Friendly Physics

by Gabriela Gallego

Physics should be simple. It is all around us, relevant in math, biology, sports and space. Let's break it down and listen to ~10 minute episodes on topics ranging from speed to parallel universes. Friendly Physics is produced by a high school physics teacher and steps listeners through kinematics, simple machines, electromagnetism and more.

Podcast episodes

  • Season 3

  • Forces


    So what is a force? A force is really just a push or a pull on an object. It occurs when two objects interact with each other. Forces can be contact forces, meaning that the objects have to actually touch. Or they can be at a distance, think along the lines of magnets or gravity. A force is still present but the objects are at a distance. It helps most to think about forces in terms of balance. You might hear the terms balanced or unbalanced forces. Just as with velocity, we split forces into dimensions. So we talk about vertical forces and horizontal forces. Forces that act in the vertical dimension and forces that act in the horizontal dimension. When balanced forces act on an object, that object does not move. Imagine tug of war where both teams are pulling completely equally. The force to the left is the same as the force to the right. They cancel each other out. They’re balanced. Unbalanced forces are forces that act on an object unequally. Imagine one tug of war team pulling with 70 N of force and the other team pulling with 40 N of force. They are unequal. They are unbalanced forces. The team pulling with more force will move the other team.

  • Newton's Laws

    Newton's Laws

    Let’s forget the math today and focus on Newton’s Laws. Newton was a mathematician and physicist born in the 1600s. He existed, taught and studied well before many of our modern discoveries had been made, but his impacts are still felt today. Most importantly, for us, in this Laws of Motion. There are 3 Laws of Motion. All have to do with force and how an object experiences force. The First Law is commonly referred to as the Law of Inertia. This law states that an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. An object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. There are a few ways to interpret this → most simply, objects do not just spontaneously start moving. A force MUST be applied to them. If you ever see a ball start to roll, a book start to fall or a flag wave in the wind, it is because a force was applied. Similarly, object do not just spontaneously stop moving. A ball will roll and roll across the ground until … it hits a wall. Or until … the force of friction slows it down. Db Link:

  • Season 2

  • Projectile Motion - Part 2

    Projectile Motion - Part 2

    However, we don’t always just move objects at a parallel to the ground. More often than not, we move them at an angle. Think about your field goal kickers on a football field or a missile being launched. These objects move up, peak and then come down. We say that they follow a trajectory. They exhibit parabolic motion. The objects peak and then they fall. They are projectiles. There are many important things about this motion. First, lets focus on that angled launch. Remember how last time we had to pay careful attention to the phrasing of the problem? Was the initial velocity horizontal or vertical? Last week we talked about initial horizontal velocity. Objects launched parallel to the ground. But this week the launch is at an angle and so the velocity can be split into horizontal and vertical components. This is where geometry and trigonometry comes into play. Let’s imagine that a football is kicked at a 30 degree angle from the ground with an initial velocity of 28 m/s. The initial velocity is 28 m/s at a 30 degree angle. Velocity is a vector. Direction matters and therefore we are able to split the velocity into horizontal and vertical components.

  • Projectile Motion - Part 1

    Projectile Motion - Part 1

    I promised an exciting episode that would take us into a whole new dimension. Let’s start talking projectile motion → the movement of objects that break beyond just one dimension and instead travel both horizontally and vertically. We are going to discuss objects that move down and sideways today. It is the easiest way to begin talking about projectiles. Imagine a cannon on the top of a cliff, shooting a cannon ball out. The ball travels horizontally out of the cannon, but eventually starts to fall down. Why? Gravity. Projectile motion shows that even when an object moves horizontally through the air, it is still subject to gravity pulling it down. Think of a paper airplane tossed out into the air. Or a pitcher throwing towards home plate. While we talk today, it’s important to imagine objects that are moving in a straight line horizontally and then falling. Don’t toss the paper airplane up and then watch it come down. Throw the paper airplane parallel to the ground and then see it glide down. The cannon ball is shot out of a completely horizontal cannon, not up at an angle.

  • Season 1

  • What Goes Up Must Come Down

    What Goes Up Must Come Down

    The past few weeks we have moved on from talking about objects moving horizontally, back and forth, and started to talk about objects that move vertically, up and down We started off by thinking about objects that fall, like an apple from a tree or a book off a shelf. Then we started to discuss objects that launch upward, like rockets And today we are going to connect the two Because what goes up … must come down When an object is launched, it goes up and up and up, until it STOPS And that is where we stopped in the last episode as well However, in reality we all know that when an object is launched, it goes up and up and up and then it stops and THEN it falls right back down to earth Naturally, I want to ask some questions about how that object falls.