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 is introductory physics not taught in a more “axiomatic” way?

I am engineer who was taught the standard four semester, two-year physics courses from Halliday and Resnick's book. However, after reading the insightful answers here (e.g. Ron Maimon's awesome ...
1
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1answer
336 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 ...
3
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4answers
947 views

Advantage of doing research in theoretical high energy over other fields?

I am undecided about the field I want to do my PhD in, in graduate school. I am asking because the applications that I am filling ask me to write the intended field of study. I found the people who ...
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5answers
1k views

Physics book for 15 year old boy [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: List of good classical physics books my name is Bruno Alano. As stated in the title, I'm 15 years old (I'll do 16 on 7 of Feb) and much love Computer Science (C, C++), ...
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3answers
258 views

Learning physics conceptually for a layman [closed]

Can anyone suggest a video or book that will allow the layman to grasp physics concepts in a conceptual manner?
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3answers
1k views

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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1answer
71 views

To what extent `should` raw `data` from `publicly funded` research be made `available for download` `?` [closed]

When taxpayers pay money for expensive research (irrespective of the partition-function ...
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1answer
211 views

How can I turn a pinewood derby project into a physics lesson?

My 8yo son is in the Cub Scouts. He has a pinewood derby coming up next month and I would like to take this project and turn it into a fun, physics lesson for him. For those not familiar, a ...
4
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9answers
23k 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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2answers
306 views

What are some good international, English language physics grad programs? [closed]

I am looking into physics PhD programs and I would love to take the opportunity to live abroad (again). I know there are some well-known, technical, international universities like IIT in India and ...
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0answers
227 views

Any undergrad exercises about nuclear bomb design? [closed]

Are there any handy exercises about nuclear weapon design that are suitable for advanced undergrads in a nuclear physics or similar level physics course? I'm most curious about questions that ...
11
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3answers
700 views

Mathematical Physics Book Recommendation [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Best books for mathematical background? I want to learn contemporary mathematical physics, so that, for example, I can read Witten's latest paper without checking other ...
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8answers
2k views

Real world examples for projectile thrown upwards or downwards

I am preparing a physics course for high school about projectile motions. If a projectile moves with initial velocity $v_0$ in the gravitational field of the earth, the equation $$ s(t) = 1/2 g t^2 ...
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1answer
327 views

Some questions about the logics of the principles of independence of motion and composition of motion

In high-school level textbooks* one encounters often the principles of independence of motion and that of composition (or superpositions) of motions. In this context this is used as "independence of ...
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3answers
314 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 ...
0
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2answers
1k views

Is PHD in Theoretical Physics(Quantum Mechanics) on my own possible? [closed]

Do you think it is possible to earn a PHD degree in Theoretical Physics on your own? I have a M. Sc. in Applied Computer Science but I really want to go in the direction of Physics. Is there a way one ...
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4answers
867 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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3answers
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What is the math knowledge necessary for starting Quantum Mechanics?

Could someone experienced in the field tell me what the minimal math knowledge one must obtain in order to grasp the introductory Quantum Mechanics book/course? I do have math knowledge but I must ...
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7answers
815 views

For a theoretical (not mathematical) physicist, is there a need to learn pure mathematics?

For a theoretical physicist (not a mathematical physicist), is there a need to learn pure mathematics ?
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4answers
325 views

Applications of recoil principle in classical physics

Are there any interesting, important or (for the non physicist) astonishing examples where the recoil principle (as special case of conservation of linear momentum) is applied beside rockets and guns? ...
4
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5answers
295 views

Usefullness of an only qualitative understanding of momentum?

A few days ago I had a discussion with a friend who wants to become a physics teacher (in Germany). He told me that from a pedagogical/didactial point of view it seems to be a good idea to introduce ...
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3answers
3k views

Does conservation of momentum really imply Newton's third law?

I often heard that conservation of momentum is nothing else than Newton's third law. Ok, If you have only two interacting particles in the universe, this seems to be quite obvious. However if you ...
5
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2answers
10k views

Difference between momentum and kinetic energy

From a mathematical point of view it seems to be clear what's the difference between momentum and $mv$ and kinetic energy $\frac{1}{2} m v^2$. Now my problem is the following: Suppose you want to ...
5
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5answers
398 views

Which subjects in physics should I choose if I want to help tackling today's energy and environment related problems? [closed]

I was wondering what subjects a freshman in mathematics ought to choose in the future if s/he wanted to help working on energy and environment-related issues we are currently facing, and will very ...
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0answers
100 views

should I take notes in class [closed]

I'm taking a graduate physics class. I usually sit at the front and madly scribble down everything the teacher writes.... But the professor also publishes his notes on the internet. I find it ...
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2answers
1k views

Recommendations for time-line and road map in graduate school towards specializing in Maldacena's conjecture

This question was asked on Theoretical Physics Stackexchange and was grossly misread and closed. I am again posting the question here hoping to get some valuable insights. Also some people were ...
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2answers
349 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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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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1answer
216 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 ...
5
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2answers
391 views

Is mid-water bouyancy a classic example of a balanced but unstable system?

I came to this thought experiment as I was pondering good teaching examples of stable and unstable systems. It occurred to me that stable systems are really quite abundant. For a shoot-from-the-hip ...
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4answers
324 views

How are we able to view an object in a room with bulb..?

This is a very basic question on optics. How are we able to view an object kept in a room with a bulb? From what I understand, light rays from bulb will hit the object and some colour will be ...
3
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1answer
493 views

How to set up a very simple experiment in optics?

This might come across as a very rudimentary question. My fundamentals of Optics are weak. In the optics chapter of my physics text book I saw diagrams each depicting an object on the left and a lens ...
4
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2answers
211 views

Physics talk with an emphasis on Mathematics [closed]

I have to give a 10 minute physics talk that have to involve a fair bit of mathematics -- i.e. not just qualitative/handwaving material to some undergrads. I have wasted the last 3 hours looking for ...
3
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1answer
244 views

A loop quantum gravity toy inspired by an Aharonov-Bohm ring

Comparing my question to Give a description of Loop Quantum Gravity your grandmother could understand what I'm looking for here is a toy for a toddler ($\approx$ a pre-QFT graduate student). I seek ...
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7answers
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What does it take to understand Maxwell's equations?

Assume I want to learn math and physics enough to reach a level where I understand Maxwell's equations (The terms and reasoning in the equations I.e. why they "work"). What would I have to learn in ...
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8answers
3k views

How does the earth move?

My son who is 5 years old is asking me a question about how the earth moves around the sun. What answer should I give him?
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3answers
15k views

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 ...
3
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1answer
69 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
108 views

Knowledge needed to study and understand general and special relativity theory [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the prerequisites to studying general relativity? I'am 27 now and i have a burning desire to study math and physics from the ground up and I strongly prefer ...
18
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8answers
11k 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 ...
3
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2answers
240 views

Quantum Fluctuations as a model for the Big Bang?

I have quite often heard (and even used) the idea that quantum fluctuations are a way to explain the whole "something from nothing" intuitive leap. I am about to give a talk at a local school on ...
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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 ...
3
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2answers
689 views

References for real life applications on advanced EM

For EM (freshman level physics) and advanced EM (Junior/Senior level) to help students appreciate the material, I am looking for books/websites that contain: 1-applications of electricity and ...
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2answers
590 views

Prerequisites to start the study of noncommutative geometry in physics

What are prerequisites (in mathematics and physics), that one should know about for getting into use of ideas from noncommutative geometry in physics?
34
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2answers
11k views

Lev Landau's “Theoretical Minimum”

The great russian physicist Lev Landau developed a famous entry exam to test his students. This "Theoretical Minimum" contained everything he considered elementary for a young theoretical physicist. ...
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7answers
376 views

Embrace Physics

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what is a good topic for a short talk on theoretical physics to a bunch of Math and Physics undergrads that might make them "embrace" theoretical physics? ...
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2answers
207 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 ...
4
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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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10answers
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What is a field, really?

There was a reason why I constantly failed physics at school and university, and that reason was, apart from the fact I was immensely lazy, that I mentally refused to "believe" more advanced stuff ...
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4answers
366 views

'Getting in' to research physics?

I'm going to be choosing a university course soon, and I want to go into a branch of physics. A dream job for me would be to work in research, however, I do realise that this isn't for everyone and is ...