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What ho! My name is Tucker Hiatt. I am a physics teacher with 35 years of experience, and I am also the executive director of Wonderfest, the San Francisco Bay Area Beacon of Science. Welcome to Radical Physics. What’s radical — besides our location here in the Gamma Sector of the Milky Way — I’ll

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What ho! My name is Tucker Hiatt. I am a physics teacher with 35 years of experience, and I am also the executive director of Wonderfest, the San Francisco Bay Area Beacon of Science. Welcome to Radical Physics. What’s radical — besides our location here in the Gamma Sector of the Milky Way — I’ll

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When asked to cite a very basic law of physics, many people reply with something that they might call “the law of inertia”: An object at rest tends to stay at rest; and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. This would-be law of physics suffers from some BIG problems: Its first half

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Now we’re ready to use the physics definition of WORK to develop ideas about — and formulas for — some important FORMS of energy. By “forms of energy,” I don’t mean anything anthropocentric (like enthusiasm, or spirit). And I don’t mean anything BIOcentric (like a mysterious life energy, or the Chinese Qi). It turns out

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Welcome back to Radical Physics. It’s time to learn our first official law of physics. This is exciting: the first law of physics! We might call it the first — and most basic — law of nature. No one knows why this law is true. And it took people a LONG time to realize that

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EVERY physical variable (distance, time, mass, speed, energy, and so on) has units of measurement. For example, the agreed-upon international unit of speed (and of velocity) is the meter per second, abbreviated m over s. Sometimes international units are inconvenient. For example, if you happen to be speeding in the United States, you might need

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In RP2, we got a feel for the meaning of speed and velocity. Now is the time to define these little beasties more carefully. We’ll start by doing something weird: we’ll constrain movement to one dimension: that’s motion in a straight line, either forward or backward. If we can describe 1-dimensional motion, then maybe it

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RP4 tells us a lot about force, IN GENERAL. Let’s briefly look at a few SPECIFIC forces. Many of these will be considered in detail in later episodes. We are all familiar with the force of gravity. On Earth, gravity gives things weight. It is a force (measured in newtons, as are ALL forces) that

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Back in the second Radical Physics taproot episode, RP2, we learned that speed equals distance divided by time. Wasn’t THAT our first law of physics? No. That was just the DEFINITION of speed; and definitions are not laws. THAT formula just reveals what we MEAN by the word “speed” and by the symbol “v.” That’s

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Acceleration is one of the most important concepts in physics. Understanding it allows a firm grip on the deepest law of mechanics, Newton’s Second Law of Motion, F=ma. This is big: Acceleration HAS to be clear! But acceleration is tricky. The trickiness is evident upon realizing that an object’s acceleration has NOTHING to do with

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