Do i need mechanics to learn electricity and magnetism?

  • Thread starter kramer733
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  • #1
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? I'm just curious. Also i'm having trouble with mechanics. I feel like i have no idea how to grasp fnet and calculating it. I also REALLY REALLY REALLY suck at drawing free body diagram. Math is a walk compared to physics which feels like a marathon. I'm actually not that great with math but when compared to physics, it's much easier.
 

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  • #2
You'll likely need the most basic concepts of kinematics to fully understand the mechanisms within E & M. I'd also bet that you wouldn't be accepted to a higher E & M class if you haven't had the proper fundamental education.

I'd suggest picking up the Cartoon Guide to Physics if you're still in high school, considering a more basic course - it is more or less accurate and a good way to casually pick up and grasp the most basic concepts. Calculating certain sums of values and drawing scenario diagrams is essential later on, in whatever discipline of physics.
 
  • #3
The same thought process that goes into evaluating a mechanics question goes into evaluating an E&M question. Let's say you get to the subject of a system of charges - understanding that the total force is the superposition of all the charges together. A simple concept, but it also appears in mechanics.

Being able to evaluate a question, and extracting what information you know, and what information you need exists in all branches and levels of physics. theJorge551's whole post is correct from my experience - yes the details of the two are different but the overall ideas of approaching problems is for the most part the same.

I would suggest not giving up already on mechanics. Speak to your teach DO A LOT OF PRACTICE PROBLEMS - understand what exactly you're having difficulty with and try to improve on it. You can do it! It just takes a little dedication and focus - there are more resources out there than you can imagine. Take advantage of study groups! If you're not in college already, it is important that when faced with a subject you don't understand to find the correct methods for you to help you understand it.
 
  • #4
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On a similar note, I'm taking Calc I and Physics I this semester and plan on taking Calc 2 and Physics 2 next semester. I gotta say I'm a little worried about Physics 2 (E&M). I'm doing good in Physics I (Mechanics), but the teacher is really talking up E&M like everyone is gonna fail next semester. I think he's saying this because a bunch of us will not be taking Calc 3 along with E&M. In this Mechanics class we've only done very basic derivatives and integrals. I'm almost thinking about not taking E&M next semester and catching up on Math. Any recommendations? Thanks.
 
  • #5
Andy Resnick
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I'd suggest picking up the Cartoon Guide to Physics if you're still in high school, considering a more basic course - it is more or less accurate and a good way to casually pick up and grasp the most basic concepts.
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  • #6
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On a similar note, I'm taking Calc I and Physics I this semester and plan on taking Calc 2 and Physics 2 next semester. I gotta say I'm a little worried about Physics 2 (E&M). I'm doing good in Physics I (Mechanics), but the teacher is really talking up E&M like everyone is gonna fail next semester. I think he's saying this because a bunch of us will not be taking Calc 3 along with E&M. In this Mechanics class we've only done very basic derivatives and integrals. I'm almost thinking about not taking E&M next semester and catching up on Math. Any recommendations? Thanks.
I'd say just go for it. Form a study group and study/solve problems everyday. I know plenty of people who were in Calc II when they took intro E&M. The math is not the hard part about the course. Your prof probably only thinks that calc III will be "necessary" because of the large amount of use of cross products/surface integrals(which you are supposed to learn in calc III). You will be fine. It really depends on the teacher, but in all I think as long as you know basic calculus, and some BASIC differential equations(which you will learn in calc II), you should be fine.
 

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