What is Understanding physics: Definition and 34 Discussions

Understanding Physics (1966) is a popular science book written by Isaac Asimov (1920-1992). It is considered to be a reader-friendly informational guide regarding the fields of physics, written for lay people. It is one of several science guides by Asimov.
The book is divided into three volumes, each of which have also been published separately as books. They are:

Volume I: Motion, Sound, and Heat
Volume II: Light, Magnetism, and Electricity
Volume III: The Electron, Proton, and Neutron

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  1. Zalokin

    B Understanding Physics for Coding Collision of 2 Balls

    Hi There! I am quite a beginner at physics and my aim is to apply physics to a computer program which I'm coding. The program consists of 2 balls of equal mass colliding into each other and demonstrating the trajectories after an elastic collision. I have already coded a more basic model...
  2. A

    Actually Understanding Physics

    I'm having the same problem with nearly every physics textbook that I've come across (no matter which branch, no matter how advanced or basic), and maybe somebody can help: After nearly every sentence or claim given in a book, I find myself asking..."How did somebody figure this out? How would...
  3. L

    How can I seek guidance from experienced people on making a physics legacy?

    Hi, I am a high school student from India, aspiring to leave a legacy by contributing to physics before I leave this world. I am also very confused about my future all the time(that's why "Lost Bird", :)) and I joined this forum to seek guidance from all you experienced people, have a good day.
  4. lawlieto

    Studying How do I become better at understanding Physics?

    This will be a semi-rant about my miseries at life but mostly I'm looking for some useful advice. If you read this and write some useful comments I'll be very grateful. Guys, I'm so desperate to be better at physics but I feel like I keep failing. My story: I did A levels in the UK (it's like...
  5. R

    Computers for understanding physics

    Is it possible that people would be able to know about each natural phenomenon with the help of computers. I don't think so because how one will know about the quantum mechanics or high energy physics! So, I mean that only humans can only do this, right? Or, is going to be possible in the...
  6. S

    Calculate charge and capacitance

    Homework Statement Three capacitors are connected in series, C1 = 4.5 mF, C2 = 7.5 mF, and C3 = 10 mF, and connected to a 150V d.c. supply. Calculate: (a) the total capacitance...
  7. A

    Understanding physics without lab work

    Can you understand physics if you are good in math and suck at proving something practical?I tried to do that and it only worked in hs.I have never realized that i need materials to do the trick.Do you need a lab to see what happens and than explain the phenomenum or you can apply math without...
  8. Mastermind01

    Studying Understanding physics and problem solving

    Hello, I would like to have a good understanding of physics at my level (level of Halliday-resnick) and to be able to solve problems. It so happens that I read a chapter and solve the all the problems and exercises and I feel I am done, I know the stuff. But then up comes a problem and I get...
  9. D

    What is the trick to properly understanding Physics?

    I am currently in my last year of community college before I transfer to University. Physics held me back! For my major, I am required to enroll in Physics with College Algebra and Trigonometry I & II! I took the initiative to withdraw after completing the second exam because it was extremely...
  10. P

    Is calculus helpful in understanding physics

    Im taking algebra based physics and i am having a hard time trying to understand some concepts or equations and i heard that calculus is very helpful
  11. C

    How helpful has the "algebra" been in understanding physics?

    I feel as if my understanding of physics require increasingly rigorous mathematical derivations the more advanced the notions get... since I started even high school physics, I lost track of the number of instances where the bulb lighted up in my understanding of physics due to a rigorous...
  12. Mohsin Rasheed

    Understanding Physics: Best Way to Learn

    __________ can be helpful in understanding physics in most reliable way? Books, Internet, real/daily life processes...?
  13. C

    Intro Physics Alternative physics intro books to Young and Halliday?

    Hi I know eveyone buys Young University physics, and i think it's great for easy problem solving, a bit wordy but quite clear, however I like books that give a bit more insight into the reasoning and mathematical development and/or derivations of the theories, instead of just telling you "this...
  14. M

    Is there an Understanding Physics style book for chemistry?

    Hello all, I am a chemistry/physics teacher and our school also is an IB school. I teach both IB chemistry and physics. I have enjoyed and found useful using Asimov's Understanding Physics as a text of sorts for the physics class. I supplement it with problems from other books and sources...
  15. M

    Understanding Physics Symbols: Cos∠ and Sin∠

    Hi, I just started the chapter work and kinetic energy in my physics book, and I'm uncertain about the meaning of two symbols. They are 'F sub "two vertical lines"' and 'F sub "an upside down T/perpendicular symbol"'? Does it mean cos∠ and sin∠, respectively? Nevermind, I figured it out...
  16. gimak

    Understanding physics conceptually

    Hello all, My physics teacher told me that there are two ways to understand physics: conceptually and numerically (doing physics problems based on math). He told me that knowing how to do numerical problems doesn't mean you understand physics conceptually. Is this true? If so, how do I...
  17. mrnike992

    I Have Trouble Understanding Physics, Will Higher-Level Math help?

    I am a Junior in high school, and am currently considering a career (though highly unlikely to find one, from what I've heard) in physics. I have taken Algebra I, (Adv st.) Geometry, (Adv st.) Algebra II, am currently enrolled in Pre-calc, and will be taking Calculus next year. I find...
  18. T

    Asimov's Understanding Physics

    The question I want to ask is if it's a book about the history of physics or a book about physics ...if not then what do I need for intro book on physics?
  19. M

    Understanding Physics Beyond Equations: Seeking Help

    Hey there forum , I know this may seem like a dumb question to ask but I've been wondering , how can I feel the concepts I learn in Physics , and by "feel" i mean to say understand the core meaning and know how to apply the concept in thought experiments or whatever.. I don't want to study...
  20. U

    Does Understanding Physics cover Introductory Physics course completely?

    There's a textbook called Understanding Physics by Michael Mansfield, and it is is used at Cambridge University. https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Physics-Michael-Mansfield/dp/0470746378 Although the book is less than 700 pages, the author says that his book is "comprehensive" and is...
  21. G

    Maths for understanding Physics

    Hi Viewer, I am a self learner and very much aspiring to become a Theoretical Physicist. To this regard, I would like to get help in terms of what are the most fundamental and most required areas of Mathematics that I should learn to understand Physics. Please help. Thanks, Kiran.
  22. L

    Understanding Physics for the Beer Mug Problem

    [b]1. A bartender slides a beer mug at 1.50m/s towards a customer at the end of a frictionless bar that is 1.2m tall. the customer makes a grab for the mug and misses, and the mug sails of the end of the bar. What are the speed and direction of the mug at impact? [b]2. Vx=Vocosθ Vy=Vosinθ...
  23. M

    Regarding Mathematics for Understanding Physics and Other Worries

    Hello. I'm an eighteen year old currently enrolled in a community college. I fell in love with physics when I was sixteen, so I haven't been on this path for very long. Before then, I was messing around with philosophy and fancied myself pretty smart. Oh, how I lament those childish prejudices...
  24. russ_watters

    Why is Understanding Physics Important in Avoiding Epic Fails?

    Momentum Win! http://failblog.org/2011/05/04/epic-fail-video-understanding-physics-fail/ ...or why not joining PF is hazardous to your health.
  25. A

    Help understanding physics code.

    Hello. I am writing a 3D physics engine for use in a game engine I'm creating with some friends. This is the first time I've written a 3D physics engine and I am having some difficulty understanding some of the math behind it all. The section I am currently struggling with is collision...
  26. S

    Understanding Physics with a Rank 4 Tensor Example

    Hi, Can somebody give me an example of a rank 4 tensor in physics? Thanks.
  27. S

    How to Really Understand Physics - An Undergrad's Perspective

    Well, I'm an undergrad majoring in physics and I'm going to finish pretty much all of the upper division classes by next year. All I can say is from what I've learned, it doesn't seem like very much. I'm just wondering, of all the physicists, grad students, and Phd's the likes ... how many...
  28. D

    Understanding Physics Impulse: Integrated vs Average

    I have a question about physics in real life. Other than the fact that the area under a force versus time curve is a more accurate way to measure impulse because it's not an average like calculating impulse from a change in velocity is, is there any other reason that the integrated impulse would...
  29. W

    Understanding Physics: Tips to Master College Course

    So I am in an intro college physics course, but it is not my cup of tea. The class goes like so, we get lectures, we get reading assignments, we get problem sets. And repeat that for every chapter. I have a problem with understanding the physics. Yes, that's a little vague, let me explain. I...
  30. W

    Understanding Physics: The Exchange of Virtual Photons

    It seems to me that the physics is the same they are all due to the exchange of virtual photons between two particles
  31. R

    Gap in Understanding Physics: Seeking Mathematics Help

    Hello Everyone... This is my first post and I would like to tell you my problem seeking your help... I am studying Physics and Mathematics in my own with the help of some pure mathematics professor who offered to give his help to me in parts that I do not understand.. I am already enrolled...
  32. T

    Understanding Physics: Gravitational Potential Energy

    Homework Statement http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/795/untitledpw7.jpg The Attempt at a Solution I know Ug stands for the gravitational potential energy, but I'm not sure what Us and Uint stands for. At initial stage 1, I know the ball has kinetic energy and also has had work...
  33. M

    Understanding Physics of Arrow Flight

    My dad gave me this question: "My most recent bout with physics was in my article on arrow flight. I have a question for you. I was told many years ago that an object (ball, arrow etc.) shot or thrown, (picture a pitcher or archer) does indeed continue to accelerate (increase in speed) for a...
  34. G

    Understanding Physics: A Struggling Student's Guide

    I just don't get it. I can understand the ideas behind the formulas, and all that, but i can't ever use them right. Now, i don't have a specific question about anything really, i just need to figure out how to think about problems the right way so that i know what to do with them. I just sort of...