Mechanics and Relativity

Oberlin College Physics 110

Fall 2011

This World Wide Web page written by Dan Styer, Oberlin College Department of Physics and Astronomy;;
last updated 11 August 2011.

Technical note: To access the links marked (PDF) you must first download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader or Open Standard software.
To access the links marked (DOC) you must either (1) have Microsoft Word on your computer or else (2) first download the free Word Viewer software.

Teachers: Dan Styer and Aaron Santos.

Course notes (PDF) including syllabus, additional problems, notes on topics in classical mechanics and special relativity, problem solving tips, and more.

Laboratory workshops (DOC).

Problem assignments.

Hints for doing well in the course

We recommend that you first do the readings, then attend the lectures, and then work on the problem assignments. More tips can be found in Study Tips for Introductory Physics Students.

Information about physics problems is available through:


Street-Fighting Mathematics (PDF). "In problem solving, as in street fighting, rules are for fools."

The Thomas Cole landscape painting The Oxbow.


The proving ring -- an operational definition of force.

The cozy coupe -- which tests the proposition that force causes, not motion, but a change in motion.

Cedar Point amusement park and physics laboratories.

Are small cars safe?

Are SUVs safe?

Notes (PDF) concerning the derivation of gravitational time dilation from the principle of equivalence.