Newton’s Laws, Euler’s Laws and the Speed of Light


  • Stephen Whitaker University of California


Chemical engineering students begin their studies of mechanics in a department of physics where they are introduced to the mechanics of Newton. The approach presented by physicists differs in both perspective and substance from that encountered in chemical engineering courses where Euler’s laws provide the foundation for studies of fluid and solid mechanics. Rather than ignore this difference, chemical engineering faculty should address it in a straightforward manner and connect the perspective of physicists with that of chemical engineers. This paper provides one way to make that connection.

Author Biography

Stephen Whitaker, University of California

Stephen Whitaker is a professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis. His interests in engineering education are directed toward avoiding leaps of faith by building upon material studied in prerequisite courses. He has received various departmental teaching awards in addition to the Tau Beta Pi Outstanding Teacher Award (College of Engineering), the Magnar Ronning Award for Teaching Excellence (UC Davis), the Distinguished Teaching Award (UC Davis), the Engineering Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award (College of Engineering), and the Warren K. Lewis Award (AIChE).