8.03 Physics III: Vibrations and Waves, Fall 2004 (Complete Lectures by Walter Lewin)

In addition to the traditional topics of mechanical vibrations and waves, coupled oscillators, and electro-magnetic radiation, students will also learn about musical instruments, red sunsets, glories, coronae, rainbows, haloes, X-ray binaries, neutron stars, black holes and big-bang cosmology. Created by MIT OpenCourseWare.

Average Course Length

35 hours

Skill Level


Pick a lesson

1: Introduction - Walter Lewin
2: Periodic Phenomena, SHO, Complex Notation, Physical Pendulum
3: Beats, Damped Free Ocillations, Quality Q
4: Driven Oscillations With Damping, Steady State Solutions, Resonance
5: Forced Oscillations, Power, Resonance, Transient Solutions
6: Coupled Oscillators, Resonance Frequencies, Superposition of Modes
7: Coupled Oscillators, Steady State & Transient Solutions, Intial Conditions
8: Many Coupled Oscillators, Wave Equation, Transverse Traveling Waves
9: Traveling Waves, Standing Waves, Longitudinal Waves, Energy in Waves
10: Sound Cavities, Resonance Frequencies, Musical Instruments
11: First Exam Review, Breaking Wine Glass with Sound
12: Fourier Analysis, Time Evolution of Pulses on Strings
13: Dispersion, Phase Velocity, Group Velocity
14: Electromagnetic Waves, Solutions to Maxwell's Equations, Polarization
15: Accelerated Charges, Poynting Vector, Power, Rayleigh Scattering
16: Doppler Effect, Big Bang Cosmology, Neutron Stars & Black Holes
17: Standing EM Waves, Reflection, Transmission Lines, Rad. Pressure
18: Wave Guides, Resonance Cavities, Great Sound Demo in Closed Box
19: Index of Refraction, Reflection, Fresnel Equations, Brewster Angle
20: Second Exam Review
21: Interference, Huygen's Principle, Thin Films, Double Slit Demo
22: Diffraction, Gratings, Spectral & Angular Resolution, Human Eye
23: Rainbows, Coronae, Glories, Glass Bow, Great Demos
24: Farewell Special, My Early Years at MIT, Balloon Astrophysics