What is the course about?
We will explore some of the fundamental aspects and important ideas of physics such as the nature of light, matter and energy and the physical laws governing our universe. We will journey from the microscopic to the macroscopic and learn about the new revolutionary discoveries of the world around us.
Radmila Topalovic holds a degree in Physics with Astrophysics and a PhD in Astrochemistry. She has taught physics, maths and astronomy for almost ten years, and is particularly passionate about quantum physics and astrobiology. She has written articles for The Guardian Starwatch column and The Mercury Night Sky column, and is a co-author of Stargazing: A beginner's guide to astronomy. Radmila was an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, she is currently Programme Leader for Science and Engineering at Kaplan International College.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- Energy and forces
- Waves and vibrations
- Temperature and heat
- Electricity and magnetism
- The nature of light
- Wave particle duality
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Outline the concept of a force and different types of force
- Describe energy and momentum conservation
- State the nature of planetary orbits, the concept of gravitational attraction and its variation in strength over distance and the possible nature of gravity
- Explain the concept of simple harmonic motion, give examples of oscillators and how they differ from each other
- Define what a wave is and describe its properties, how harmonics are produced and resonance
- Describe how sound is propagated, how we perceive sound, sound effects in different environments and list practical applications of sound.
- Explain how electricity works and the nature of charge
- Outline the concept of thermal equilibrium, how materials behave at different temperatures and how heat transfers in a system
- State the fundamental law of entropy in the Universe
- Explain the nature of magnetic materials and the magnetic force
- State what light consists of, describe the wave-particle duality of light, how light moves through different media and how it behaves when interacting with matter
- List different types of light and practical applications of light
- Describe the finite speed of light
- Describe Einstein's theory of relativity
- Describe the concept of general relativity and its relevance in everyday life.
- Outline the fundamental principles of the microscopic world and quantisation
- Describe the properties of atomic nuclei, the nature of radioactivity and how it works
- List practical applications of radioactivity.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and is open to all. However, GCSE-level (or equivalent) knowledge of physics or science is recommended. The course will take you beyond A level in the ideas of physics but without the mathematical content. You will need a good grasp of English to keep up with the course and to participate fully in discussions.You will also need an open mind and a willingness to listen to other points of view in order to participate constructively in the course.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught in a number of different ways including tutor presentations with visual examples, demonstration experiments, video and group discussions.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Bring a notepad and pen. There are no additional costs for the course.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
HS155 Introduction to quantum physics (runs alongside this course in February)
HS168 The physics of life
HS003 Exploring quantum physics
HS181 Physics of time
HS212 Astrophysics day.