Ch 1: Math Basics for Physics

About This Chapter

This self-paced physics chapter helps you review and practice applying math skills to physics problems. You can use these engaging lessons and self-assessment quizzes to help you study for exams, complete homework assignments or catch up on information you missed in class.

Math Basics for Physics - Chapter Summary

Inside this physics chapter, you'll find bite-sized lessons that examine the applications of math in the field of physics. Our expert instructors define and simplify a variety of math-related physics concepts, including SI units, scientific notation, metric unit conversion and much more. The chapter includes lesson quizzes and a chapter exam to help you practice solving physics problems on your own. If you get stuck or need clarification on any math topic, simply submit your questions to our instructors. The chapter is available to study at any time, and you can use any computer or mobile device to access the material. Upon completion of the chapter, you should be able to:

  • Summarize the history of physics
  • Identify the different branches of physics
  • Solve physics problems using algebra and trigonometry
  • Recognize SI units
  • Make conversions between metric units
  • Apply dimensional analysis and unit conversion
  • Understand scientific notation and significant figures
  • Assess linear and direct relationships, as well as quadratic and inverse relationships

9 Lessons in Chapter 1: Math Basics for Physics
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Math Review for Physics: Algebra

1. Math Review for Physics: Algebra

There's quite a lot of algebra you need to know to do physics. Here we'll review some of the concepts needed for rearranging equations, working with polynomials, and working with exponents.

Math Review for Physics: Trigonometry

2. Math Review for Physics: Trigonometry

This lesson reviews some basic trigonometry that is essential for an introductory physics course. Here we'll focus on the various methods for finding side lengths and angle measurements of a right triangle.

Significant Figures and Scientific Notation

3. Significant Figures and Scientific Notation

Are 7.5 grams and 7.50 grams the same? How do scientists represent very large and very small quantities? Find out the answers to these questions in this video.

Elements of the SI: Base & Derived Units

4. Elements of the SI: Base & Derived Units

Discover what we mean by SI units. Then explore SI units further by learning about all the base units, and several examples of the derived units that make up the system.

The Metric System: Units and Conversion

5. The Metric System: Units and Conversion

Just like you and your friend communicate using the same language, scientists all over the world need to use the same language when reporting the measurements they make. This language is called the metric system. In this lesson we will cover the metric units for length, mass, volume, density and temperature, and also discuss how to convert among them.

Metric System Prefixes & Abbreviations

6. Metric System Prefixes & Abbreviations

Learning about the metric system may seem overwhelming. This lesson provides hints to help you master the metric system's prefixes and abbreviations quickly. Mass, volume, and length units are used to demonstrate the prefixes and abbreviations.

Dimensional Analysis Practice: Calculations & Conversions

7. Dimensional Analysis Practice: Calculations & Conversions

Dimensional analysis is a handy tool in unit conversion and can help several different types of questions. We will go over several examples of dimensional analysis in this lesson.

Linear & Direct Relationships

8. Linear & Direct Relationships

Learn how to tell when you're dealing with linear and direct relationships and what graphs of these relationships should look like. Then, go further and explore how to interpret the slopes of these graphs.

Quadratic & Inverse Relationships

9. Quadratic & Inverse Relationships

Explore how we tell when two variables are in quadratic or inverse relationships in this lesson. Once you understand the basics, we'll go over a couple of examples where these relationships show up in a physics class.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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