CCST9056 Science, Technology and Big Data
The Force is with You: How Things Work

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth (SCCE)

[This is a certified Communication-intensive (CI) Course which meets all of the requirements endorsed by HKU’s Senate, including (i) the teaching assessment of oral and digital communication ‘literacies’; and (ii) at least 40% of the course grade assigned to communication-rich assessment tasks.]

Course Description

The Force is with You! The world is a dynamical system for which ‘forces’ are acting everywhere to produce numerous sophisticated phenomena. Students taking this course will surf the world of forces through daily life examples and explanations based on scientific arguments. Fundamental laws of science are abstract, but their implication and applications are concrete. In addition to a scientific exploration of ‘force,’ we will examine the inter-relationships between science and society, as well as a brief historical survey of our understanding of the nature of force since the revolutionary work of Isaac Newton. The discussion will include classical mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity, and magnetism, etc. No prior knowledge in physics is assumed.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the history and development of scientific ideas in oral and written formats.
  2. Examine the scientific principles that explain the daily life phenomena in science on tests, a presentation and in an essay.
  3. Describe the application of science in daily life technology through a variety of communicative formats.
  4. Analyze the interconnectedness between science and the humanities as well as the impact that one acts on the other through writing and discussion.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

First semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 22
Tutorials 8
Seminars 2
Demonstrations 3
Reading / Self-study 40
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 15
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 30
Assessment: In-class tests (incl preparation) 30
Total: 150

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Case study 30
Group presentation 25
Tutorial participation and performance 10
In-class tests 35

Required Reading

  • Bloomfield, L. A. (2013). How things work: The physics of everyday life (5th ed.).Wiley.
  • Crowe, M. J. (2007). Mechanics: From Aristotle to Einstein. New Mexico: Green Lion Press.
  • Mak, D. K., Mak, A. T., et. al. (2010). Solving everyday problems with the scientific method. Singapore: World Scientific.
  • Smith, M. R., & Max, L. (1994). Does technology drive history? The dilemma of technological determinism. MIT Press.

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr F.C.C. Ling
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science
Tel: 2241 5248
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr F.C.C. Ling
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science
Tel: 2241 5248