Physics

Projectile motion, mechanics and electricity and magnetism. Solid understanding of algebra and a basic understanding of trigonometry necessary.
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Ask a Physicist!

Hi everyone, I'm David and I love physics. Have a physics question/comment? Ask me anything. I'll be checking the comments section every couple hours until Sunday August 2nd at 12:00 PM PST and replying as often as possible. Also, please feel free to answer other people's questions if you know the answer.

Community explanations

Calling great explainers of the world! Help us answer frequently asked physics questions by writing clear, deep, engaging explanations. Your explanation may even be selected for an article on Khan Academy (with full credit to you)!

One-dimensional motion

In this tutorial we begin to explore ideas of velocity and acceleration. We do exciting things like throw things off of cliffs (far safer on paper than in real life) and see how high a ball will fly in the air.

Two-dimensional motion

You understand velocity and acceleration well in one-dimension. Now we can explore scenarios that are even more fun. With a little bit of trigonometry (you might want to review your basic trig, especially what sin and cos are), we can think about whether a baseball can clear the "green monster" at Fenway Park.

Forces and Newton's laws of motion

This tutorial is the meat of much of classical physics. We think about what a force is and how Newton changed the world's (and possibly your) view of how reality works.

Work and energy

Work and energy. Potential energy. Kinetic energy. Mechanical advantage. Springs and Hooke's law.

Impacts and linear momentum

Linear momentum. Conservation of momentum. Elastic collisions.

Moments, torque, and angular momentum

Thinking about making things rotate. Center of mass, torque, moments and angular velocity.

Gravitation

Classical gravity. How masses attract each other (according to Newton).

Oscillatory motion

Pendulums. Slinkies. You when you have to use the bathroom but it is occupied. These all go back and forth over and over and over again. This tutorial explores this type of motion.

Fluids

Atmospheric pressure is like an invisible friend who is always squeezing you with a big hug. Learn more about pressure, buoyant force, and flowing fluid so you can appreciate the sometimes invisible, but crucial, effect they have on us and the world around us.

Thermodynamics

Electricity and magnetism

Electrical circuits are all around us. The computer you're using to read this is full of them! Let's start to study how electrical charges interact.

Circuits

Mechanical waves and sound

Geometric optics

Light waves

Forces and Newton's laws of motion

This tutorial is the meat of much of classical physics. We think about what a force is and how Newton changed the world's (and possibly your) view of how reality works.
Community Questions
All content in “Forces and Newton's laws of motion”

Newton's laws of motion

This tutorial will expose you to the foundation of classical mechanics--Newton's laws. On one level they are intuitive, on another lever they are completely counter-intuitive. Challenge your take on reality and watch this tutorial. The world will look very different after you're done.

Normal force and contact force

A dog is balancing on one arm on my head. Is my head applying a force to the dog's hand? If it weren't, wouldn't there be nothing to offset the pull of gravity causing the acrobatic dog to fall? What would we call this force? Can we have a general term from the component of a contact force that acts perpendicular to the plane of contact? These are absolutely normal questions to ask.

Balanced and unbalanced forces

You will often hear physics professors be careful to say "net force" or "unbalanced force" rather than just "force". Why? This tutorial explains why and might give you more intuition about Newton's laws in the process.

Slow sock on Lubricon VI

This short tutorial will have you dealing with orbiting frozen socks in order to understand whether you understand Newton's Laws. We also quiz you a bit during the videos just to make sure that you aren't daydreaming about what you would do with a frozen sock.

Inclined planes and friction

We've all slid down slides/snow-or-mud-covered-hills/railings at some point in our life (if not, you haven't really lived) and noticed that the smoother the surface the more we would accelerate (try to slide down a non-snow-or-mud-covered hill). This tutorial looks into this in some depth. We'll look at masses on inclined planes and think about static and kinetic friction.

Tension

Bad commute? Baby crying? Bills to pay? Looking to take a bath with some Calgon (do a search on YouTube for context) to ease your tension? This tutorial has nothing (actually little, not nothing) to do with that. So far, most of the forces we've been dealing with are forces of "pushing"--contact forces at the macro level because of atoms not wanting to get to close at the micro level. Now we'll deal with "pulling" force or tension (at a micro level this is the force of attraction between bonded atoms).