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2. Acceleration

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In this mini-lecture we introduce acceleration, focusing in particular on: (i) how to dilute the acceleration due to gravity in order to better observe objects falling under gravity (using Galileo’s inclined plane); (ii) Galileo’s discovery that the distance objects fall under gravity is proportional to the time taken squared; (iii) gravity as a constant acceleration, meaning at each interval of time the velocity changes by a constant amount; (iv) units of acceleration (m/s2) and examples of familiar accelerations; and (v) deriving an equation for the average velocity and two equations for the distance travelled when the acceleration is constant.


In this course, Professor Derek Raine (University of Leicester) explores kinematics, which is the motion of objects without considering the forces that cause them to move. In the first mini-lecture, we discuss speed and velocity, looking in particular at average speed and graphical representations. In the second mini-lecture, we turn towards acceleration, where we seek to understand the rate at which objects fall under gravity and derive useful equations for systems experiencing constant acceleration. The third mini-lecture includes a discussion of graphical representations of distance, speed, and time, followed by an example that ties together the concepts learned so far. In the fourth mini-lecture, we explore gravity and seek to understand why all bodies, regardless of mass, fall with the same acceleration under gravity (the universality of freefall). In the fifth mini-lecture, we introduce projectile motion, which is the motion of a projected object that moves along a curved path under the action of gravity only.


Derek Raine is an Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester. His research has ranged over Relativity, Cosmology, General Relativistic Quantum Field Theory, Astrophysics, Biophysics, and education. Professor Raine was involved with the University of Leicester’s Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) research where he developed alternative approaches to teaching, including computer simulations, problem-based and research-based learning, flipped learning, and spaced repetition.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Raine, D. (2022, January 13). Kinematics - Acceleration [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Raine, Derek. "Kinematics – Acceleration." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 13 Jan 2022,

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