1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Derivations - What's Acceptable?

  1. Mar 25, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data


    this isn't really a h/w problem that fits the template, but here seems the most sensible place to post.

    I am writing a paper (not original research) and part of the requirements is that I include a "comprehensive discussion of the relevant theory (including derivations of equations)". The experiment I will be writing about makes use of the lens makers formula. I know how to derive this but the derivation makes use of the equation [itex]\frac{n_{1}}{p} + \frac{n_{2}}{q} = \frac{n_{2} - n_{1}}{R}[/itex].

    This equation in turn relies upon snell's law, which I can derive from fermat's principle.

    My question is this;

    If the experiment doesn't make use of the other equations, is it necessary to show their derivations, or is it acceptable to merely reference them?

    I don't want to make it sound like i'm hoping you'll say 'just reference them' - I would actually like to show my lab instructor that I can derive it from first principles but I am worried that it might be viewed as unnecessary/an attempt to boost the word count etc.

    What do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2014 #2
    I would start from Snell's law and use it to show all other relevant equations.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted