School of Physics & Astronomy


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"Big G": the gravitational constant. It's what holds the universe together (mostly). It appears wherever gravity is at play, from Newton's law of gravitation to General Relativity and black holes. Most phycisists can make a reasonable stab at remembering the value of G, but the units of the constant are more difficult to get right!

Duration: 00:08:46

Angular Momentum

Angular momentum is a conserved property that is easy to demonstrate with a spinning professor. It governs how things spin and pops up in many situations, from atoms to planetary systems and even galaxies.

Presenters: Roger Bowley
Duration: 00:07:07

How Swings Work

Do swings break the conservation of energy law? If not, how do they work and why can you make them go higher?

Presenters: Roger Bowley
Duration: 00:05:58

Lift and Wings

How does an aircraft fly? We know that the wings are used to generate lift, but how do they work? Nearly everyone gets it wrong, including quite a few physicists. There is a good reason for this: it is all really quite complicated!

Presenters: Michael Merrifield
Duration: 00:10:16

Wobbly Earth

Axial precession is a property of spinning things -- it makes gyroscopes wobble, but it also applies to the Earth. This is a rather unexpected and unintuitive result. We also look into what shape the Earth is and what this means to whether it wobbles. If this is true, how do you actually go about measuring it?

Duration: 00:07:57

Foucault's Pendulum

Foucault was the first person to prove that the Earth does rotate, by using a very long pendulum. Does it work at the south pole? This is a classic museum experiment, but it doesn't work on the equator!

Presenters: Roger Bowley
Duration: 00:07:10

Mach's Principle

Rotational forces: we take a look at centrifugal and centripetal force, and how everything depends on your frame of reference. But how do you know you are rotating in the first place? Could it be that you are fixed, and the universe is spinning around you? Is there an equivalent of the inertial frame of reference for rotating things?

Presenters: Michael Merrifield
Duration: 00:07:54
Keywords: force Einstein


Vectors: it’s important to know both the direction and the amplitude. This video includes a demonstration of how you can have a system in precarious equilibrium if your forces are carefully balanced…and what goes wrong when they’re not!

Presenters: Meghan Gray
Duration: 00:06:46

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School of Physics and Astronomy

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

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