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Upgrade Your Physics

These notes were produced by Anton Machacek, Head of Physics at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe; Academic Visitor in the sub-department of Atomic and Laser Physics, University of Oxford and valued member of the British Physics Olympiad Committee.

The notes were originally written to help students preparing to compete in the International Physics Olympiad, and aim to bridge the gap between British A2 level courses and the IPhO syllabus. However, they may also be of use to any students interested in furthering their knowledge and understanding of advanced-level Physics.

  • Upgrade Your Physics - Complete Document pdf
  • Upgrade Your Physics 1 - Linear Mechanics pdf
    • 1.1 Motion on a Line
    • 1.2 Going Orbital
    • 1.3 Fluids - When Things Get Sticky
    • 1.4 Questions
  • Upgrade Your Physics 2 - Fast Physics pdf
    • 2.1 The Principle of Relativity
    • 2.2 High Speed Observations
    • 2.3 Relativistic Quantities
    • 2.4 The Lorentz Transforms
    • 2.5 Questions
  • Upgrade Your Physics 3 - Rotation pdf
    • 3.1 ANGLE 37
    • 3.2 ANGULAR VELOCITY 38
    • 3.3 ANGULAR ACCELERATION 38
    • 3.4 TORQUE – ANGULAR FORCE 38
    • 3.5 MOMENT OF INERTIA – ANGULAR MASS 39
    • 3.6 ANGULAR MOMENTUM 40
    • 3.7 ANGULAR MOMENTUM OF A SINGLE MASS MOVING IN A STRAIGHT LINE 41
    • 3.8 ROTATIONAL KINETIC ENERGY 42
    • 3.9 SUMMARY OF QUANTITIES 42
    • 3.10 ROTATIONAL MECHANICS WITH VECTORS 43
    • 3.11 MOTION IN POLAR CO-ORDINATES 46
    • 3.12 MOTION OF A RIGID BODY 49
    • 3.13 QUESTIONS 51
  • Further Chapters from Upgrade Your Physics

    • 4 VIBES AND WIGGLES 53
    • 4.1 OSCILLATION 53
    • 4.2 WAVES & INTERFERENCE 55
    • 4.3 QUESTIONS 68

    • 5 OPTICS 69
    • 5.1 PRINCIPLES 69
    • 5.2 RAY OPTICS 70
    • 5.3 OPTICAL SYSTEMS 77
    • 5.4 QUESTIONS 82

    • 6 HOT PHYSICS 84
    • 6.1 THE CONSERVATION OF ENERGY 84
    • 6.2 THE SECOND LAW 85
    • 6.3 HEAT ENGINES AND FRIDGES 85
    • 6.4 ENTROPY 88
    • 6.5 IRREVERSIBLE PROCESSES AND THE SECOND LAW 89
    • 6.6 RE-STATEMENT OF FIRST LAW 90
    • 6.7 THE BOLTZMANN LAW 90
    • 6.8 PERFECT GASES 94
    • 6.9 RADIATION OF HEAT 100
    • 6.10 QUESTIONS 100

    • 7 SPARKS & GENERATION 103
    • 7.1 ELECTROSTATICS – WHEN THINGS ARE STILL 103
    • 7.2 MAGNETISM – WHEN THINGS MOVE 109
    • 7.3 CIRCUITS – PUTTING IT TOGETHER 121
    • 7.4 QUESTIONS 128

    • 8 SMALL PHYSICS 130
    • 8.1 WAVES AND PARTICLES 130
    • 8.2 UNCERTAINTY 131
    • 8.3 ATOMS 132
    • 8.4 LITTLE NUTS 134
    • 8.5 QUESTIONS 136

    • 9 PRACTICAL PHYSICS 138
    • 9.1 ERRORS, AND HOW TO MAKE THEM 138
    • 9.2 ERRORS, AND HOW TO MAKE THEM WORSE 140
    • 9.3 SYSTEMATIC ERRORS 141
    • 9.4 WHICH GRAPH? 142
    • 9.5 QUESTIONS 143

    • 10 APPENDIX 144
    • 10.1 MULTIPLYING VECTORS 144
    • 10.2 DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS 147
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