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Physics in Your Life The Great Courses
Physics in Your Life The Great Courses|5.22 GB


Physics in Your Life

Richard Wolfson, Ph.D.
Middlebury College

Physics in Your Life is more than a course in physics and more than a laundry list of “how things work.” In fact, it combines the two, offering a back-and-forth interplay between everyday applications of physics and the concepts needed to understand them.

“My approach is entirely qualitative,” says Professor Wolfson. “I believe you can understand physics, and understand it deeply, without using mathematics.”

How does he do it? In the spirit of “seeing is believing,” he uses an impressive array of experiments, gadgets, props, computer animations, short videos, diagrams, and pictures. Like Mr. Wizard of the classic TV science series, Professor Wolfson is a born showman. Among his hands-on demonstrations:
• A blown-up balloon is bathed in super-cold liquid nitrogen to show the contracting effect
that heat loss has on the air inside the balloon.
• Professor Wolfson cranks a muscle-powered generator to demonstrate the surprising effort
required to produce a mere 100 watts. Imagine if you had to generate all your electricity
this way!
• A giant magnetic coil on a rotating shaft reveals the ingenious simplicity of the electric
motor, used in everything from electric toothbrushes to locomotives.
• A curious phenomenon unfolds as a magnet is dropped through a hollow aluminum tube.
Aluminum is non-magnetic, which means the magnet won’t stick to it. But can you guess
what happens?

You will also see experiments with lasers, lenses, bowling balls, gyroscopes, musical instruments, and more. And Professor Wolfson walks you step-by-step through the processes by which computers compute—from the level of electrons moving through semiconductors to binary bits, bytes, CPUs, RAM, all the way up to text and pictures appearing on your screen.

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