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Formula Database

  1. Aug 14, 2009 #1
    Hi everyone, I am an engineering student and I have been working over the summer in my spare time to create an online database/search engine for physics and math formulas. It is meant to be free and open source, like wikipedia so anyone can edit it. If anyone knows LaTeX, feel free to sign up and help out. Currently, there aren't many formulas, but I hope we can create the largest online database/search engine for physics/math formulas on the web.

    http://www.formula-database.com" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2009 #2
    Very interesting concept and a good idea. One suggestion: I like how you've constructed your search/lookup page, but could you include general search box at the home page or right next to the existing search page where one could type in simple tags? Also it would be good to include what each constant/variable means for each forumla in each entry since variables tend to vary (heh) a little bit from physics to math.
  4. Aug 14, 2009 #3
    Yeah, I am working on a text search method as well. It will allow people to search for keywords as well as more specific query, such as integral(velocity), derivative(position), (velocity)^2, ect. I just haven't finished coding this portion yet. I agree that it can be somewhat difficult to understand what each variable/keyword means, maybe I could put a general page with a definition of each entry? The problem is most of these things are not really standardize and have equivalent meanings. For example, what does "height" or "length" mean? But, the equation PE = mgh contains the variable commonly known as "height", so you can't just ignore this fact and replace the tag "height" for "displacement" or "relative position" because then people would not be able to find what they are looking for since they are used to the common name. An alternative idea I had to selecting the common names of variables was to search base on the dimension of the variables, such as "height" would become "meters". This would help standardize, but the problem is many users probably don't know what the dimension of the variables they use are like Magnetic flux density (kg *s−2 *A−1) or Capacitance (kg−1 *m−2 *A2 *s4), so that would only benefit advanced users. I wanted to make a tool anyone could use to find the equation they need for a homework problem, ect. If anyone has any ideas about this issue, you can email me through the contact page of my website or post them here.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  5. Aug 19, 2009 #4
    So, I signed up. I love the idea, but how effective will this be?

    It would be sweet if each equation had a name, if applicable, and a description of its variables, and, possibly a derivation.

    The layout of the website could probably be better; more wikipedia-esque and less confined to a tiny little box.

    Good job!
  6. Aug 19, 2009 #5
    Yeah, you might be right about the tiny box, I guess at the time I was thinking if you have a screen res of 800x600 or accessing it with an ipod or smartphone it might be easier, but that can be changed. I could have set it up more like a wiki, but that would be no fun so I coded the whole thing with a text editor... right now there is over 100 pages of code, it was my summer project. I am hoping it will be effective for people who are looking for equations or doing homework problems. It would be really useful with those physics word problems, basically enter all the variables given in the problem on the left and what you need to find on the right and then it should find the equation you need to use. Right now its a little unorganized, but I am working on that. Other things I may add:

    -image search method, click on an image of a variable and it will search the latex code for that variable.

    -Compound search method, you input A=D, if A=D does not exist, display A=B B=C C=D, ect.

    -Implementing LaTeX in the description and discussion boxes (this could allow for an area to write a derivation)

    -Calculations- input the formula id and it will get a form where you can type the number values of your variables then calculate the missing one.

    If anyone has any more ideas post them here.
  7. Aug 20, 2009 #6
    Thanks for the link! It looks like an awesome resource :)
  8. Aug 20, 2009 #7
    I'm wondering if when it gets bigger it might be nice to have a hierarchical structure. For instance, in fluid mechanics you might have the main Navier Stokes equation, but then you can view some subsets of it, (e.g. various simplifications and coordinate transformations). Maybe a section for references to or should the discussion follow that? Perhaps, maybe some fields, called children and parents. For instance the momentum equation would be a child of Reynolds transport theorem.
  9. Aug 20, 2009 #8
    That is a good idea, I was trying to figure out a good way to organize equations of the same type, but in a different form. I think I will probably also add a field for references, and a field for the common name of the equation. I am also working on implementing LaTeX in the description box so eventually you will be able to write a derivation of the equations as well. I think there is going to be a major overhaul of the design and structure in the next few weeks so stay tuned.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
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