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 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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24 views

Learning Physics [duplicate]

What's the best way to start learning Physics from home? I haven't touched it since my high school course. I know of Coursera and youtube videos? Are there any other sources that anyone can recommend? ...
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4answers
615 views

Why are we still teaching Newtonian physics if it's “false”? [duplicate]

Why are we teaching an outdated theory when the math in general relativity isn't that hard? I really don't see a reason why we should teach a highly oversimplified theory in our schools. For me, it's ...
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1answer
121 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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4answers
883 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
142 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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1answer
122 views

Textbook for relativity: modern version of Bondi's Relativity and Common Sense?

I am looking for a textbook on relativity for school children. A background in simple vector based mechanics could be assumed. Primarily it needs to be readable at high school English reading level ...
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3answers
874 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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1answer
54 views

Torque on shaft

Consider a generator which supply power using a shaft to a turbine. The torque applied on shaft by generator is $T$. As the shaft has constant angular velocity the turbine should also be applying ...
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2answers
108 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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2answers
138 views

Are Mathematics the language of the universe? [closed]

I am a high school student and next year i am going to be a physics major, so this year i put all my effort on physics and mathematics, since it a great tool for physicists. But now i wonder, in ...
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3answers
405 views

Testing my understanding of QM - The Double Slit Experiment without the slit

First off, sorry to throw in another question from someone who hasn't studied the maths. I'd like to see if I have a correct (if very basic and non-mathematical) understanding of the wave and ...
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1answer
135 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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3answers
2k views

How accurately can I expect to measure the gravitational constant with a club of college students?

I am a math instructor with almost no experimental physics background, but I run a math and engineering club that is interested in doing some experiments. I have read up a bit and see some obvious ...
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0answers
89 views

What is the true fundamental 'stuff' of physics? [closed]

It seems to me that most if not all of the publications and the institutional education of physics 'jump in' and start describing detailed phenomena without spending too much time describing and ...
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1answer
207 views

What kind of math is used in QFT? [duplicate]

What branch(es) of math are used in Quantum Field Theory? Or the question, by way of analogy: Tensor Calculus is to General Relativity as What is to Quantum Field Theory?
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2answers
103 views

Is there a (cheap) optical resonance demonstration using visible light?

I'm looking for a impressive, inexpensive lecture demonstration of optical standing wave resonance. Preferably visible light. Can anyone suggest such a demo?
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0answers
46 views

Where can I find a structured presentation of the equations of physics? [duplicate]

I recently realized how odd it is that studying physics has never been able to hold my interest despite how interesting I find physics. I came to the conclusion that it is because I've always felt ...
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3answers
4k views

How deep can my knowledge of particle physics go without the maths?

By no means do I have the mathematical background to understand most of the math used in elementary particle physics. My current knowledge is of all the elementary particles and how they interact ...
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2answers
214 views

How to find optical toy models of entangled quantum mechanical systems?

I recently read Arnold Neumaier's lectures on uncovering classical aspects of quantum mechanics: Classical and quantum field aspects of light Optical models for quantum mechanics I can't find the ...
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1answer
59 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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0answers
345 views

Using a role-play to teach ohm's law

An education research project: can a role-play be used to help understand Ohm's Law? I need to have this analogy checked for scientific validity. A group of 25 primary children will participate, with ...
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1answer
58 views

Simple question [closed]

How much of this can you understand and which videos or simplified ways would you suggest for me to understand more? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rjbtsX7twc I understood about... 3%... I ...
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9answers
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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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3answers
548 views

Motivation for Potentials

This is a hypothetical question about "pedagogy". Let's say I am trying to take someone who has just a very small amount of knowledge about Newtonian mechanics and convince them that the Lagrangian ...
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15answers
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How do I explain to a six year old why people on the other side of the Earth don't fall off? [closed]

Today a friend's six year old sister asked me the question "why don't people on the other side of the earth fall off?". I tried to explain that the Earth is a huge sphere and there's a special force ...
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14answers
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Why quantum mechanics?

Imagine you're teaching a first course on quantum mechanics in which your students are well-versed in classical mechanics, but have never seen any quantum before. How would you motivate the subject ...
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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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0answers
107 views

Learning Roadmap to Mathematical Physics [duplicate]

Currently, I am a graduate student specializing in algebraic geometry. On the other hand, I have also become extremely interested in the mathematical physics. However, I am not sure what steps I ...
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1answer
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1answer
115 views

Physics First: Where is Science Education Today?

Leon Lederman, a Nobel Prize winner in Physics and former director of Fermilab was a champion in 'Physics First', a principle in science education proposing Physics as the first course in science ...
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8answers
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Explaining to a five year old - why don't bubbles run like water

My five-year old daughter was asking about astronauts the other day and why they float in space. After me showing her a few bits on the kids section on the NASA web site I started explaining about the ...
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1answer
368 views

Physics research topic for Undergraduate students [closed]

Can You tell me some research topics for 1st year undergraduate students? I am not getting how to make a research paper?
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3answers
338 views

Why is fundamental physics taught in terms of particles?

According to this paper, there can be no relativistic quantum theory of localizeable particles ("relativity plus quantum mechanics exclusively requires a field ontology"). Sean Caroll has also argued ...
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1answer
62 views

Motivating the importance of energy [closed]

I'm working on a project right now and part of the introduction is about energy, and I'm trying to introduce the notion of energy in an unconventional way. Right now, I am looking for examples of ...
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2answers
75 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
360 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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38 views

Resources on Solar Neutrino Physics

For a project I'm doing for an introductory Astrophysics course, I'm trying to understand the nuances of solar neutrino physics. However, most of what is said while explaining neutrino oscillations ...
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3answers
2k views

Study Quantum Physics

I'm an aspiring physicist who wants to self study some Quantum Physics. My thirst for knowledge is unquenchable and I can not wait 2 more years until I get my first quantum physics class in ...
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2answers
452 views

Does one really need classical physics in order to understand quantum physics? [closed]

I want to start studying quantum mechanics, and then move to quantum field theory. I have a strong mathematical background, and I think this aspect of quantum physics won't be a problem to me. Though, ...
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0answers
54 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
108 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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0answers
49 views

Problem books like I.E. Irodov for advanced physics [duplicate]

I really enjoyed doing problems from Irodov while learning introductory physics. But I am not able to find a book like that for Graduate level physics. Can you suggest me a book which has good (and ...
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5answers
715 views

Computer game with quantum optics/ information

Is there a computer game using principles of quantum optics or quantum information? By game I don't mean just a simulation or an interactive course, but something that can be played in an enjoyable ...
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0answers
42 views

Im a high school finisher and I want to understand Physics theories [duplicate]

I have finished my A Levels (UK high school exam) , and I have studied Further Mathematics, Mathematics, and Physics in high school. I am really interested in learning about theories of Einstein, ...
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2answers
78 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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4answers
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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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0answers
69 views

Study Basic Quantum Mechanics [duplicate]

What is the appropriate mathematical background someone must attain in order to enroll in a quantum physics course for beginners?
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33 views

Why do physical bodies in the universe follow the law of physics ( or any rule/pattern ) ? [duplicate]

Why do physical bodies in universe are bound to follow a rule ( eg. laws of physics ) ? Is their any imaginary condition possible, where they stop following any rule. And everything becomes random ? ( ...
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2answers
170 views

Length contraction and simultaneous length measurements

I am just working through an argument from Halliday Resnick to derive the Lorentz contraction (see quote below). Some paragraphs before this, the authors note that: If the rod is moving, ...