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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Is it too late to study physics? [closed]

I'm 24 year old student and I study Bachelor's degree of information technology. This is my last year there. Before I applied to this school I didn't know (remember) anything about mathematics or ...
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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 university,...
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Computer game with quantum optics/ information

Is there a computer game using principles of quantum optics or quantum information? By game I don't mean just a simulation or an interactive course, but something that can be played in an enjoyable ...
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Math or Physics degree?

I am hoping to become a physicist focusing mainly on the theoretical side in the future. I am trying to decide whether to go for a physics or math undergrad course. Assuming that I am capable of ...
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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 ...
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Is there a general physics simulator for learning purposes?

Is there a complete physics simulator that I can use to do general simulations for learning purposes? For example: Create a sandbox. Fill with a gas. Load a 3d solid model like this (but 3d). Fill ...
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Please recommend a good book about physics for young child (elementary school aged) [closed]

I'm looking for a book that would be appropriate for an advanced elementary school aged kids (say, 6-11 YO) describing the basics of physics (or sciences in general) in entertaining way. The ...
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Physics book for 15 year old boy [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: List of good classical physics books my name is Bruno Alano. As stated in the title, I'm 15 years old (I'll do 16 on 7 of Feb) and much love Computer Science (C, C++), ...
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Explanation of Lorentz-Force

In high-school level books (for example the german standard text: "Dorn-Bader") I have often seen an explanation of the Lorentz force as on the following picture: The textbooks consider the ...
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How to design a deliberately biased coin?

For demonstrating basic probability concepts, it would be nice to have a coin-like object that lands heads/tails not in 50/50% ratio, but biased in a way that can be revealed in a short experiment. ...
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Introductory examples of AdS/CFT duality

I would like to know, what are the simplest/starting/basic examples that are typically used to introduce students to how AdS/CFT really works? (not the MAGOO paper, as I am not sure it has concrete ...
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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?
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Should I begin to study quantum mechanics or wait until I have a stronger base on easier topics? [closed]

I apologize if this is off topic since it does not relate directly to the study of physics, but I could not think of a better place to ask. I am a high school student graduating in a few days and ...
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What math do I need for mathematical physics? In what manner should I learn math? [closed]

I'm a freshman undergraduate. I've got my sight on mathematical physics. I love math but I don't have the talent nor the inclination for purely abstract mathematics. I also love physics. The only ...
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Educational physics stories with a funny punchline [closed]

As a physicist, when I'm giving lectures or during colloquiums, I usually find it necessary to have some appropriate and related jokes in hand. All of the best teachers have some, and they use them ...
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How can some-one independently do research in particle physics? [closed]

I'm not affiliated with a physics department and I want to do independent research. I'm working my way through Peskin et. al. QFT now. Let's say that I've finished Peskin et. al. and Weinberg QFT ...
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Is it feasible to measure the energy of cosmic ray muons with a consumer Digital Single Lens Reflex camera?

I have read this article SIBBERNSEN, Kendra. Catching Cosmic Rays with a DSLR. Astronomy Education Review, 2010, 9: 010111. and it talks about estimating the muon cosmic ray flux by means of a DSLR ...
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423 views

Supersymmetry in Quantum Mechanics

I was reading Supersymmetry in Quantum Mechanics and got stuck in the various mathematical terminology like "Graded-Lie Algebra", "Super Algebra". Is there any good lecture notes concerning these ...
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Alternate layman's metaphors for illustrating curved space-time

The metaphor of a surface (typically a pool table or a trampoline) distorted by a massive object is commonly used as a metaphor for illustrating gravitationally induced space-time curvature. But as ...
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Recommendations for time-line and road map in graduate school towards specializing in Maldacena's conjecture

This question was asked on Theoretical Physics Stackexchange and was grossly misread and closed. I am again posting the question here hoping to get some valuable insights. Also some people were ...
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What is an effective and efficient way to read research papers? [duplicate]

I will be a grad student in condensed matter theory starting this fall. As an undergrad, I did the basic physics and math courses as well as a few grad classes (qft, analysis, solid state physics etc.)...
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Is the historical method of teaching physics a “legitimate, sure and fruitful method of preparing a student to receive a physical hypothesis”? [closed]

The French physicist, historian, and philosopher of physics, Pierre Duhem, wrote:The legitimate, sure and fruitful method of preparing a student to receive a physical hypothesis is the historical ...
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What should a physics undergrad aspiring to be a string theorist learn before grad school?

The question I guess is pretty clear. I am a physics undergrad wishing to pursue research in quantum gravity(string theory?). What are the subjects I should learn other than the usual compulsory ...
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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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555 views

How to learn celestial mechanics?

I'm a PhD student in math and am really excited about celestial mechanics. I was wondering if anyone could give me a roadmap for learning this subject. The amount of information about it on the ...
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Textbook about the handiwork of a HEP analysis?

I'm wondering if there is a textbook that describes the handiwork of a particle physics analysis. There are a bunch of books about theory, about the experimental aspects like detectors, and about ...
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How does the boiling time depend on the number of eggs

My nephew showed me an exercise from his school-textbook about boiling eggs. Here is the exercise (translated from german): To make one hard-boiled egg in a pot of water one has to put it for 8 ...
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Is there a handwavy way to explain what quantum correlation means?

Is there a simple way to explain the difference between a classical and truly quantum correlation to a non-quantum person who has basic understanding classical correlation? I mean without invoking ...
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An approachable example of a field with a “mass gap”

Preamble: I have come to believe that alot of difficulties in explaining physics to people of all levels comes from the relatively mundane idea of a wave equation with a mass gap $$\left(-\partial^2_t ...
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Advantages of Lagrangian Mechanics over Newtonian Mechanics [closed]

Here, I'm going to pose a very serious list of doubts I have on Lagrangian Mechanics. Can we learn Lagrangian Mechanics without studying Newtonian Mechanics? Does Lagrangian help in solving problems ...
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Explaining Newton's Laws of motion to a 6 year old

An old professor of mine once said that an effective means to get people interested in Physics is to get them started early. What would be an effective and meaningful (and fun) means to explain ...
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The Z-Torque: how can it be shown intuitively that it does not work?

There is a new kickstarter project that claims to increase torque and power compared to a normal crank on a bicycle (Z-Torque on kickstarter). If this patented (US Patent Number 5899119) approach ...
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study quantum mechanics without physics background [closed]

I am a first year PhD math student, and must decide: should I study Quantum Mechanics, although I don't have undergrad background in Physics? Let me be more specific about my situation: Background: ...
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Tips on teaching Dimensional Analysis? [closed]

What's a good way to explain dimensional analysis to a student? Here's a simple question which this method would be useful: Let's say a truck is moving with a speed of 18 m/s to a new speed of 13 m/...
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Textbook on group theory to be able to start QFT [duplicate]

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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Going Beyond Introductory Physics [closed]

Due to certain reasons, I don't have the chance for going to college for under-graduation, but that doesn't mean I can't choose to walk the hard path and learn. Over the past month or so a lot of ...
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Self Teaching QFT

I am currently in the process of teaching myself QFT. It is not an easy task. I have armed myself with many of the standard textbooks. However, I am slow learner. I get stuck on a thousand ...
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967 views

Prerequisites to start the study of noncommutative geometry in physics

What are prerequisites (in mathematics and physics), that one should know about for getting into use of ideas from noncommutative geometry in physics?
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479 views

Undergraduate-friendly reading material on the multiverse?

I'll be teaching a seminar for first-year undergraduates next year. The idea of my university's first-year seminar program is to expose students to exciting ideas and important texts in a somewhat ...
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330 views

How can one make sure that one had understood the material studied? [closed]

I do not fully understand the process of understanding of a material one reads. Suppose someone reads a chapter from a physics book. How does one make sure that one had really understood what she/he ...
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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 ...
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363 views

Why distinguish between row and column vectors?

Mathematically, a vector is an element of a vector space. Sometimes, it's just an n-tuple $(a,b,c)$. In physics, one often demands that the tuple has certain transformation properties to be called a ...
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Undergrad project advice [closed]

I am presently in my senior year and I am considering fluid mechanics for my thesis. What area of research of fluid mechanics which is purely analytical and very mathematical since I am an applied ...
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451 views

What are the mathematical prerequisites to understand this paper? [closed]

What are the mathematical prerequisites to understand this paper? Blumenhagen et al. Four-dimensional String Compactifications with D-Branes, Orientifolds and Fluxes. Phys. Rept. 445 no. 1-6, pp. ...
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Beginner Physics Resources? [closed]

I'm interested in learning physics. I do realize that the subject is large and that it would be easier if I had a specific area of interest. However, I do not. I suppose I want to learn about the ...
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Which subjects in physics should I choose if I want to help tackling today's energy and environment related problems? [closed]

I was wondering what subjects a freshman in mathematics ought to choose in the future if s/he wanted to help working on energy and environment-related issues we are currently facing, and will very ...
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Embrace Physics

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what is a good topic for a short talk on theoretical physics to a bunch of Math and Physics undergrads that might make them "embrace" theoretical physics? Thanks....
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What do you think about teaching Standard Model in school? [closed]

Here is a scan from an old Soviet textbook for school children: It shows the table of quarks and antiquarks of different generations, colours, spins. The book also includes similar tables of gluons ...
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Possibility of making an experiment in a classroom to simulate DNA diffraction

I am a TA in a structural chemistry class. The professor want me to show students how Watson and Crick determined the structure of DNA from X-ray diffraction results of DNA crystals. The professor ...
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Is the proper interpretation of temperature missing in this book?

In Randall T. Knight’s textbook “Physics for Scientists and Engineers” in the first chapter on thermodynamics (Ch. 16: A Macroscopic Description of Matter) one of the first conceptual questions is ...