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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Are there computerized ontologies for Relativity and (Experimental) Physics? How to contribute?

As machines and automation can generally assist humanity in physical activities, and even exceed mere human capabilities, so, increasingly, also in tasks of reasoning. A basic component of the latter ...
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26 views

Suggestions for Thesis on possible areas of Biophysics [on hold]

I am currently doing my Masters in Physics, and I am planning to start my Thesis this summer on any one areas of Biophysics which I found quite broad to look for and I am struggling to choose any one ...
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1answer
2k views

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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3answers
89 views

Lagrangian/Hamiltonian mechanics at high school?

Has anyone developed an approach to teaching mechanics based on Lagrangian/Hamiltonian mechanics from the ground up. I mean from high school on up. This is akin to explicitly not talking about ...
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2answers
164 views

Looking for lists of student difficulties with electromagnetism, circuits (DC and AC)

I'm trying to help with an Instructor's Guide for an introductory calc-based physics text, and it would really help if I could locate some lists of typical student difficulties with topics like ... ...
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7answers
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What is the simplest way to prove that Earth orbits the Sun?

Assume you're talking to someone ignorant of the basic facts of astronomy. How would you prove to them that Earth orbits the Sun? Similarly, how would you prove to them that the Moon orbits Earth? ...
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3answers
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Explanation of Lorentz-Force

In high-school level books (for example the german standard text: "Dorn-Bader") I have often seen an explanation of the Lorentz force as on the following picture: The textbooks consider the ...
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14answers
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Best books for mathematical background?

What are the best textbooks to read for the mathematical background you need for modern physics, such as, string theory? Some subjects off the top of my head that probably need covering: ...
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Why is capacitance taught instead of elastance? [closed]

I am an AP physics C student and last year I took physics B (now called 1 & 2). We learned about resistors first, then capacitors which everyone failed because it was a bit rushed. Anyway, now ...
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What is the next step in math education after taking the last undergrad math course? [closed]

Currently I successfully completed the 3rd semester of my B.Sc. in Physics. Since the upcoming summer semester is starting soon and I'm going to have some spare time I can spend, I want to expand and ...
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1answer
102 views

What kind of free energy do we use for a superconductor in a magnetic field?

My reasoning is as follows (using Gaussian units): Start from the second law: $$dU=TdS+dW,$$ where $dW$ is the work done by the magnetic field. To derive $dW$, we consider a solenoid with current ...
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2answers
94 views

Help with high school physics [duplicate]

I am studying high school physics and it seems i have memorize the equation and use it mechanically in doing question and memorize lots of physical phenomena.I know a lot of physical phenomena can be ...
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10answers
5k views

Classic home experiments for an 8-year-old child

My 8-year-old daughter's school report says that she's good at understanding the basic science she's doing, but she's having trouble seeing how experimental results lead to conclusions. Specifically, ...
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1answer
50 views

Is this crystal defect an example of dislocation or a vacancy

It looks to me that a regular hexagonal pattern formed by the Ga atoms is interrupted in the middle of the crystal. Is this a void (or vacancy...), dislocation or another type of defect? Plus what ...
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0answers
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Searching for a good summer opportunity [closed]

Where's a good place in Europe that offers a summer research job for interested students in Theoretical physics? For example, there is CERN that gives undergraduate students the chance to enroll for ...
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0answers
46 views

Topic Suggestions - Kaehler-Einstein metrics in physics [closed]

I am hoping to get some topic suggestions for a presentation I have to give in a couple of weeks. The course the presentation is for is called Kahler-Einstein metrics. I would really like the ...
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3answers
690 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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1answer
52 views

Requirements prior to Quantum Mechanics [duplicate]

What are the requirements in physics and mathematics that somebody must have in order to start learning Quantum Mechanics by himself?
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2answers
85 views

Are standing waves in water exact sine waves?

In many physics demonstrations waves in water are used to illustrate principles of standing waves and wave propagation. After such demonstrations, classes tend to move on to basic problems ...
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48 views

Classical Mechanics Help [duplicate]

I'm an undergraduate student majoring in physics. I don't know why but classical mechanics is giving me a lot of problems and I can't seem to grasp the concepts at all. So far we've been doing ...
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4answers
221 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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What level of mathematics would I need to understand the physics of a black hole? [duplicate]

I recently went to go see Interstellar and was awed by the visualizations of the wormhole and the black hole Gargantua. I read that noted physicist Kip Thorne was a consulting producer on the film. I ...
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2answers
110 views

An attempt to understand Quantum mechanics [closed]

Can I learn quantum mechanics just by knowing basic calculus and algebra? I know basic differential calculus and integral calculus. I am willing to study to understand what quantum mechanics means. ...
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1answer
22 views

does postive pole be a magnet to -e so that it would stick to it? [closed]

I've been wondering in case -e electrons are attrcted to postive pole ?! Does this mean like it acts as a magnet and my question is if a beam of electrons is passing does it stops when it meets an ...
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149 views

What concepts could I teach to children in a game about quantum-mechanics? [closed]

I think that games can also be used to teach things to young people or childs, different than for example a book and could be more "direct" than teaching them all the math background, I would like to ...
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0answers
51 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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1answer
191 views

How to remember the Electromagnetic Spectrum?

This may sound off-topic but I am in a severe need of remembering the following shown Electromagnetic Spectrum along with the frequencies and wavelengths. So far I have looked at several mnemonics but ...
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0answers
40 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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2answers
100 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
51 views

Learning Undergrad Physics [duplicate]

I am an undergrad physics student who has finished the first year curriculum: very basic mechanics and thermal physics; basic linear algebra; basic multivariable calculus and differential equations; ...
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4answers
97 views

Possibility of making an experiment in a classroom to simulate DNA diffraction

I am a TA in a structural chemistry class. The professor want me to show students how Watson and Crick determined the structure of DNA from X-ray diffraction results of DNA crystals. The professor ...
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35 views

Gedankenexperiment to derive the Robertson uncertainty relation without confusing it with the obersver effect

In the last years there seemed to be much activity on the meaning Heisenberg's uncertainty relation. The main point of the discussion was Heisenbergs noise-disturbance-relation (see: ...
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0answers
55 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., ...
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0answers
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Web utility for viewing $x$-$t$, $v$-$t$, and $a$-$t$ graphs

I'm wondering if there exists any utility on the web which displays $x$-$t$, $v$-$t$, and $a$-$t$ graphs for, say, a number of well considered example animations. The utility should allow pausing, ...
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0answers
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What's the best GR book for recreational study? [closed]

I currently have four books. Hartle Schutz Cheng Carroll (lecture notes) Which one is best for me to read easily? (especially, for foreigners) Or Do you guys can give good recommendations that ...
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8answers
5k 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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2answers
103 views

Study material for quantum mechanics [duplicate]

I want to study quantum mechanics. But I don't know what and which topics of mathematics are required. I know a bit of differential calculus. But what else is needed to study a bit advanced quantum ...
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37 views

Intuitive model to show difference between photon energy and light intensity?

What would be a good (intuitive, easily comprehensible) model to explain the quantum nature of light insofar as there is a fundamental difference between intensity and photon energy? One example (not ...
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3answers
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Uses of vectors in real life [closed]

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 ...
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3answers
164 views

Prerequisites for classical mechanics by Susskind

So I am an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering. We had a course on Physics in our freshman year which is equivalent to Classical Mechanics I as taught in MIT. I am interested in studying advanced ...
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1answer
805 views

Book recommendations for fluid dynamics self study

I have my bachelors degree in engineering science: computer science, option electrotechnic. I have a good understanding of basic mechanics and dynamics, calculus (differential equations). The books ...
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139 views

Experiment to verify a spring constant

In my high school physics class, I had students do a Hooke's Law lab to measure an unknown spring constant. Once we compared everyone's data we came up with a class value for $k$ of 253 N/m. We then ...
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2answers
3k 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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1answer
41 views

Any economical quantitative electrostatics experiments for the university level?

I'm seeking for some safe experiments for undergraduates in the electrostatics context. We have a Van-de-Graaff generator in our fundamental physics lab but this kind of devices are useful for ...
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0answers
41 views

GRE subject exam advice [duplicate]

So, I would like to ask those of you who have had this experience for some advice. What book is best for GRE subject exam? I have noticed that some books online have mistakes, so I would like if you ...
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Recommendations for Complex variable calculus [Physics Oriented]

I'm looking for a good book Complex variable calculus that give a really good mathematical background for a physicist. I already know real-variable calculus and vector calculus and I'm also ...
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1answer
55 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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1answer
133 views

What is a quantum field?

I'm just tasting a bit of QFT and want to get started. I got stuck right at the start: what is a quantum field, and how should I look at it? This question can be a follow up of the What is a field, ...
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0answers
134 views

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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What is the simplest way to prove the Earth is round?

Assume you've come in contact with a tribe of people cut off from the rest of the world, or you've gone back in time several thousand years, or (more likely) you've got a numbskull cousin. How would ...