Physics as a discipline is hard to define. The domain of physics covers mainly those interactions between objects that do not involve changes in material composition (that is the domain of chemistry). Roughly speaking, physics is the study of motion: how and why objects move.

Kinematics is the study of how: it is the quantification of motion itself without regard to its causes. By contrast, dynamics concerns the why: it places motion in a cause-and-effect framework.


  • the SI system;
  • vectors v scalars;
  • vector operations (addition, subtraction);
  • coordinate systems;
  • fundamentals of differential calculus.

Learning objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to

  • employ physical concepts to specify the position and the motion of an object;
  • interpret motion in the framework of mathematical functions;
  • apply calculus to characterise the rate of change of physical quantities;
  • calculate the velocity and the position in certain special cases of motion;
  • extend a one-dimensional description of motion naturally to three dimensions.

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