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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Change in forces acting on a car

As a biochemist now teaching physics (middle school), I have what might be two silly questions. I get that for a stationary car to move forward, the forward force (acceleration) needs to be greater ...
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2answers
952 views

How can I explain or demonstrate the Lorentz Force to a 12 year old?

I'm a space physicist. I've been working with a group of school students (aged between around 10 and 12) exploring the Sun, the Earth and the solar system. We've talked about some basics of magnetism ...
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0answers
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2answers
2k views

Electrodynamics textbooks that emphasize applications

Please recommend undergraduate-level textbooks on electrodynamics which emphasize practical applications and real life examples. Please describe the book's level and contents and its intended audience ...
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0answers
26 views

How to learn physics on my own [duplicate]

I am 14 year old I want to learn physics up to a level where I can invent stuff. I want to be an inventor so I need to learn Mechanical physics at the moment. I am comfortable with both mathematical ...
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7answers
15k 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
39 views

Analogy of curvature of space with sheet and ball [closed]

Many times people try to explain why mass curves the space with the ball on a sheet but in this analogy, I believe there is so many wrong corespondencies that it is actually a bad one. Implication ...
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0answers
35 views

Is the finite element method easily extrapolable to new disciplines? [closed]

I am a structural engineer with a good solid mechanics background. I am reasonably familiar with finite element methods as applied to linear/nonlinear solids and structures, I would like to know how ...
3
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1answer
97 views

Elementary graphical error analysis

Suppose you analyze experimantal data with pencil and piece of paper, one simple method is to plot the data in a linearized way with error bars. Suppose you are interested in the slope of this linear ...
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35 views
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3answers
159 views

What is the prerequisite for learning quantum mechanics

I want to learn quantum mechanics myself and when I open books about them I see weird symbols and different types of mathematical formulas and physics concepts. So what should I first study in ...
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4answers
223 views

Why can't anything travel faster than light?

It is a well known fact, that nothing can travel faster than light. I have discussed that fun fact numerous times with my 8 year old son. One day he asked "why?", and I realized that I didn't know the ...
2
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0answers
92 views

Undergrad in QFT/GR looking to do string theory Ph.D [closed]

I am currently a third year undergrad in physics who is currently taking QFT and GR. I took these classes just out of pure interest in the subjects but I find that my mind is being blown almost every ...
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1answer
46 views

Electron's eternal “orbit” about the nucleus [duplicate]

My 8th grade student asks me: "Why don't electrons just fall into the nucleus?" I don't want to lie and tell them it's "just like the Moon not falling onto Earth, because of, you know, acceleration". ...
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12answers
22k views

Best books for mathematical background?

What are the best textbooks to read for the mathematical background you need for modern physics, such as, string theory? Some subjects off the top of my head that probably need covering: ...
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2answers
17k views

Lev Landau's “Theoretical Minimum”

The great russian physicist Lev Landau developed a famous entry exam to test his students. This "Theoretical Minimum" contained everything he considered elementary for a young theoretical physicist. ...
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1answer
1k views

How to learn physics? [duplicate]

I am an engineering student (CSE) in India..But recently I have developed a strong love to physics..I want to learn physics and understand it in deep..I know physics is the search of deep fundamental ...
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4answers
1k views

Textbook on group theory to be able to start QFT

I am very enthusiastic about learning QFT. How much group theory would I need to master? Please could you recommend me a textbook on group theory, which would help me to start QFT?
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1answer
49 views

Educational benefit of putting units outside of variables? [closed]

When I studied physics (both in high-school and university), in all of the worked examples, variables would be used to denote physical quantities, and thus include dimensional units. For example, ...
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5answers
32k 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 ...
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9answers
10k views

How do you explain spinning tops to a nine year old?

Why don't spinning tops fall over? (The young scientist version) My nine year old son asked me this very question when playing with his "Battle Strikers" set. Having studied Physics myself, I am very ...
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3answers
246 views

Counting Problems in Physics [closed]

What are some classic counting problems in physics? I'm trying to think of interesting examples to give in a math class on the matter, and I feel as if physics should have some ones to offer.
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4answers
6k views

What is 2 $\theta$ in X-ray powder diffraction (XRD)?

Why are we taking 2$\theta$ instead of $\theta$ in X-ray powder diffraction (XRD). I have found the forum post 2 theta in X-ray Powder Diffraction (XRD), but there is no answer. What is the ...
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0answers
20 views

What are the prerequisites needed to grasp analytical mechanics? [duplicate]

What are the mathematical prerequisites needed to grasp analytical mechanics conceptually and technically? What textbook is adequate for this purpose for an undergraduate student? To understand the ...
3
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1answer
104 views

Inaccuracy at measuring gravity constant with Cavendish experiment

For a scientific work for school I decided to measure the gravity constant with the Cavendish experiment. I set up a structure like the one suggested on this website: ...
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1answer
57 views

Exercise book recommendations to accompany “Lectures on Quantum Mechanics for Mathematics Students” by Faddeev and Yakubovskii?

I'm currently going through "Lectures on Quantum Mechanics for Mathematics Students" by Faddeev and Yakubovskii, which is great. But there are no exercises. Is there a book you'd recommend with ...
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0answers
23 views

What are pre-requisites for studying Brownian Motion? [closed]

I know Classical Mechanics (Feynman Lectures of Physics), Fluid mechanics (BR Munson) and basic Thermodynamics (not the part which includes statistical mechanics). Can I study Brownian motion on this ...
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2answers
231 views

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

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
54 views

What kind of math do I need got general relativity? [duplicate]

I'm 15 this year and have a passion in physics What kind of math do I need to tackle general relativity? Also what year in uni do we learn about general relativity?
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14answers
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Learning physics online?

I'm thinking of following some kind of education in physics online. I have a master degree in Computer Science and have reasonable good knowledge in physics. I would like a program of 1-2 years and ...
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4answers
3k 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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1answer
92 views

Is This Educational Model of Electron Any Good? [closed]

To help me understand electrons better I came up with this educational model. This is not a theory, just an attempt to possibly update current didactic models. Instead of an electron being a cloud, ...
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0answers
26 views

How to understand why a reciever cannot hear, see or catch waves of all frequencies at the same time

I am explaining about how antennas work to my son. Like, how antennas need to be set for certain frequencies or wavelength. As an example, i provide the example of eyes and ears as receivers and how ...
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0answers
33 views

Mathematics involved in string theory [duplicate]

As an amateur mathematician and lover of the sciences I have a well working knowledge of classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, general relativity, quantization, and so on... But recently I've been ...
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0answers
69 views

Reasons for doing handwritten notes in physics (junior) labs [closed]

It seems to be a common practice in universities that students in physics labs have to maintain a hand written lab notebook. Using this as a base they should prepare a (often computer written) lab ...
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2answers
84 views

Would condensed matter physicists need more than three dimensional calculus? [closed]

The difference between "multivariable" and "vector" calculus, as stated on Yale's website, is that multivariable would only go through 2 or 3 dimensions, and so would rely heavily on geometric ...
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2answers
136 views

What is Method of Characteristics?

I am a final year student of BS Mechanical Engineering and method of characteristics is not a part of our curriculum. In-fact I heard of it first time after finally picking my FYP. My final year ...
2
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0answers
63 views

QFT background needed for AdS/CFT integrability [closed]

Apologies if this type of question isn't permitted. I'm very interested in integrability in the context of AdS/CFT. I'm starting my Masters soon in a very GATIS-involved institute and would like to ...
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0answers
53 views

Overarching themes for high school physics [closed]

My sister is a high school math teacher and got unexpectedly thrown into teaching physics this year when her school couldn't find someone else to fill the role. Since I have studied physics, she asked ...
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1answer
51 views

I'm interested in the use of self-similarity in physics. Is this a reputable subject? [closed]

I'm interested in fractals, self-similarity, and chaos. Many physicists disregard these phenomena as candidates to explain the fundamental properties of the universe. However, when I read about ...
5
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2answers
273 views

Examples of singularities in classical physics [closed]

I am a math teacher and I have to teach a topic called "Bruchterme" and "Bruchgleichungen" in german (I don't know the english word for it). For example $$ \frac{x^2 - 3}{(x - 2)x^2} + \frac{4}{x} + ...
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0answers
40 views

What is the first topic on mathematics,that an undergraduate physics student must study? [duplicate]

I aspire to become a theoretical physicist. I like to understand about infinite series and so on. Could you please recommend me any book?
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0answers
44 views

Subject is Maths that would complement Physics? [closed]

Suppose Math has 5 sub parts- Analysis: Analysis, Complex Analysis, Measure theory and integration,Functional Analysis Algebra: Group Theory, Vectors space-rings-modules, Galois, Algebra Number ...
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0answers
38 views

Prepare for HEP-th graduate application: books, research opportunities,etc [closed]

I want to specialise in high-energy physics theory. I feel quiet unconfident because the I just knew that the field is insanely competitive, so I really need your advice to guide me a bit, and any ...
2
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2answers
205 views

Mathematics needed for string theory [duplicate]

I'm interested in cutting edge string theory studied by research physicist. I'm wonder what mathematics is needed and how far am I in terms of mathematics background needed and how much more ...
36
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12answers
49k views

What is the simplest way to prove the Earth is round?

Assume you've come in contact with a tribe of people cut off from the rest of the world, or you've gone back in time several thousand years, or (more likely) you've got a numbskull cousin. How would ...
5
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3answers
183 views

Physics journals that focus on expository work

As the title says, I'm looking for journals that focus on expository work in Physics. What I mean is that the journal is less focused on communication between professionals and more on disseminating ...
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2answers
73 views

Solid Mechanics book recommendations

I'm searching for a book on Solid Mechanics that explains the topics intuitively (similar to Kline explanations on Calculus: An Intuitive and Physical Approach). Also the book should have the ...
4
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4answers
1k views

Which one to learn first: Special or general relativity? [closed]

I am extremely interested in self-learning Einstein's theory of relativity, but I don't know where to start. Can I make general relativity my starting point, and later look at special relativity as ...
5
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0answers
217 views

Book with solved examples and exercise problems for SUSY

I am learning supersymmetry right now. I am mostly following Bailin and Love. I try to connect all the steps from the book and complete the derivations in order to get comfortable with the ...