About the Course

This is a course at the San Diego Math Circle preparing students for the F=ma contest offered by the American Association of Physics Teachers, to select for the USA Physics Olympiad.


The course runs from 13:30-15:30 on several Sundays from October 20, 2019 to January 19, 2020:


  • October 20, 2019
  • October 27, 2019
  • November 3, 2019
  • November 10, 2019
  • November 17, 2019
  • January 5, 2020
  • January 12, 2020
  • January 19, 2020


The official schedule is kept in the San Diego Math Circle Master Calendar.

Week 1 – October 20, 2019

Discussed in class

  • 2018A exam problems 2, 4, 5, 9, 11, 14, 15, 19 & 25.
  • See the Pendulums and 2018A #9 notes linked below.
  • A review of kinematics and forces can be found below under Kinematics and Forces.

Old examshere.

  • Please save the 2018B exam for later!

HW – for October 27th:

  • Derive the new spring constant of spring cut in half in 2018A #11.
  • Fully solve 2018A #15.
  • Derive the relationship between the period and/or frequency of a (complicated) pendulum and its moment of inertia as in 2018A #14.

Week 2 – October 27, 2019

Discussed in class

  • Advanced techniques in 2018A #11, 14 & 15. See the HW1 Solutions notes linked below.
  • 2018A# 6, 8, 12, 16, 18, 21 & 24.

HW – for November 3rd:

  • Solve a modified version of 2018A# 16: at what angle does the astronaut of mass m need to jump backwards to land on the same spot of the floor she started from?

Prepare for a practice test on November 3rd.

Week 3 – November 3, 2019

Discussed in class

  • Practice exam! 2018B.
  • Exam copies and scantrons will be provided. Bring your writing utensils and your brain.
  • Solutions to the most difficult 2018B questions: 7, 13, 19 & 24.

HW – for November 10th: None

Week 4 – November 10, 2019

Discussed in class

  • The people have spoken! Today we will cover exclusively rotational motion. See the Rotation notes linked below.
  • 2017 #1, 6, 12, 14, 15, 18 & 25.

HW – for November 17th: None

Week 5 – November 17, 2019

Discussed in class

  • 2016 #7, 9, 14, 15, 17, 23 & 24.

Hiatus

Suggestions for practice over the hiatus

  • Work through the other problems from the exams we went through already.
  • Refer to your favorite physics book for further reading.
  • Save both 2019  exams for later. We will work through them in January.


Feel free to contact me if you have questions over the hiatus.

Week 6 – January 5, 2020

Discussed in class

  • TBD

Resources

American Association of Physics Teachers

F=ma exam home page.

Old F=ma exams 2007-2018.

Books

I recommend Physics, Principles with Applications, Sixth Edition by Giancoli. This is the book I used at this level.