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Good way to take physics notes?

  1. Apr 10, 2010 #1
    Didn't know what section to really post this, but exam time approaches. And we all know what that means. That's right, procrastinate by doing the most mundane things just to avoid studying! Last year was adding lyrics and album art to every song on my iPod. Took about a good 8 days. This time I chose to reorganize my notes.

    Which got me thinking if anyone's perfected a method of note taking.

    For courses like philosophy, microsoft word would do just fine.

    But for something like physics, the symbols would be excruciatingly painful to enter. Which leads me to good old paper and pen. But fixing mistakes is a chore and things get hugely unorganized.

    Does anyone know of a program specifically designed for taking physics notes? There's gotta be one right?

    Or how many of you highlight your text/write on the margins? I would, but this textbook I have ain't the best and I'm planning on selling it once school's done.

    Sorry for the nerdy topic in the general discussion section, but hell this is a physics forum; we're all nerds here ;-) <-- That is a winky face. I am winking
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2010 #2


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    Have you tried using a pencil instead of a pen?

    Also, u could try a tablet PC I suppose...or learn how to type LaTex really fast.
  4. Apr 10, 2010 #3
    Pencil doesn't make a difference when you have to erase an entire paragraph because you accidentally left something out. And my ocd would never allow me to just tack on that info somewhere else.

    Yea thought of both tablet and latex. Tablet, too expensive. LaTex? Would definitely take too long for me to comfortably write in.

    Maybe I could attach hot keys to all the the letters on the keyboard. Hm... what would the most used 26 symbols be?

    hot damn. http://www.lyx.org/
    gonna give this a try
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010
  5. Apr 10, 2010 #4
    lyx is really one of my favorite editor for typing latex equation. Unlike the M$ Word, the typing of equation and sentence is pretty sequential.

    By the way, have you considered using a camera to take the writing of the lecturer? It is simple and easy. A friend of mine do this often to save time for thinking. :smile:
  6. Apr 10, 2010 #5
    Oh man... I spent a good 6 hours into the morning getting the program to work the way I wanted it to. And that's when I hit a stumbling block; diagrams :-\

    I tried using paint, but they ended up looking like turds. And then I had another problem. Lyx labels my diagram as figure 1, when I want it to be 1.1 (section#.figure#). Any advise?

    haha a camera. Yeah, I've done that. I stopped because of the weird looks I was getting from other students but I may just start again. Sitting near the front of the class made me look like I was giving the prof a photo shoot.
  7. Apr 10, 2010 #6
    haha, I do not understand your problem of the diagram and paint. But you can take a look for the Help in the lyx, in which you can copy and paste the format and generate a pdf file. I lways steal the format in these files.

    For the fig number, one method is to use the Document -> setting -> document class -> book. I used to write a thesis that import from a latex template which also has this figure numbering, but I do not know how to create it. You can also see this numbering in the help -> user's guide.

    Sometimes, taking photo can be disturbing, but most of the time I even do not note that someone is taking photo. So I think there is no problem if you are not exaggerated...
  8. Apr 10, 2010 #7
    Ahh book layout, perfect. In fact some other features I was looking for came along with the book layout so how perfect. Cheers!

    By diagram, I mean if I need to draw a diagram for my notes, it's kinda difficult without a tablet.
    Right now I'm using microsoft paint to draw them, but they look like shat.
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