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This course teaches simple reasoning techniques for complex phenomena divide and conquer, dimensional analysis, extreme cases. In addition to that, continuity, scaling, successive approximation, cheap calculus, and symmetry. Examples include bird and machine flight, neuron biophysics, weather, prime numbers, and animal locomotion. It also emphasis on low-cost experiments to test ideas and on fostering curiosity about phenomena in the world.


This course does not involve any written exams. Students need to answer 5 assignment questions to complete the course, the answers will be in the form of written work in pdf or word. Students can write the answers in their own time. Each answer needs to be 200 words (1 Page). Once the answers are submitted, the tutor will check and assess the work.


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Course Credit: MIT

Course Curriculum

Calculating logarithms using musical intervals 00:10:00
Constants for back-of-the-envelope calculations 00:10:00
Preview 00:10:00
Managing complexity 00:10:00
Pit spacing 00:15:00
Managing complexity
Tree representations 00:10:00
Oil imports 00:10:00
Gold or bills? 00:05:00
Random walks 00:10:00
Random walks for accuracy 00:10:00
UNIX 00:10:00
Removing spuriouscomplexity
Triangle bisection 00:10:00
Pentagonal heat flow 00:10:00
Introduction plus spring mass period 00:10:00
Mountain heights 00:10:00
Animal jump heights 00:10:00
Calculus (maximizing a quadratic) 00:10:00
Jump heights 00:10:00
Calculus (maximizing gain of a second-order system) 00:10:00
Power limits to jumping 00:10:00
Falling cones 00:10:00
Calculus (maximizing a quadratic) 00:10:00
Drag and jumping 00:05:00
Cycling, swimming, flying 00:10:00
Conservation cube 00:10:00
Flight 00:10:00
Flight (scaling) 00:10:00
Flight (explicit range and speed) 00:05:00
Algebraic symmetry 00:10:00
Economics example; pyramid example 00:10:00
Dimensionless groups 00:10:00
Hydrogen size 00:10:00
Densities 00:05:00
Hydrogen size by physics 00:10:00
Long-lasting learning 1 00:10:00
Bending of light 00:10:00
Long-lasting learning 2 00:15:00
Buckingham Pi Theorem 00:10:00
Discarding actual complexity
Pyramid volume 00:10:00
Pulley acceleration 00:10:00
Drag! 00:30:00
Random walks and keeping warm 00:10:00
Waves 00:10:00
Submit Your Assignment 00:00:00
Certification 00:00:00

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