Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does this happen to you?

  1. Aug 5, 2009 #1
    This has happened a lot of times and I was wondering if it happened only to me : I start typing on the forums a homework problem that I am not able to solve and then when I start typing it out, I suddenly can connect the dots or see an obvious error that I didn't see before. And then *snap snap* the problem is solved. Happens so many times. I'd have spent hours on paper and to no avail. And then when I type it out here to explain to the reader what I have done and how I got there, I'm done. I can't do the same thing when I try it without the computer.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2009 #2
    I have heard that teaching a subject often makes it easier to understand; that there is something about the process of explaining something to another person which seems to make things click into place. Maybe this is something similar?
  4. Aug 5, 2009 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Hi anirudh215! :smile:

    Yup, lots of members type out a question, and then finish it with "oh, now I've typed it out I can see how to do it!".

    And even more just delete their first post completely, and substitute "never mind …"

    I guess that the discipline of having to state the problem clearly is what does it! :wink:
  5. Aug 5, 2009 #4
    Possible SA. Quite possible. I state the problem to myself clearly T-T. The problem is that I feel like I'm drawing a blank half-way across the problem - I come here - I just seem to understand it better when I type it here thinking to myself "I need to tell them as much as possible about how much I've solved and what I understand of the problem so that they can help properly" and it ends up with "D'oh!!". Almost EVERY time.
  6. Aug 5, 2009 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Conversely, I've always heard and really seen that if you can't explain it to someone, you don't know it!
  7. Aug 12, 2009 #6
    Happened again!! This is what I had typed out, halfway through explaining/typing what I didn't get and it hit me. Not even edited. Just halfway through typing a message. Something about this website that makes everything seem obvious all of a sudden.
  8. Aug 13, 2009 #7
    Writing what you know about a problem down helps you get your head around a problem. With complex problems, mainly mathmatical ones, there comes a point where even simply working out the concepts behind it in your head becomes incredibly difficult (for me at least).

    For advanced topics, in my experience, understanding the concepts behind the problem is far more difficult than actually solving it, so once you get the hang of it, the rest just falls into place.
  9. Aug 16, 2009 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    I was just going to post about a web site that I was sure was wrong. As I wrote out the explaination, I saw what I was missing. It's funny because I would have just blindly believed that I was right if I hadn't tried to explain it.
  10. Aug 16, 2009 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The next time I am having money problems, I am definitely going to post here! :biggrin:
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook