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Schools Things I should know before starting University Physics

  1. Jan 11, 2013 #1
    I live in Canada, and plan to start my Bachelor of Science - Majoring in Physics (Obviously) this upcoming semester. What things should I be knowledgeable about before I start so I am fully prepared?

    I will be taking Physics 1050 first, which is the starting class for people that did not take Pysics 30(Grade 12 level Physics) in high school.

    Are there a few things I should be familiar with from physics 30 before jumping in?
    I also don't remember physics 20 much, so I am basically doing a big several month learning sesh/review so I don't make a fool of myself when I get there.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 11, 2013 #2
    If you are taking a class meant for people who never took grade 12 physics, it is probably safe to assume you don't need to know anything from grade 12 physics.
  4. Jan 11, 2013 #3
    Anyone have some useful input?
  5. Jan 11, 2013 #4
    You explicitly asked: "I will be taking Physics 1050 first, which is the starting class for people that did not take Pysics 30(Grade 12 level Physics) in high school. Are there a few things I should be familiar with from physics 30 before jumping in?"

    The answer is obviously no, or it wouldn't be for people who hadn't taken the class. You haven't asked any other specific question, beyond a vague request for things you should know to be prepared—but not knowing anything about the class you're going to take or the classes you have taken, nobody can answer that.

    I answered your question. If it's not what you were looking for, you should ask a new question rather than being dismissive of it.
  6. Jan 11, 2013 #5
    Yes that was part of the question.

    Well if you don't know anything about the class I posted about then you obviously can't help me. Other people that have taken that class may be able to comment on some key concepts that should be known before jumping in.

    Obviously it is not required that I know anything from physics 30, but perhaps there are some things in physics 30 that if I knew, would make Physics 1050 easier on me. Since physics 1050 most likely fills people in on things that are important enough from physics 30 that everyone needs to know, I could do some studying on these things before taking the class.

    I asked what things I should be knowleagable about before starting physics 1050. how is that vague?
  7. Jan 11, 2013 #6
    If you have the textbook, I would read the first two chapters. This is for any subject that takes time to digest, such as math/physics. No need to solve any probems. (You can though if you have the time) Just read the first two chapters so you have an idea of what's coming. With that done, when class starts and your professor begins drooling the lectures, you can write down the important facts only, i.e. those that are not in the textbook and spend the rest of the time digesting the material better. Because frankly, there is no point writing down the same thing that is in the textbook... instead it's better to spend that time carefully digesting what the equations mean, how they are derived, how you might use them etc. I found this to be particularly useful in physical chemistry and linear algebra.

  8. Jan 11, 2013 #7
    "Physics 1050" does not mean anything to anyone. Even someone who may have taken it at your school has no way of knowing if you're talking about the same course. It's just a code your unidentified school uses to name some class that may well be similar to courses people here have experience with—but we have absolutely no way of knowing that since all you have said is: (i) it's called "physics 1050" (very illuminating) and (ii) it doesn't require grade 12 physics. If you want advice that isn't just vague common sense generalities, things you should say are: what the topics listed in the course syllabus are, which of these you have seen before in grade 11 or earlier, which things from past physics courses you don't feel comfortable with. That sort of thing. You might as well have walked up to a stranger and said, "Hi, I need to go to my friend Mark's house tonight, can you give me directions?"

    However, as you long as you want to know some general things you should know for university, I can say this much based on our exchange so far: you should know that an attitude like yours will sink you extremely fast in university. You haven't stated your question remotely clearly but still expect people to bend over backwards to understand what you mean—despite already being told you haven't provided any relevant information. I suggest you deal with your sense of entitlement before university gives you a rude awakening.
  9. Jan 11, 2013 #8
    Thanks for the advice.

    I did not know each university calls the class something different, thanks for the info.

    Thanks for the advice. I tend to come off as rude when I'm not intending on doing so, apologies.
  10. Jan 11, 2013 #9
    I think Apschizo may have been faultless in assuming that universities all call the classes the same thing because people on this forum usually refer to differential calculus and integral calculus as 'calculus 1 and calculus 2' respectively.

    I am from British Columbia and I think you're from Alberta so maybe I can help you.

    In physics 12, which I took in high school, these were the topics covered.

    Kinematics (displacement, velocity, acceleration.)
    Dynamics (Free body diagrams, forces, friction, Newton's Laws.)
    Torque and Equilibrium (related to dynamics in many ways)
    Centripetal force (circular motion, gravitation, orbit, Kepler's Laws)
    Momentum (impulse, conservation of momentum, elastice and non-elastic collisions.)
    Energy (Work, kinetic and potential energy.)
    Electricity (Charges, Coulomb's Law)
    Magnetism (Lenz's Law, Faraday's Law, electromagnets, Right-hand rule and left-hand rule)
    Circuit analysis (Ohm's Law)

    You may have studied some or all of these previously (physics 20/physics 11) but the big change in physics 30/physics 12 is the introduction of trigonometry. Some blocks will slide down inclines now and an object will have motion in the x and y dimensions.

    You must be able to use trigonometry (sine and cosine functions) to break up the object's velocity (example) which is the hypotenuse into its orthogonal components.

    Dot product is the name of this process. The cross product has to do with the right-hand rule and left-hand rule.

    Khanacademy gives both the dot product and cross product very good videos.

    I hope all the best for you.

    EDIT: I added course material which I forgot to mention.
  11. Jan 11, 2013 #10
    Many thanks Turk, Yes I am in Alberta, good guess :smile:

    Yeah I have been watching some videos on that site to catch up on a few things.

    So a big part of physics 30 is splitting up the momentum of objects in each dimension?
  12. Jan 11, 2013 #11
    Not only momentum. Every concept I listed can have questions like that.

    Example: block sits on a 30 degree incline.

    Because the forces in the parallel axis (up and down the incline) and perpendicular axis are not 90 degrees to one another, you will need to break up the forces individually into components which are 90 degrees to each other.

    On a level floor, gravity is completely perpendicular to the parallel axis. But on this 30 degree incline, gravity points in the parallel axis and perpendicular axis. That means gravity will give the block acceleration (assuming gravity can overcome friction) in the parallel axis and perpendicular axis.

    Just how much is based on the incline. I'm quite sure Khan has a video on this. It's easier to understand.

    In the same way, a projectile can be shot at an angle and it will travel in the parallel and perpendicular axes. Also a plane may shoot an object while it is in flight and you will also need to break up the vectors in that case too.
  13. Jan 11, 2013 #12
    Sounds rough, thanks for the info.

    I might know someone taking Physics 30 soon so maybe I can check out their notes/questions too. I'l definitely watch the Khan videos
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