This blog will be focused on how physicists think, what we think about, what we are excited about, and how we solve problems. If there is one thing physicists are good at, it is solving certain types of problems. I'm a theoretical physicist, so what we'll talk about things from a theorist's point of view. Also I believe that if you can't actually calculate numbers pertaining to real life then you don't know much (on a scientific level, no implications about other levels of knowledge), so I will often bring numbers and computer concepts into the discussion. There will be some equations but they will always be at the service of numbers.
If you examine the introductory college level physics textbooks, and review their history, you will find that the entire text is devoted to things that were already well known in 1945 - in fact the large majority of the material belongs to the 19th century - forces, heat, levers, angular momentum, gravity, and the like. In some sense, when you read a physics text book, you are not reading physics; you are reading history. If you ask an average physicist what she's excited about, it won't be the things in those text books. This means that you are missing the physics - physics is a process, a way of thinking, a way of solving problems, and it's a community. When physicists are done with something, it becomes engineering or some other discipline. In fact if you look who is really interested in forces nowadays, it's not physicists, it's engineers. Same thing with electricity. To capture the real feeling of physics, we need to be more up to date, and look at some of the themes of the last few decades.
The spirit of this text will be fundamentally one of story telling - I am telling the story of physics, of who we physicists are as a community, introducing you as much to our heart as to our head - where we think we are coming from and where we think we are going. As a story teller I will not be checking all my sources, reading up on the meaning of every word and sentence in this blog before actually blogging. And often I will insert my own opinions. At the same time I will tell the truth as best I know it, and only say things I'm pretty sure of. If you see a mistake, please feel free to point that out to me, politely. And just as important, if something needs clarification, if I could explain something better, then please let me know.
This blog will be draft quality, not finished copy. I have presented the material once before, in an introductory physics course in Manila. You can find the notes at http://www.sacksteder.com/PS21A/physics.html - but often the notes diverged worlds away from the actual lecture contents.