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 there a good experiment to demonstrate Gauss's Law for Magnetism?

I'm trying to come up with a simple experiment that can demonstrate the properties of Gauss's Law for Magnetism. I am aware that it is a mathematical representation of the fact that magnetic ...
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4answers
1k views

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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5answers
445 views

Usefullness of an only qualitative understanding of momentum?

A few days ago I had a discussion with a friend who wants to become a physics teacher (in Germany). He told me that from a pedagogical/didactial point of view it seems to be a good idea to introduce ...
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396 views

Do I need to study the “Standard Model” before studying String Theory?

After this semester, I'll have a background up to a first course in QFT (first 5 or 6 chapters of Peskin and Schroeder). The next step in QFT will be something specific to the Standard Model (...
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1answer
91 views

How to motivate the importance of the spacetime interval

The spacetime interval is a rather important thing in Special Relativity. It allows us to define the separation between any two events as spacelike, timelike or lightlike and more importantly, the ...
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49 views

Gravitational waves: simulations of signal

I am self-learning GR. I was wondering if there is any open source software to help learn more about the signal processing of gravitational waves. E.g. a software that injects a signal into random ...
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2answers
990 views

Is mid-water bouyancy a classic example of a balanced but unstable system?

I came to this thought experiment as I was pondering good teaching examples of stable and unstable systems. It occurred to me that stable systems are really quite abundant. For a shoot-from-the-hip ...
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281 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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1answer
140 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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149 views

Is there a theoretical physics masters that accepts mathematics graduates? [closed]

I plan to graduate with an honours (four year) degree in philosophy and a general (three year) degree in mathematics. Are there any physics graduate programs that might admit me if I were to apply? ...
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0answers
414 views

Leonard Susskind's videos. Which order? [closed]

As a mathematics student with almost no modern physics background (just an introduction to relativity when I was in secondary school) I find Leonard Susskind's lectures videos (freely available in ...
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269 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 ...
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514 views

Good theoretical physics introduction for 6 year old very advanced in math? [duplicate]

I think now is a good time to introduce my son to theoretical physics. He asks so many questions about the universe, black holes, gravity, atoms, molecules, light, etc. He's borderline obsessed with ...
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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 ...
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7answers
1k views

For a theoretical (not mathematical) physicist, is there a need to learn pure mathematics?

For a theoretical physicist (not a mathematical physicist), is there a need to learn pure mathematics ?
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7answers
1k views

Physics Equations for Grad School / Physics GRE Prep

Motivation for asking question: I am planning to take the GRE subject test for Physics. Question: Can somebody please tell me what are the most important equations I should definitely know and ...
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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

Advantage of doing research in theoretical high energy over other fields?

I am undecided about the field I want to do my PhD in, in graduate school. I am asking because the applications that I am filling ask me to write the intended field of study. I found the people who ...
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2answers
357 views

What are some good international, English language physics grad programs? [closed]

I am looking into physics PhD programs and I would love to take the opportunity to live abroad (again). I know there are some well-known, technical, international universities like IIT in India and ...
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4answers
914 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 ...
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2answers
5k 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?
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4answers
415 views

Applications of recoil principle in classical physics

Are there any interesting, important or (for the non physicist) astonishing examples where the recoil principle (as special case of conservation of linear momentum) is applied beside rockets and guns? ...
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1answer
945 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, ...
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143 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 = \...
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2answers
171 views

Education : Students devising and solving their own problems [closed]

I apologize in advance for the nature of this question. I have been thinking lately of methods to increase the quality of my self-study. I have been meaning, but never actually got to, in addition ...
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1answer
506 views

Suggestions for GR solved problems books

Study Topic: General Relativity I'm looking for a recommendation for either a dedicated problems and solved solutions book or, failing that, a textbook with a separate comprehensive solutions manual....
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511 views

In what order should the subjects be studied in order to get to String Theory [duplicate]

I know: Quantum Mechanics (Griffiths Level, currently doing Sakurai Level) Mechanics (Newtonian+ Lagrangian/Hamiltonian but at level lower than Goldstein/Landau) Classical Electrodynamics (...
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3answers
925 views

Virtual images in (plane) mirrors?

The following image is taken from teaching physics lecture Was man aus virtuellen Bildern lernen kann (in German): Now the cited paper claims that the left hand side is the correct picture to ...
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1answer
290 views

Prerequisites for Halliday Resnick Walker

I am in grade 10. I have developed an interest in physics but unfortunately I do not know/ have not studied calculus yet as my school board does not recommend it in grade 10. I have a copy of ...
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1answer
921 views

Math needed for undergrad Statistical Mechanics/Thermal Physics

A professor recommended me to take a course on Statistical Physics as preparation for agent-based computing in social sciences. Now I have no experience in physics beyond basic highschool, and ...
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4answers
470 views

'Getting in' to research physics?

I'm going to be choosing a university course soon, and I want to go into a branch of physics. A dream job for me would be to work in research, however, I do realise that this isn't for everyone and is ...
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2answers
142 views

How can one meaningfully say that one field generates the other in an EM-wave?

This is a follow up question to: Do the electric and magnetic components of an electromagnetic wave really generate each other? Clearly there are nuances of how one states the "mutual induction" ...
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2answers
176 views

Understanding the AdS/CFT Correspondence [duplicate]

I am beginning to learn about the AdS/CFT correspondence, but I can't find a comprehensive introduction that includes the relevant gravitational/string theory physics. What specific areas of general ...
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4answers
8k 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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226 views

Physics talk with an emphasis on Mathematics [closed]

I have to give a 10 minute physics talk that have to involve a fair bit of mathematics -- i.e. not just qualitative/handwaving material to some undergrads. I have wasted the last 3 hours looking for ...
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1answer
216 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
623 views

Way to become a physicist [duplicate]

I am a class 9 student in India. I want to become a physicist. What should I study after class 10? What are my options for colleges and universities? What should I do after my education? What are the ...
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528 views

Some questions about the logics of the principles of independence of motion and composition of motion

In high-school level textbooks* one encounters often the principles of independence of motion and that of composition (or superpositions) of motions. In this context this is used as "independence of ...
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1answer
73 views

“Hollow Earth” like Theories for pedagogical porpuses [closed]

I recently encountered the Hollow Earth theory, and I realize that This kind of theories can be used to give a really interesting discussion of a physical law. For example, If we take the ...
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0answers
217 views

What concepts could I teach to children in a game about quantum-mechanics? [closed]

I think that games can also be used to teach things to young people or childs, different than for example a book and could be more "direct" than teaching them all the math background, I would like to ...
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2answers
274 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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3answers
258 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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0answers
221 views

Lebesgue integration [closed]

I know this question is probably not adequate to this SE either, but let me explain my situation: I'm civil engineering's college, so, there isn't a SE for civil engineering, and my doubts about ...
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0answers
515 views

A gentle introduction to CFT [closed]

Which is the definition of a conformal field theory? Which are the physical prerequisites one would need to start studying conformal field theories? (i.e Does one need to know supersymmetry? Does one ...
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308 views

Course advice for someone interested in strings and mathematical physics [closed]

I'll be doing Introductory General Relativity and Graduate Quantum Mechanics II next semester. I still need to choose 2 (or maybe 3, but I don't want to overload too much) from the following: ...
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0answers
444 views

Dirac action and conventions

I have a (possibly) fundamental question, which is driving me crazy. Notation When considering the Dirac action (say reading Peskin's book), one have $\int dV\;\bar{\psi}\left(\imath\not\partial-m\...
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6answers
4k views

How does one build up intuition in physics? [closed]

How does one build up an intuitive gut feeling for physics that some people naturally have? Physics seems to be a hodgepodge of random facts. Is that a sign to quit physics and take up something ...
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17k views

What distinguishes between physics and chemistry? [closed]

What are the major differences between physics and chemistry? I know that they both study atoms, electrons and molecules, but what makes some topics part of one and some part of another?
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400 views

How are we able to view an object in a room with bulb..?

This is a very basic question on optics. How are we able to view an object kept in a room with a bulb? From what I understand, light rays from bulb will hit the object and some colour will be ...
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4answers
7k views

Mathematical background for Quantum Mechanics [duplicate]

What are some good sources to learn the mathematical background of Quantum Mechanics? I am talking functional analysis, operator theory etc etc...