All I (as a physicist) really Need to Know ...

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gleem
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I rediscovered this article , an opinion column in Physics Today from May 1993 by a NASA research physicist who after reading Robert Fulghum's book "All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten" made a list of what he thinks every physicist needs to know. What do you think? Can you add anything?

https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.2808904

I am especially fond of his final comment that "Being a physicist is a great privilege. Be worthy of it."
 

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I rediscovered this article , an opinion column in Physics Today from May 1993 by a NASA research physicist who after reading Robert Fulghum's book "All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten" made a list of what he thinks every physicist needs to know. What do you think? Can you add anything?

https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.2808904

I am especially fond of his final comment that "Being a physicist is a great privilege. Be worthy of it."
I don't like the book's title. Sure, it's been chosen to sell copies, however, in my opinion it is wrong. We have a certain effect here: If you read the local newspapers on a Monday morning, esp. in autumn, then you will frequently find some teenagers who lost their lives in a car accident on the weekend. It's often due to speeding on wet roads covered with leaves, and mostly a male driver. I always think: you should have paid more attention to your physics classes!

Myself I once had to break my car quickly from est. 160 km/h to 100 km/h. It was a tough lesson to learn ##160^2-100^2 >> 60^2\,.## I should have paid more attention to energy conservation and the quadratic nature of kinetic energy.

I admit, these are extreme examples, but they can all be learnt in physics classes - not in kindergarten.
 
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The premise of the book, and originating essay, was that all that matters is how we treat each other, the rules of basic behavior we learn in Kindergarten, it is a foundation of a good life. The physicist point, is also foundation, and is about how to become a learner, and observer - and ALWAYS be willing to learn and accept that you may have misunderstood the world around you in the past.

The value of learning about kinetic energy / momentum - is leaned in kindergarden.... that we need to stay safe and be safe with others. We have no purpose to learn about momentum or kinetic energy with regards to driving if we do not care about being safe. The decision (or lack of one) to drive 160km/h was akin to running with scissors.
 
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The decision (or lack of one) to drive 160km/h was akin to running with scissors.
Yeah, was a bit slow, but the one ahead of me wasn't faster :biggrin:
 
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gleem
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I think this list is particularly beneficial to the physics student early in their studies since many of them are relevant to effective learning as well as preparing them for successful careers and collegial relationships.

"Good habits formed at youth make all the difference." Aristotle
 
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"Good habits formed at youth make all the difference." Aristotle
Not quite sure it worked this way with Alexander.
 

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