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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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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1answer
1k views

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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1answer
163 views

Power in hydraulic analogy

In hydraulic analogy one compares electrical circuits with water circuits. For the electric case the formula $P = U \cdot I$ for the electric power holds. The analogous formula for water flow would ...
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5answers
2k views

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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2answers
256 views

Is electronics a core topic in physics? [closed]

I thought electronics is mainly discussed in engineering majors. But in my university Electronics and Digital Electronics is also compulsory for physics majors.I searched other's syllabus, but I ...
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0answers
151 views

Problems related to Green's function? [closed]

My teacher told me to do a research studying some physics problems that has connection with Green's function on solving differential equations (with programmed numerical solutions) in my final year ...
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2answers
141 views

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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1answer
396 views

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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2answers
984 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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2answers
227 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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5answers
366 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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4answers
1k views

What is the typical career path to become a professional Astronomer? [closed]

Here is a typical question which I have been asked many times while giving public lectures in various places. While I know one of the paths like Diploma, Masters and PhD but sometimes this is not so ...
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0answers
59 views

Studying QM without math and physics background [duplicate]

I rode all posted answers about this topic but i need to ask you another information. I have done a semester course called "Principle of Physics" (i am studying Biotechnology) and one called ...
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3answers
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Should linear algebra and vector calculus from traditional courses be replaced with `geometric algebra`? [closed]

geometric algebra gives geometric meaning to linear algebra and much more. it can provide a coordinate free geometric interpretation of spaces. those who learn of ...
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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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0answers
58 views

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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0answers
71 views

Geometry for Physics [duplicate]

I am currently a high school student interested in a research career in physics. I have self taught myself single variable calculus and elementary physics upto the level of IPHO . And I am comfortable ...
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1answer
3k views

Goldstein's Classical Mechanics exercises solutions [duplicate]

Does anyone know where I can find some (good) solution of Goldstein's book Classical Mechanics?
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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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0answers
51 views

Book suggestion : geometric approach to electromagnetism [duplicate]

I´m looking for a book on electromagnetism that is introducing the topic from a geometric point of view, focusing more on the theoretical structure than on the application.
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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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2answers
707 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 ...
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1answer
98 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
682 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 ...
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1answer
198 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
4k 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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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
468 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
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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0answers
333 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 ...
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1answer
428 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
24k 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
884 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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4answers
5k 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
1k 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
12k 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
354 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
215 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
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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1answer
448 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 / ...
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1answer
400 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... ...
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1answer
71 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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0answers
304 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
502 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
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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
1k 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
61 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 ...
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1answer
546 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 ...
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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 ...