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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456 views

Why does a plane wave have definite momentum?

Apologies if this is a little vague. It might not have a good answer. Given the interpretation of $|\psi(x)|^2$ as a probability distribution it's unsurprising that a wave function that is ...
0
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2answers
544 views

How to teach myself physics needed at undergraduate electrical engineer level? [closed]

I want to learn electrical engineering on my own, specifically because I'm interested in loudspeaker design, more specifically how to design active dipole loudspeakers using DSP crossovers. I have ...
0
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1answer
89 views

A simple example of symmetry setting the properties of a Physical System

Does anybody know of an example were one could derive some important properties of a physical system from a symmetry of said system. I´m specially looking for simple classical examples, which could ...
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2answers
572 views

How much pure math should a physics/microelectronics person know [duplicate]

I do condensed matter physics modeling in my phd and I was struck up learning quite an amount of physics. But while having done lot of physics courses, I see that if I learn pure math I would ...
1
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1answer
159 views

The length of an antenna is twice the amplitude of the wave

I have seen it remarked in some problem sets that if you have an electromagnetic wave traveling in the $x$-direction with it's $y$-coordinate given as $y(x,t)=y_0\sin (\omega t +kx)$ and you want a ...
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5answers
2k views

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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11answers
14k views

How do you start self-learning physics [closed]

I think this question has its place here because I am sure some of you are "self-taught experts" and can guide me a little through this process. Considering that : I don't have any physics scholar ...
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1answer
87 views

Can electromagnetic momentum be introduced at pre-university level as for electromagnetic energy?

Electromagnetic energy is introduced at pre-university level, starting with static electric energy followed by static magnetic energy. But the introduction of electromagnetic momentum usually has to ...
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2answers
360 views

Can a student with a heavy math background start learning physics with Goldstein's “Classical Mechanics”? [duplicate]

Can a student with a heavy math background start learning physics with Goldstein's "Classical Mechanics"? Or is the book too obtuse with basic physics that I need to start elsewhere?
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7answers
2k 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?
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1answer
777 views

How do I start learning particle physics? [closed]

I am 16 at the moment. I am really interested in physics. Especially particle physics. Can someone please tell me how to start learning the subject. like what to learn first. like which fundamental ...
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0answers
267 views

Starting string theory studies in grad school

How is it possible for a grad student to do research in any modern area of string theory like AdS/CFT or ABJM if they need to start grad school by having to learn QFT from scratch? Is there a ...
1
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1answer
375 views

Learning roadmap for solid state physics [duplicate]

I am a PhD student in mathematics who knows little more about physics than what one learns in high school. For my research on tilings of space and aperiodic order, every now and then I have to skim a ...
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9answers
17k 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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4answers
795 views

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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3answers
7k 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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5answers
4k 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...
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5answers
991 views

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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8answers
9k views

What are the prerequisites to studying general relativity? [closed]

This question recently appeared on Slashdot: Slashdot posts a fair number of physics stories. Many of us, myself included, don't have the background to understand them. So I'd like to ask the ...
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1answer
280 views

Please recommend a physics problems book similar to Demidovich [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Graduate Physics Problems Books Does anyone have recommendation for a physics problems collection book (series) that is similar to Demidovich's A Collection of Problems ...
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0answers
181 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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2answers
186 views

What is a good way to reason in physics? [closed]

I have recently made the decision to study Physics seriously. However, in the past, I've had some difficulty with the subject because of my primarily mathematical background. I find that sometimes ...
0
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1answer
365 views

Quick introduction to electromagnetism / Maxwell's equations [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Electrodynamics textbook that emphasizes applications I am a graduate student in applied mathematics and I am looking for a concise introduction to Maxwell's equations / ...
2
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1answer
324 views

Is it possible to take a QFT class knowing only basic quantum mechanics?

I'm in grad school and notice there are no prerequisites required for QFT in the physics department. In fact, the system allows me to sign up for the course just fine as a technical elective. But... ...
3
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1answer
68 views

Phases of the moon video

I am an educator, and I am looking for a specific video. In the video, they ask some middle school students and some college graduates about why the moon has phases. Most of the students in both the ...
3
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0answers
275 views

Interesting Math Topics Useful for Physics [closed]

What are some interesting, but less popular, math topics that are useful for physics that can be self-studied? Specifically, topics that might ultimately be useful in high energy theory (even if it is ...
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5answers
2k views

Graduate School for Theoretical Physics

First off, let me just say that I am unsure if this question is appropriate for this site, and if the community deems it necessary, the question should be closed. So right now I am a fourth year ...
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2answers
390 views

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 ...
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2answers
1k views

How should a theoretical physicist study maths? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should a physics student study mathematics? If some-one wants to do research in string theory for example, Would the Nakahara Topology, geometry and physics book and ...
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2answers
791 views

How can some-one independently do research in particle physics?

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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0answers
58 views

Quantum Mechanics Text for Electrical Engineers [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is a good introductory book on quantum mechanics? What is a good introductory text on quantum mechanics that could be used to train electrical engineers in device ...
0
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1answer
370 views

What is the importance of electrodynamics and magnetism in physics as a whole? [closed]

At my university the second half of a year long sequence in basic calculus based physics focuses on electrodynamics and magnetism. I am wondering what is the significance of these topics to physics in ...
8
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9answers
2k views

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 ...
21
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14answers
2k views

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 ...
5
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4answers
2k views

Help an aspiring physicists what to self-study [closed]

This is probably not the kind of question you'll often encounter on this forum, but I think a bit of background is needed for this question to make sense and not seem like a duplicate: 2012 has been ...
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2answers
510 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?
3
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2answers
8k views

Difference between momentum and kinetic energy

From a mathematical point of view it seems to be clear what's the difference between momentum and $mv$ and kinetic energy $\frac{1}{2} m v^2$. Now my problem is the following: Suppose you want to ...
4
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0answers
156 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 ...
4
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3answers
393 views

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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1answer
1k views

Walter Lewin Lectures in HD

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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2answers
160 views

Will a one year undergraduate course of Linear Algebra be enough for QM? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Linear Algebra for Quantum Physics Can you get all/most of the knowledge you need of Linear Algebra for QM in a one year course? I know for certain my course also ...
0
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1answer
213 views

How does this problems are solved (modeling/simulation)? [closed]

Can somebody guide me in what to read and learn in order to be able to solve or understand how to solve the following types of problems: The modeling/simulation of the bullet, shot into the water ...
1
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1answer
571 views

Applications of the particle in a box and the finite square well

What are some "real" world applications of the particle in a box (PIB) and the finite square well (FSW) which are discussed in an intro quantum mechanics class? For instance, I know that the PIB can ...
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1answer
87 views

Didactics question (“teams and times”) [closed]

In sports it is commonplace to distinguish a "team" (as characterized by the players who took part in a match, playing together against another team), from the "score" (such as the final score of ...
1
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0answers
46 views

Undergraduate Math Major Wanting to Learn Physics [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Book recommendations So I'm a Junior level math major. I've seen some abstract algebra, some differential geometry, and some lie theory. I'm currently working through ...
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0answers
172 views

Describing the Higgs mechanism to non-particle physicists

I'm sure I'm not the only person with this problem at the moment. I have been asked to give a public (not quite public, scientists, just not physicists) about 'this Higgs boson thing'. I am trying to ...
1
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2answers
141 views

Physics and what it means [closed]

I got into a debate with a friend about the meaning of physics and its purpose, he is the sort who will test you and if you get it wrong it somehow gratifies his own self-reflection and self-worth. ...
5
votes
2answers
380 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 ...
3
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3answers
665 views

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 ...
5
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7answers
366 views

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? ...