Physics" is very vague indeed. In fact, it just about covers everything!

My guess, since it is an AP physics class, is that you should concentrate on the "classical" (also known as "Newtonian") mechanics principles:

the law of conservation of momentum, the law of conservation of energy, the law of universal gravitation, uniform circular motion.

Go further and include optics: Laws of reflection and refraction, the phenomena of diffraction and refraction (and the unifying priciple that ties these four together: Huygens' Principle: blow your teacher away by showing you understand that!) Remember that light is the only thing you can see (P. Hewitt said that).

Want more? go into electromagnetism: Ohm's Law, Ampere's Law, Kirchoff's rules. Stay away from the Maxwell Equations for now!

ANd then there's heat! THis is fun; you have the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd laws of thermodynamics. But wait there's more! The "zeroth" law precedes them! Toss in Newton's Law (him again!)of heating and that area is only starting!

I guess that your teacher is not expecting a 20 page paper from everyone in the class, so you don't have to cover everything. I would suggest that you video stuff going on (everything you look at is controlled by the priciples of physics) and then identify the principles behind what you are watching. You could go on and on for pages and pages by examining a waterfall for example.

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