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Intuitive understanding(energy&momentum in particular)

  1. Jun 22, 2012 #1
    where can one learn a more intuitive understanding of energy/potential energy and momentum/angular momentum?
    i tire of being trained how to solve problems instead of actually using my head
    i watched all videos on khan academy and tried looking for intuitive explanations at young,sears&zemansky's college physics, they did more training then teaching
    can you please refer me to a book/textbook/website?
    thanks for your time
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 22, 2012 #2
    I think that the intuitive understanding comes mainly after you've been trained / trained yourself to solve technical problems. One of the most frustrating things for me is when I can't solve a problem because of some weakness in my maths or because I've made some silly technical mistake. Once you no longer have to worry about the mechanics of what you're doing then you can sort of sit back and think more generally about what's going on. An old professor of mine used to say that it's like learning to drive a car. Once you can change gear and negotiate traffic without having to think too hard then you can start to appreciate the journey.

    On the other hand, it's probably not a good idea to get frustrated with the work. Maybe you could look around for some mechanics problems that interest you and work at solving them in your own way - building up a solution from the very begining and making sure that you understand all of the steps. You could start at the homework help section of this site as there's bound to be some problems in the area that you're interested in. If I were you I'd choose a style of problem that I hadn't seen before and see if I could work out what's going on from first principles. This sort of thinking is probably the best way to build up your understanding.
  4. Jun 22, 2012 #3
    For me I've been using wikipedia for all my inquiries. The reason is that a textbook is going to give a single sentence definition for a concept, and some of the big ones might have a paragraph, but wikipedia offers and entire article on a concept, which gives more in depth information pertaining to whatever it is you are studying. Give it a try, I've found it to be much more useful than any textbook.
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