The Advent Calendar of Physics: Newton’s Gravity

We kicked off our countdown to Newton’s birthday with his equations of motion, so it seems fitting to close out the section on classical mechanics with another of Newton’s equations, this time the Law of Universal Gravitation: Like all the other equations to this point, I’m cribbing this from the formula sheet for my just-completed […]

The Advent Calendar of Physics: Introducing Angular Momentum

Moving along through our countdown to Newton’s birthday, we come to the next important physical quantity, angular momentum. For some obscure reason, this gets the symbol L, and the angular momentum for a single particle about some point A is given by: This is probably the most deceptive equation we’ll see this season. Yesterday’s definition […]

The Advent Calendar of Physics: Working for a Living

Following the basic pattern established at the start of our seasonal countdown to Newton’s birthday, today’s equation defines a piece that was left hanging in yesterday’s post: This is the technical definition of “work” in physics terms. It’s also probably the scariest-looking equation to this point, as it explicitly involves vector calculus– there’s an integral […]

The Advent Calendar of Physics: The Spring’s the Thing

Continuing our countdown to Newton’s birthday, let’s acknowledge the contributions of one of his contemporaries and rivals with today’s equation: This is, of course, Hooke’s Law for a spring, which he famously published in 1660: ceiiinosssttuv Clears everything right up, doesn’t it? OK, maybe not. This one’s not only in Latin, it’s a cryptogram, unscrambling […]