Overview for Students


Modelling Motion is a 3-quarter full-time (16 credit hour) program offered Fall, Winter and Spring quarters, 2007. The program is presented by Mario Gadea and Ab Van Etten. The program is equivalent to a combination of traditional introductory courses in physics, calculus, and computer science. Credit will be awarded in each of these three disciplines. It will consist of separate lecture/seminars and hands-on lab and workshop sessions in each of these disciplines but an integrated approach is taken.

What the course is about

In this program we will begin the process of understanding the underlying order of the physical world by modeling physical systems using both the analytical tools of calculus and the numerical tools provided by digital computers. What makes objects in motion behave the way they do? While its clear from everyday experience that objects fall when dropped because of gravity, how can we quantify that so we can use our understanding of it to predict how fast it will go or how hard it will hit the ground? How do we measure speed and acceleration and how can use that information to predict a moving object's future path? How do gravity, friction, and other forces like electric or magnetic fields influence moving objects? This program will give students the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to answer these questions.  In Fall quarter we will also take a serious look at Computer Science. Computers have taken an ever increasing role in our lives.  What can we teach the computer to do?  What jobs are at risk from computer automation?  How will computers evolve in the future?  In this program we will study a number of topics in physics, calculus and computer science as outlined in the schedule and learn a number of new skills, new tools and most importantly, new ways of thinking about and seeing the world. Students will use their ever-expanding understanding of the physics of motion, and the mathematics used to describe it to make computer models that simulate the behavior of matter in motion.

See the Schedule and Homework links for a synopsis of what we will be doing this quarter.

Credit Distribution

We can change this: The credit distribution for fall quarter is calculus with lab (5 credits), physics with lab (5 credits), and computer science (6 credits). You must enroll for 16 credits during each quarter.

items you will need for the start of classes:

     Books for Fall Quarter

1)           Python Programming: An introduction to computer science (ISBN 1-887902-99-6)  John Zelle,

Franklin, Beedle and associates

2)          The Copernican Revolution (ISBN: 0674171039) Thomas S. Kuhn

Harvard University Press

3)            Calculus, 8 edition, 2006, Larson, Hostetler and Edwards

(ISBN 061850298X) Houghton Mifflin

4)           Principles of Physics: A calculus-based text, 4th edition,

Raymond A. Serway and John W. Jewett, (ISBN 053449143X)

THOMSON  Brooks/Cole

NOTE: All of these textbooks will be available at the TESC bookstore starting next week. You may also purchase them elsewhere. If you choose to purchase these textbooks elsewhere, be careful to purchase the editions listed above, since the topics and problems change in each edition. In winter and spring quarters, we might use additional seminar books (10-30$).

   Scientific calculator

You will need a scientific calculator, i.e. one that performs exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions. You do NOT need a graphing calculator for this program, but you may use one if you prefer.

     Thanksgiving Week

We will be having class on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.  We will be finishing up the quarter early in December.  Please contact us as soon as possible if this causes a irreconcilable problem.