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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8answers
5k views

How does the earth move?

My son who is 5 years old is asking me a question about how the earth moves around the sun. What answer should I give him?
0
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2answers
110 views

Study material for quantum mechanics [duplicate]

I want to study quantum mechanics. But I don't know what and which topics of mathematics are required. I know a bit of differential calculus. But what else is needed to study a bit advanced quantum ...
0
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0answers
39 views

Intuitive model to show difference between photon energy and light intensity?

What would be a good (intuitive, easily comprehensible) model to explain the quantum nature of light insofar as there is a fundamental difference between intensity and photon energy? One example (not ...
2
votes
3answers
20k views

Uses of vectors in real life [closed]

I always wonder how vectors are used in real life.Vectors and decomposition of vectors,dot and cross products are taught in the early stage in every undergraduate physics course and in every ...
1
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3answers
183 views

Prerequisites for classical mechanics by Susskind

So I am an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering. We had a course on Physics in our freshman year which is equivalent to Classical Mechanics I as taught in MIT. I am interested in studying advanced ...
3
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1answer
871 views

Book recommendations for fluid dynamics self study

I have my bachelors degree in engineering science: computer science, option electrotechnic. I have a good understanding of basic mechanics and dynamics, calculus (differential equations). The books ...
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0answers
164 views

Experiment to verify a spring constant

In my high school physics class, I had students do a Hooke's Law lab to measure an unknown spring constant. Once we compared everyone's data we came up with a class value for $k$ of 253 N/m. We then ...
3
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2answers
4k views

Walter Lewin Lectures in HD [closed]

I like the lectures by Walter Lewin 8.0x. However the quality of the videos is pretty bad. Is there any way (DVD, web,...) to get the lecture videos in a good quality, best in HD?
0
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1answer
47 views

Any economical quantitative electrostatics experiments for the university level?

I'm seeking for some safe experiments for undergraduates in the electrostatics context. We have a Van-de-Graaff generator in our fundamental physics lab but this kind of devices are useful for ...
1
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0answers
42 views

GRE subject exam advice [duplicate]

So, I would like to ask those of you who have had this experience for some advice. What book is best for GRE subject exam? I have noticed that some books online have mistakes, so I would like if you ...
0
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0answers
18 views

Recommendations for Complex variable calculus [Physics Oriented]

I'm looking for a good book Complex variable calculus that give a really good mathematical background for a physicist. I already know real-variable calculus and vector calculus and I'm also ...
2
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1answer
58 views

Advice on Major Selection [closed]

I need a bit of an advice in deciding my major. My university allows only one major (along with minors) and I'm having a little bit of trouble in deciding what to do. Here's the thing. I want to go ...
2
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1answer
142 views

What is a quantum field?

I'm just tasting a bit of QFT and want to get started. I got stuck right at the start: what is a quantum field, and how should I look at it? This question can be a follow up of the What is a field, ...
3
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0answers
140 views

How do you explain special relativity to a 3 year old child? [closed]

I've been on multiple threads that attempt to explain this celebrated theory, but I have come across some rather complex threads that is very good if you are a physicist, but no one even attempts to ...
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12answers
14k 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 ...
0
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0answers
23 views

Learning Physics [duplicate]

What's the best way to start learning Physics from home? I haven't touched it since my high school course. I know of Coursera and youtube videos? Are there any other sources that anyone can recommend? ...
1
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4answers
158 views

Why are we still teaching Newtonian physics if it's “false”? [duplicate]

Why are we teaching an outdated theory when the math in general relativity isn't that hard? I really don't see a reason why we should teach a highly oversimplified theory in our schools. For me, it's ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

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

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 ...
3
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4answers
413 views

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

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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2answers
122 views

Physical examples where changing the order of limits yields wrong result [closed]

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 = ...
1
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1answer
64 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 ...
3
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3answers
344 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 ...
0
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1answer
32 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 ...
3
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2answers
98 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?
3
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2answers
120 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
376 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 ...
5
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1answer
120 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 ...
10
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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 ...
2
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0answers
76 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 ...
1
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1answer
142 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
53 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
42 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 ...
7
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3answers
3k 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
votes
2answers
172 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 ...
2
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1answer
49 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 ...
1
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0answers
118 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
54 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 ...
9
votes
9answers
34k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
444 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 ...
125
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15answers
40k views

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 ...
40
votes
14answers
4k 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 ...
2
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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 ...
18
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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 ...
2
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0answers
74 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 ...
0
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1answer
79 views
7
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1answer
108 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
3k views

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
182 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
29 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 / ...
10
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3answers
280 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 ...