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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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
922 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
110 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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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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295 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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2answers
889 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
98 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
640 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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428 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
535 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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431 views

What are the mathematical prerequisites to understand this paper? [closed]

What are the mathematical prerequisites to understand this paper? Blumenhagen et al. Four-dimensional String Compactifications with D-Branes, Orientifolds and Fluxes. Phys. Rept. 445 no. 1-6, pp. ...
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279 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
228 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
620 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
566 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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338 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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0answers
201 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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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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2answers
823 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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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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2k views

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? [closed]

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
63 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
818 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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4answers
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Help an aspiring physicists what to self-study [closed]

This is probably not the kind of question you'll often encounter on this forum, but I think a bit of background is needed for this question to make sense and not seem like a duplicate: 2012 has been ...
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346 views

Dirac action and conventions

I have a (possibly) fundamental question, which is driving me crazy. Notation When considering the Dirac action (say reading Peskin's book), one have $\int ...
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203 views

Will a one year undergraduate course of Linear Algebra be enough for QM? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Linear Algebra for Quantum Physics Can you get all/most of the knowledge you need of Linear Algebra for QM in a one year course? I know for certain my course also ...
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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
266 views

How does this problems are solved (modeling/simulation)? [closed]

Can somebody guide me in what to read and learn in order to be able to solve or understand how to solve the following types of problems: The modeling/simulation of the bullet, shot into the water ...
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5answers
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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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6answers
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Linear Algebra for Quantum Physics

A week ago I asked people on this forum what mathematical background was needed for understanding Quantum Physics, and most of you mentioned Linear Algebra, so I decided to conduct a self-study of ...
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4answers
1k 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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3answers
764 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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101 views

Didactics question (“teams and times”) [closed]

In sports it is commonplace to distinguish a "team" (as characterized by the players who took part in a match, playing together against another team), from the "score" (such as the final score of ...
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2answers
4k views

Walter Lewin Lectures in HD [closed]

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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61 views

Undergraduate Math Major Wanting to Learn Physics [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Book recommendations So I'm a Junior level math major. I've seen some abstract algebra, some differential geometry, and some lie theory. I'm currently working through ...
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5answers
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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
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Applications of the particle in a box and the finite square well

What are some "real" world applications of the particle in a box (PIB) and the finite square well (FSW) which are discussed in an intro quantum mechanics class? For instance, I know that the PIB can ...
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0answers
187 views

Describing the Higgs mechanism to non-particle physicists

I'm sure I'm not the only person with this problem at the moment. I have been asked to give a public (not quite public, scientists, just not physicists) about 'this Higgs boson thing'. I am trying to ...
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2answers
186 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
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What should a physics undergrad aspiring to be a string theorist learn before grad school?

The question I guess is pretty clear. I am a physics undergrad wishing to pursue research in quantum gravity(string theory?). What are the subjects I should learn other than the usual compulsory ...
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2answers
365 views

How to learn celestial mechanics?

I'm a PhD student in math and am really excited about celestial mechanics. I was wondering if anyone could give me a roadmap for learning this subject. The amount of information about it on the ...
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1answer
882 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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1answer
332 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
4k views

How to choose a suitable topic for PhD in Physics? [closed]

After completion of graduate courses when a student is supposed to start real research in Physics, (to be more specific, suppose in high energy physics), how does one select the problem to work on? ...
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3answers
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Tips on teaching Dimensional Analysis? [closed]

What's a good way to explain dimensional analysis to a student? Here's a simple question which this method would be useful: Let's say a truck is moving with a speed of 18 m/s to a new speed of 13 ...
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1answer
150 views

What is the quantity in physics that is advanced from speed? [closed]

What is the quantity in physics that is advance from speed? i know one is velocity, one is speed, one is acceleration.
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1answer
110 views

undergrduate physics courses in American colleges [closed]

I am just curious as a non-US person: how does undergraduate physics course progress in U.S. colleges? Do they go right into classical mechanics books, or do they teach introductory courses first, ...
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175 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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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. ...