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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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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336 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
894 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
953 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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4k 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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1answer
184 views

How much QFT do I need to get started on String Theory? [closed]

I want to get started learning String Theory (most likely from David Tong's lecture notes) and I would like to know which topics I need to know from QFT. In particular, if I were to follow Peskin, ...
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3answers
471 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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1answer
790 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
161 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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766 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
5k 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
297 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
226 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
514 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 calculus/...
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4answers
236 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
2k 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 and/...
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3answers
106 views

Flat-Earthers Claim: Crepuscular Rays $\implies$ the Sun is Close [closed]

I have been trying for a couple of days to come up with a nice illustration of why crepuscular rays are not suggesting that the sun must be close to the earth, as flat-earthers claim. I made the ...
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1answer
83 views

What is really sought when we purpose Einstein's postulates in Special Relativity?

Special Relativity can be motivated by looking at Maxwell's Electrodynamics and noticing that there is some kind of inconsistency between it and Newtonian Mechanics. Indeed, as Einstein pointed out on ...
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1answer
212 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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1answer
60 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
1k 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
190 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
249 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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3answers
685 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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Electrodynamics textbooks that emphasize applications

Please recommend undergraduate-level textbooks on electrodynamics which emphasize practical applications and real life examples. Please describe the book's level and contents and its intended audience ...
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246 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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2answers
329 views

Mathematics needed for string theory [duplicate]

I'm interested in cutting edge string theory studied by research physicist. I'm wonder what mathematics is needed and how far am I in terms of mathematics background needed and how much more ...
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2answers
329 views

Recommendation on books with problems for general relativity?

I am reading Sean Carroll's book on GR and have read the first two chapters, which are on manifolds and differential geometry. However, there are only 12 problems for both chapters. In fact, there ...
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1answer
88 views

Advice on Major Selection [closed]

I need a bit of an advice in deciding my major. My university allows only one major (along with minors) and I'm having a little bit of trouble in deciding what to do. Here's the thing. I want to go ...
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2answers
711 views

Math required for learning Lagrangian mechanics [duplicate]

How much knowledge of maths is required for learning Lagrangian mechanics? Also from where can I learn this math?
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1answer
150 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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46 views

Experiment using a laser beam [on hold]

I need to come up with an experiment to conduct for my physics class. So far, I'm stuck at the use of lasers. What plausible experiments can be done using lasers that haven't been done before, and ...
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44 views

What is abbe's rule in optics?

I have read wikipedia but can't really understand what they mean to say. The usual explanations are given in terms of Fourier optics, which I don't yet have the background for. Can anyone explain it ...
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0answers
43 views

Seeking masters degree advice [closed]

I am graduating this semester with a bachelors in physics. My goal is to do theory in my graduate level course work. The problem I am in now is that I missed the deadline to take the physics GRE (I'm ...
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47 views

How to teach/learn physics - reference request

I remember reading a paper (or a transcript of a talk) which describes the process of learning/teaching physics as a landing on a planet. In order to find a suitable place to land, you need to orbit ...
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Are there any video lectures that teach Weinberg's QFT books? [duplicate]

I am reading Weinberg's QFT books. I wonder is there any course can help me with it.
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52 views

What are the essential pure mathematics branches applied in theoretical high energy physics [closed]

I am a physics graduate student.I am interested in theoretical high energy physics.Very often people say that to be a good theoretical physicist you need to know mathematics very well.Now although we ...
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27 views

Ideas for experiments on the Beamline for Schools at CERN? [closed]

I'm thinking of participating in CERN's Beamline for schools competition. To those who do not know, they offer a batch from a school to conduct their own experiment on a small scale particle ...
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65 views

Need A Collection Textbooks To Use As Stepping Stones to QFT [duplicate]

So, I am a medical physics student with a long term goal of learning QFT. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to take courses that would build up to QFT. I have taken the time to search for many ...
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0answers
47 views

Is the finite element method easily extrapolable to new disciplines? [closed]

I am a structural engineer with a good solid mechanics background. I am reasonably familiar with finite element methods as applied to linear/nonlinear solids and structures, I would like to know how ...
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0answers
108 views

Undergrad in QFT/GR looking to do string theory Ph.D [closed]

I am currently a third year undergrad in physics who is currently taking QFT and GR. I took these classes just out of pure interest in the subjects but I find that my mind is being blown almost every ...
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89 views

QFT background needed for AdS/CFT integrability [closed]

Apologies if this type of question isn't permitted. I'm very interested in integrability in the context of AdS/CFT. I'm starting my Masters soon in a very GATIS-involved institute and would like to ...
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109 views

As an older student, is it better to finish my degree or go straight into studying physics now? [closed]

I'm a 23 year old going through a very early mid-life crisis, and considering a career change to physics. I would be very greatful for any advice :) I'm currently studying medicine, but I've realized ...
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0answers
55 views

Supergravity prerequisites for branes in string theory [duplicate]

I have a one-semester background in string theory (bosonic string theory, the NSR string, conformal field theory), but I have not taken any full length courses on supersymmetry and supergravity. I'm ...
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67 views

explaining qubits to beginning CS students

&I have 15 minutes as a guest lecturer to explain the notion of quantum computing to CS students in a Theory of Computation class. There is a lot of information on the web, e.g., http://...
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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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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 ...