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lecture1 - Invitation to Physics Rob Clark PHY 302K The...

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Invitation to Physics Rob Clark PHY 302K The University of Texas at Austin Fall 2010
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Outline 1) A bit of history: from ancient Greece to Isaac Newton 2) What is science? What is physics? 3) Some information about this class
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The ancient Greeks Enormous contribution to mathematics and the beginning of science. Math - e.g. Euclid (geometer extraordinaire), Pythagoras, Archimedes (anticipated calculus) ... Physical science - buoyancy (Archimedes), earth-sun distance (Aristarchus), atomic hypothesis (Democritus), width of the earth (Eratosthenes) ... 17th century painting of what Archimedes might have looked like
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The ancient Greeks However, Despite all this, there was not yet an insistence that ideas be backed up by experiments. Several right-sounding but wrong ideas endured into the modern period. “Heavenly” bodies move in perfect circles. Motion of stars and planets is different from motion of objects on earth. The Earth is the center of the universe. Objects need a continuing push or pull to keep moving. There were two driving forces behind these ideas: Insufficient data, and aesthetics.
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The middle ages Europe slowed down scientifically. The early middle ages is known as the dark ages for a reason. Exciting developments elsewhere in the world... Arabic math, astronomy, physical science progressed admirably. The astrolabe: a portable star chart that permitted one to predict the position of the planets, Sun, and stars. Also functioned as a navigation tool, timekeeping device, and astrological aid...
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The audacity of Copernicus Copernicus's heliocentric model 1500s A.D. Copernicus claimed: 1. The Earth is not the center of the universe; the Sun is! 2. The Earth both rotates and revolves around the Sun. This model was consistent with, but not in contradiction to, the geocentric model. And everything still moved in circles.
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Brahe observes the sky To get where we are today, we needed more data!
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