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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How to set up a very simple experiment in optics?

This might come across as a very rudimentary question. My fundamentals of Optics are weak. In the optics chapter of my physics text book I saw diagrams each depicting an object on the left and a lens ...
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4answers
1k views

Doppler effect of sound waves

I am looking for interesting ways to introduce the Doppler effect to students. I want some situations in nature or every day life, where a student is possibly surprised and may ask "how could it be"? ...
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2answers
63 views

Heuristic explanation of the difference between vectors and scalars in physics

I'm trying to give a student a (physically) intuitive, heuristic explanation as to why certain quantities are vectors and others are scalars. Here is what I have come up with: Scalars are quantities ...
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1answer
106 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 ...
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3answers
688 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 ...
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2answers
105 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?
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1answer
116 views

How can I easily explain interference to a tour group?

I'm looking for unique and illustrative ways to explain the phenomenon of interference to a tour group consisting of all types of people, from elementary school kids to adults. I run into this ...
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1answer
76 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 ...
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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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277 views

A loop quantum gravity toy inspired by an Aharonov-Bohm ring

Comparing my question to Give a description of Loop Quantum Gravity your grandmother could understand what I'm looking for here is a toy for a toddler ($\approx$ a pre-QFT graduate student). I seek ...
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2answers
58 views

Computational advantages of various notations for electromagnetism [closed]

Most undergraduate electromagnetism classes and textbooks use vector notation to describe Maxwell's equations. However, there are other notations like differential geometry and geometric calculus ...
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1answer
103 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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2answers
158 views

Are standing waves in water exact sine waves?

In many physics demonstrations waves in water are used to illustrate principles of standing waves and wave propagation. After such demonstrations, classes tend to move on to basic problems ...
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1answer
215 views

How can one learn to visualize 4 dimensional spacetime?

I was watching Professor Leonard Susskind's lecture on Quantum Entanglements and he said that there are physicists and people who study physics, who 'rewire' themselves so they can visualize 4 ...
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1answer
949 views

How do I learn higher level physics? [closed]

I'm a chemical engineering student (just completed BS and am started the PhD program), but I'm very interested in particle physics as a hobby. I'm dismayed though with the sheer amount of information ...
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2answers
886 views

References for real life applications on advanced EM

For EM (freshman level physics) and advanced EM (Junior/Senior level) to help students appreciate the material, I am looking for books/websites that contain: 1-applications of electricity and ...
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1answer
685 views

Substance like quanties and conserved quantities, Karlsruhe physics course

In the Karlsruhe physics course one defines the term "substance-like" quantity: Let my cite the definition from a paper by Falk, Herrmann and Schmid: "There is a class of physical quantities whose ...
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80 views

What depth of learning must be achieved to sufficently understand advanced physics topics? [closed]

I was recently asked the following question by a friend of mine who is an undergraduate mathematics student, and I thought it would be beneficial to see what the members here have to say about it, as ...
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1answer
75 views

TQFT lectures with exercises

I'm interested in topological quantum field theory and study works of Witten and others by myself. Does anybody know where can I find any good exercises in this subject? By "good" I mean something ...
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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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161 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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0answers
166 views

Pedagogical projects in QFT for self-study purposes? [closed]

I'm reading Srednicki's QFT textbook. I'd like to do some projects that put the content learned into actual use. Is there any good project topic? I don't mind if it's already worked out some where. ...
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0answers
106 views

Demo of Classical Example of a Spin 1/2 System

I was wondering if there are demos of spin 1/2 systems that anyone knows of. Are there any classical systems that are symmetric under a rotation of $4\pi$ and not $2\pi$?
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346 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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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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3answers
27k 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 ...
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8answers
4k views

Real world examples for projectile thrown upwards or downwards

I am preparing a physics course for high school about projectile motions. If a projectile moves with initial velocity $v_0$ in the gravitational field of the earth, the equation $$ s(t) = 1/2 g t^2 ...
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2answers
243 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 ...
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4answers
578 views

Video documentaries about physics? [closed]

Does anyone know about good video documentaries about physics, possibly on YouTube? I've seen a couple of them about string theory, but I could not find many others.
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2answers
9k views

Best physics olympiad resources [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Book recommendations I am looking for good book recommendations at the level of high-school physics. I am having in mind to find out as to what are the typical books ...
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4answers
299 views

Does physics need an epsilon-delta definition for the concept of limit?

This question has been inspired by a question asked on Mathoverflow about "effectiveness of (epsilon, delta) definition". Most mathematicians have a strong opinion about the need of such definitions: ...
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2answers
801 views

What does one need to learn to become a experimental particles physicist? [closed]

I know one needs E&M, classical, quantum, statmech at the graduate level. But what more does one need? Are quantum field theory, relativistic QM, advanced math needed? or just an advanced course ...
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3answers
877 views

Mathematics for Quantum Mechanics [duplicate]

What math should I study if I want to get a basic understanding of quantum mechanics and especially to be able to use the Schrodinger's equation.
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2answers
3k views

Is it safe to study from MIT and Berkeley course series, or they contain wrong information?

After surveying most of the universities introductory physics courses, I found none is using Berkeley physics books or MIT physics books as textbooks. All are using Halliday, or Serway and the like. ...
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3answers
377 views

Are there any musical instruments which use resonance tubes with two closed ends?

Many musical instruments use resonance tubes with one closed end - all brass instruments (I think), clarinet, etc. There are also instruments where both ends are open (flute, pipes) Are there any ...
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2answers
420 views

German book on introductory quantum mechanics [closed]

I'm looking for an originally German introduction to quantum mechanics. Is there such a canonical book used in German QM undergraduate courses?
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1answer
153 views

Is there any way to read the Feynman Lectures for free? [duplicate]

The Feynman Lectures on Physics probably constitute the most famous introductory physics textbook ever written. The level of intuition it provides is hard to beat; I first started reading it in ...
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2answers
718 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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1answer
2k 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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2answers
4k views

What math is needed to understand the Schrödinger equation?

If I now see the Schrödinger equation, I just see a bunch of weird symbols, but I want to know what it actually means. So I'm taking a course of Linear Algebra and I'm planning on starting with PDE's ...
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1answer
282 views

Extra help in Optics

I am in an optics class, and we are using the text "Introduction to Optics" third edition by Pedrotti. The book is completely useless in the course. The questions in the review section of the chapter ...
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1answer
177 views

Learning physics from a strong math background? [closed]

I have a master's degree in operations research and took several PhD level math courses. In particular I'm most familiar with analysis/measure theory, probability theory, and stochastic processes, and ...
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1answer
388 views

How do I develop a deeper understanding of physics? [closed]

I'm thinking about majoring in physics, but I don't think my background is really strong at the moment. I've completed the standard first year math and physics sequence (multivariable ...
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4answers
211 views

Suggestions of a non-linear example for a small research project on numerical solution of ODEs?

I'm a first year undergrad and I'm doing a small research extension on numerically solving ODEs. I have done the main ODE course at my university, as well as physics. The second part of the project ...
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2answers
2k views

Getting started with Landau Physics course [closed]

I want to learn Physics in my own time. I am an electrical engineer, working in the same field and am tremendously interested in Physics. I have heard a lot about the 10 book series of Landau ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

Studying electrodynamics problems

Suppose an advanced undergraduate student has reached a moderate level of understanding on electrodynamics. Where should he focus on, to sharpen his problem-solving skills? Practicing integrals ...
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1answer
2k views

How to remember the Electromagnetic Spectrum?

This may sound off-topic but I am in a severe need of remembering the following shown Electromagnetic Spectrum along with the frequencies and wavelengths. So far I have looked at several mnemonics but ...
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1answer
52 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 ...
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1answer
904 views

Can someone be too late for being a great physicist? [duplicate]

I am a first year physics student, but I am 20 years old (pretty old for my country, average starting age is 18), because I started after leaving med school, which I find extremely jailed in ...