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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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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4answers
147 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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1answer
659 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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3answers
559 views

Simple home pressure experiment: how to understand the dependence on the glass opening?

Suppose you put a drinking glass under water such that it is completely filled with water. Then hold it upside down and slowly raise the drinking glass out of the water. The water in the drinking ...
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2answers
893 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
420 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 ...
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1answer
140 views

S-Matrix, String theory, Matrix mechanics and Quantum Mechanics

I'm trying to learn theoretical physics up to string theory. I know linear algebra, calculus 1+2, complex analysis. I know the basics of homology, homotopy, group theory and differential geometry. Now ...
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2answers
207 views

Applying $\nabla\times\mathbf{B} = \mu_0\mathbf{J}$ in the presence of magnetic shielding

2012-06-13 - Revised question in experimental format (This is a thought experiment for which RF experts may have an immediate answer.) I'll assume (I could be wrong) the possibility of creating a ...
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2answers
210 views

Introducing emf of a chemical cell as a hint towards quantum mechanics

Today I had a discussion with a colleague who teaches electricity and magnetism to 2nd year undergraduate physics students. He is seeking the best way to explain how is the emf generated inside a ...
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1answer
101 views

Are there examples of online physics collaboration similar to polymath for mathematicians?

When it comes to maths collaboration online, the mathematicians seem to be very well organised. A recent example is Polymath8 from Terence Tao's blog: The main objectives of the polymath8 project, ...
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1answer
2k 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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39 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 ...
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2answers
56 views

Thermographic camera - show for visiting school children

Next week a group of pupils (12-14 years old) will visit my institute. I would like to teach them about infrared radiation. Do you have any suggestion what kind of simply and impressive experiments I ...
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0answers
104 views

Mathematical Prerequisites for QFT [closed]

I am curious about which areas of mathematics one should be comfortable with before learning QFT. I am familiar with the "learn-it-as-you-go" approach often advocated in physics, but would like to ...
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0answers
39 views

Mathematical books to become a successful mathematical physicists [duplicate]

My understanding of algebraic topology and Riemannian geometry come from Nakahara's Geometry, Topology, and Physics, which I do not think is sufficient. I am first year PhD student, and I want to do ...
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0answers
55 views

Really Struggling in electronics. What to do? [closed]

This is my first post so please go easy on me. Okay. Let me introduce myself. I am a first year undergrad CS student who has to study basic electronic course for one semester. As the title says, I am ...
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2answers
72 views

Rectifying incomplete popular notions in cosmology

In looking at the answers to this question regarding light from distant galaxies ever being visible to us: Expansion of the Universe, will light from some galaxies never reach us? I came across a ...
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2answers
78 views

Looking for lists of student difficulties with electromagnetism, circuits (DC and AC)

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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1answer
91 views

Basic maths theories for good understanding of the standard model [duplicate]

I want to know what mathematical theories I should be aware of for a deep understanding of the standard particles model.
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0answers
46 views

Is rigorous functional analysis useful for theoretical physics? [duplicate]

I'm an undergraduate physics without much quantum mechanics at all under my belt. I'm studying functional analysis, and I want to know whether or not this will be useful for me in theoretical physics ...
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0answers
71 views

What phenoma have “intuitive” explanations which are completely wrong? [closed]

Some phenomena in physics defy intuition. Others have very intuitive explanations which you could explain easily to a layman. Sometimes, these intuitive explanations are simply wrong. What phenomena ...
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0answers
53 views

Prerequsites for Zee's QFT [duplicate]

What would be a good book or books for a sufficient prerequisite for Zee's book QFT in a nutshell? I have had a course in QM and relativistic QM, but I think there are some gaps that needs to be ...
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0answers
64 views

Reasons to consider the coefficient of restitution velocity independent - conditions when this does apply

In high-school mathematics textbooks a bouncing ball is often considered as an example of an exponential decay. One can easily derive this if one assumes that the coefficient of restitution is ...
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0answers
357 views

Looking for solutions to problems in Feynman and Hibbs path integral and QM text [closed]

I've just started reading Feynman and Hibbs path integrals and Quantum mechanics after a decade hiatus from my undergraduate math degree (including a few semesters of physics for engineers). It would ...
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0answers
63 views

Quantum Field Theory and Lie Theory [duplicate]

I am reading Vol.1 of "The Quantum Theory Of Fields" by S. Weinberg. However I have come to a halt when connected Lie groups were introduced. I have solid knowledge in elementary group theory and ...
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0answers
44 views

Layman explanation and demonstration of positive lightning

Inspired by the thunderstorm overhead, and after reading the question and answers Voltage and current of positive lightning - what is an effective means to explain this phenomenon to a layman? Also, ...
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154 views

Problem with (grad school) physics education? [closed]

(Just to anticipate, having looked at other closed threads about physics education, I don't think this question should be too opinion based or broad.) Since being in a lab now for a couple years, ...
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0answers
94 views

Differential Equations - Waves (Physics self-study suggestions) [closed]

I apologize ahead of time, in case this post is not allowed. After taking a few courses at a community college, I've taken the fall 2013 semester off (I was accepted into a university for the spring ...
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0answers
185 views

simple MHD simulation code for (self) education and play with [closed]

I would like some super simple computational code for solving magnetohydrodynamics problems. High accuracy nor performance is not my concern. I wan't it just to visually explore qualitative behavior ...
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0answers
199 views

What's the most efficient way to study physics? [duplicate]

I'm CS major trying to learn QFT on my own . I'm trying to make an efficient study plan .The problem is that I've never read any textbook from cover to cover and solved all the problems .What of the ...
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0answers
221 views

Is there any reason to major in physics if you're certain you will never do a Ph.D? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What sort of jobs do physics graduates with B.Sc/M.Sc get? I've been told over and over again..."I would not major in physics unless you are looking to get a Ph.D." What ...
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0answers
318 views

Examples of incorrect physics education [closed]

Can you give me examples where the standard physics curriculum in high school or college is inaccurate? When did you realize you had been fed lies?
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6answers
6k 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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3answers
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Uses of Vectors In Real Life

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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5answers
365 views

Theoretical physics and education: Does it really matter a great deal about what happens inside a black hole, or about Hawking radiation? [closed]

I stumbled across this article http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2010/12/21/science-faction-is-theoretical-physics-becoming-softer-than-anthropology/ It got me thinking. Why do we ...
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5answers
864 views

What is the direction of a point vector. A vector with magnitude 0? [closed]

A simple question : Can a point on a piece of paper represent a vector ? Can i say that a point "B" ( magnitude =0, because it's a point) , is having direction towards +x axis ? Thanks
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2answers
208 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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2answers
163 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. ...
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3answers
704 views

Video or animation for continuity equation in water pipes

I am looking for an animation or even better a video with a real experiment, which shows that at constant flow rate the speed of water in a pipe is higher at narrower parts of a pipe. I googled ...
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3answers
108 views

Would love to learn quantum physics [duplicate]

I would love to learn quantum physics and am extremely keen on it. Lets get to points. I was extremely weak at math and physics while I was in school, but I guess it's just the way things were ...
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1answer
1k 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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1answer
277 views

Would someone who is only interested in string theory benefit from working out the problems in Jackson electrodynamics?

This is a soft question. I'm not sure if it is appropriate for this site. Would someone who is only interested in string theory benefit from working out the problems in Jackson electrodynamics? I ...
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2answers
5k 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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1answer
125 views

Chemistry from a physical perspective [duplicate]

I'm currently learning chemistry for the first time, and loving it. I have a reasonably good physics and maths background and it's great to see things like spherical harmonics in quantum mechanics ...
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2answers
237 views

How much physics a mathematician needs to know to study GR? [duplicate]

I'm intending to study General Relativity on my own. The thing is, my physics background is not very strong. I know classical mechanics and I know some electromagnetism. I'm familiar with Gauss' law, ...
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2answers
983 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
90 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
467 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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2answers
168 views

Is quantum perturbation theory taught in college?

Is perturbation theory usually taught in undergraduate physics, and how much of it is taught in quantum mechanics courses? Also, how much of quantum field theory would be taught in undergraduate ...
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2answers
6k views

Comparing scales of atomic level objects to scales of everyday size objects

I am trying to come up with everyday size objects comparisions of atomic scales items, e.g. if a proton probability cloud was of size basketball how far would the next atoms to it be? reason being is ...