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Can you manipulate any formula in Physics?

  1. Feb 11, 2012 #1
    Just started an intro to physics course and I noticed a lot of the equations are just manipulated (by algebra) versions of each other. Can you do this with all equations in physics or do some have restrictions? I'm asking because if i'm asked to find say the mass of something can I rearrange the formulas to solve for mass, or is there specific formulas to calculate each thing?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2012 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Hi michellemw, welcome to PF!

    You can always use algebra and calculus or other mathematical techniques to manipulate physics equations.

    However, it is very important to know when a formula applies and when it does not, so that you don't accidentally combine two equations which do not apply together. An obvious example would be substituting a voltage in for a velocity simply because they both use the symbol v, but there can be subtle examples also.
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