How is physics taught and learned. Teaching strategies, class examples and demonstrations; learning resources, career advice, etc. For explicit problems, use the 'homework' tag instead.

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What topics do I need to study electromagnetism on the quantum scale? [on hold]

What topics do I need to study (in order) so that I can study electromagnetics on the quantum scale? What is the name of the discipline studying electromagnetism on the quantum scale? Do I need to ...
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0answers
39 views

Specialization in studying theoretical physics (edited) [on hold]

As a young student very interested in physics, it is my goal in life to learn more about the world through the pursuit of theoretical physics, and to make a contribution to the field. Of course, one ...
3
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4answers
216 views

Why do physics students find vectors so difficult to deal with? [on hold]

When I teach introductory physics to undergraduates, I find that although the classes are frequently split into "algebra-based" and "calculus-based" sections, the most difficult concept for any of ...
4
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3answers
100 views

Physical examples where changing the order of limits yields wrong result

In mathematics it is generally not allowed to change order of limits. For example it is not always true for a sequence of functions $f_n$, that $\int_a^b \left(\sum_{n=0}^\infty f_n(x) \right) dx = ...
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0answers
20 views

Research Problem in Gravitation [closed]

I did my M.Phil project on gravitational waves. It was completely a review work. It included calculation of energy momentum tensor for fields in the weak field limit, quadrupole approximation for the ...
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2answers
117 views

Looking for lists of student difficulties with electromagnetism, circuits (DC and AC)

I'm trying to help with an Instructor's Guide for an introductory calc-based physics text, and it would really help if I could locate some lists of typical student difficulties with topics like ... ...
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0answers
59 views

Hated Solid state Physics? [closed]

I am a senior level, this semester I have a solid state physics course, but I don't like it (actually I hate it ) and, next year I want to specialize in High energy physics, and I am wondering that is ...
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0answers
42 views

US versus International physics GRE Scores [migrated]

Browsing various phd admissions programs, I consistently find that there is a higher expectation of international students on the physics gre for admission. For example, at UT Austin, the average ...
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1answer
39 views

Textbook for relativity: modern version of Bondi's Relativity and Common Sense?

I am looking for a textbook on relativity for school children. A background in simple vector based mechanics could be assumed. Primarily it needs to be readable at high school English reading level ...
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3answers
97 views

Simple real-life examples of Fermi's golden rule?

I want to teach my students some simple applications of Fermi's Golden Rule. Unfortunately, most examples I can think of are in scattering theory, which they have not learned yet. Are there any ...
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1answer
74 views

What kind of free energy do we use for a superconductor in a magnetic field?

My reasoning is as follows (using Gaussian units): Start from the second law: $$dU=TdS+dW,$$ where $dW$ is the work done by the magnetic field. To derive $dW$, we consider a solenoid with current ...
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1answer
22 views

Torque on shaft

Consider a generator which supply power using a shaft to a turbine. The torque applied on shaft by generator is $T$. As the shaft has constant angular velocity the turbine should also be applying ...
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2answers
91 views

Introducing angular momentum for the first time to a class

What is the best way to introduce the notion of angular momentum to a class without making it appear an unnecessary and artificial construction?
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2answers
110 views

Are Mathematics the language of the universe? [closed]

I am a high school student and next year i am going to be a physics major, so this year i put all my effort on physics and mathematics, since it a great tool for physicists. But now i wonder, in ...
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3answers
340 views

Testing my understanding of QM - The Double Slit Experiment without the slit

First off, sorry to throw in another question from someone who hasn't studied the maths. I'd like to see if I have a correct (if very basic and non-mathematical) understanding of the wave and ...
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1answer
105 views

Everyday example of diffusion unobscured by advection, wetting etc

Diffusion is an important concept in elementary science education, especially because it supports (or seems to support) the notion of matter consisting of very small everyday particles (as opposed to ...
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3answers
1k views

How accurately can I expect to measure the gravitational constant with a club of college students?

I am a math instructor with almost no experimental physics background, but I run a math and engineering club that is interested in doing some experiments. I have read up a bit and see some obvious ...
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0answers
62 views

What is the true fundamental 'stuff' of physics? [closed]

It seems to me that most if not all of the publications and the institutional education of physics 'jump in' and start describing detailed phenomena without spending too much time describing and ...
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1answer
116 views

What kind of math is used in QFT? [duplicate]

What branch(es) of math are used in Quantum Field Theory? Or the question, by way of analogy: Tensor Calculus is to General Relativity as What is to Quantum Field Theory?
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2answers
36 views

Is there a (cheap) optical resonance demonstration using visible light?

I'm looking for a impressive, inexpensive lecture demonstration of optical standing wave resonance. Preferably visible light. Can anyone suggest such a demo?
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0answers
41 views

Where can I find a structured presentation of the equations of physics? [duplicate]

I recently realized how odd it is that studying physics has never been able to hold my interest despite how interesting I find physics. I came to the conclusion that it is because I've always felt ...
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3answers
2k views

How deep can my knowledge of particle physics go without the maths?

By no means do I have the mathematical background to understand most of the math used in elementary particle physics. My current knowledge is of all the elementary particles and how they interact ...
2
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2answers
95 views

How to find optical toy models of entangled quantum mechanical systems?

I recently read Arnold Neumaier's lectures on uncovering classical aspects of quantum mechanics: Classical and quantum field aspects of light Optical models for quantum mechanics I can't find the ...
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1answer
42 views

Prerequisites for Ptolemy's Almagest

I hope this is a valid question to ask on this website (since it's astronomy and not e.g. mechanics, I wasn't so sure). What prerequisites are needed for fully understanding Ptolemy's Almagest. Fully ...
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0answers
39 views

Using a role-play to teach ohm's law

An education research project: can a role-play be used to help understand Ohm's Law? I need to have this analogy checked for scientific validity. A group of 25 primary children will participate, with ...
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1answer
49 views

Simple question [closed]

How much of this can you understand and which videos or simplified ways would you suggest for me to understand more? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rjbtsX7twc I understood about... 3%... I ...
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9answers
27k views

What's the standard “roadmap” to learning quantum physics? [closed]

I'm really interested in quantum physics and would like to learn more. However, I don't know where to start and in what order I should learn things. So, ideally I'm looking for some sort of roadmap of ...
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3answers
396 views

Motivation for Potentials

This is a hypothetical question about "pedagogy". Let's say I am trying to take someone who has just a very small amount of knowledge about Newtonian mechanics and convince them that the Lagrangian ...
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15answers
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How do I explain to a six year old why people on the other side of the Earth don't fall off? [closed]

Today a friend's six year old sister asked me the question "why don't people on the other side of the earth fall off?". I tried to explain that the Earth is a huge sphere and there's a special force ...
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0answers
55 views

Physical reasoning and mathematical problems [closed]

After reading The Mathematical Mechanic: Using Physical Reasoning to Solve Problems by Mark Levi, I was wondering if there there are other books (or papers) that use a similar approach to explore ...
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14answers
3k views

Why quantum mechanics?

Imagine you're teaching a first course on quantum mechanics in which your students are well-versed in classical mechanics, but have never seen any quantum before. How would you motivate the subject ...
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0answers
43 views

What topics should I develop complete concepts in before I begin the derivation of GR? [duplicate]

I had just been trying to understand GR but i just cannot understand where some of the formula of field came from. Apparently all those initial formula are from Newtonian physics so please anyone ...
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4answers
2k views

Is there a physics Puzzles site like Project Euler?

I am looking for a site that publishing riddles and problems such as Project Euler publishes problems in computer science. Is there any similar site that is hardcore in the area of physics? This ...
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0answers
51 views

Learning Roadmap to Mathematical Physics [duplicate]

Currently, I am a graduate student specializing in algebraic geometry. On the other hand, I have also become extremely interested in the mathematical physics. However, I am not sure what steps I ...
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1answer
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101 views

Physics First: Where is Science Education Today?

Leon Lederman, a Nobel Prize winner in Physics and former director of Fermilab was a champion in 'Physics First', a principle in science education proposing Physics as the first course in science ...
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8answers
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Explaining to a five year old - why don't bubbles run like water

My five-year old daughter was asking about astronauts the other day and why they float in space. After me showing her a few bits on the kids section on the NASA web site I started explaining about the ...
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1answer
86 views

Physics research topic for Undergraduate students [closed]

Can You tell me some research topics for 1st year undergraduate students? I am not getting how to make a research paper?
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0answers
25 views

Need advice for self study in physics [duplicate]

I need advice for self study in Physics. I have a good theoretical and practical background in math & statistics, but virtually no physics. My ultimate interest is cosmology / relativity / ...
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3answers
251 views

Why is fundamental physics taught in terms of particles?

According to this paper, there can be no relativistic quantum theory of localizeable particles ("relativity plus quantum mechanics exclusively requires a field ontology"). Sean Caroll has also argued ...
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1answer
36 views

Motivating the importance of energy [closed]

I'm working on a project right now and part of the introduction is about energy, and I'm trying to introduce the notion of energy in an unconventional way. Right now, I am looking for examples of ...
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10answers
4k views

Classic home experiments for an 8-year-old child

My 8-year-old daughter's school report says that she's good at understanding the basic science she's doing, but she's having trouble seeing how experimental results lead to conclusions. Specifically, ...
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4answers
13k views

What is the math knowledge necessary for starting Quantum Mechanics?

Could someone experienced in the field tell me what the minimal math knowledge one must obtain in order to grasp the introductory Quantum Mechanics book/course? I do have math knowledge but I must ...
2
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2answers
66 views

Thermographic camera - show for visiting school children

Next week a group of pupils (12-14 years old) will visit my institute. I would like to teach them about infrared radiation. Do you have any suggestion what kind of simply and impressive experiments I ...
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3answers
3k views

Does conservation of momentum really imply Newton's third law?

I often heard that conservation of momentum is nothing else than Newton's third law. Ok, If you have only two interacting particles in the universe, this seems to be quite obvious. However if you ...
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0answers
139 views

Mathematical Prerequisites for QFT [closed]

I am curious about which areas of mathematics one should be comfortable with before learning QFT. I am familiar with the "learn-it-as-you-go" approach often advocated in physics, but would like to ...
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7answers
8k views

Does Earth really have two high-tide bulges on opposite sides?

The bit that makes sense – tidal forces My physics teacher explained that most tidal effect is caused by the moon rotating around the Earth, and some also by the Sun. They said that in the Earth and ...
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0answers
30 views

Resources on Solar Neutrino Physics

For a project I'm doing for an introductory Astrophysics course, I'm trying to understand the nuances of solar neutrino physics. However, most of what is said while explaining neutrino oscillations ...
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4answers
1k views

Study Quantum Physics

I'm an aspiring physicist who wants to self study some Quantum Physics. My thirst for knowledge is unquenchable and I can not wait 2 more years until I get my first quantum physics class in ...
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2answers
117 views

Does one really need classical physics in order to understand quantum physics? [closed]

I want to start studying quantum mechanics, and then move to quantum field theory. I have a strong mathematical background, and I think this aspect of quantum physics won't be a problem to me. Though, ...