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Schools Is it normal in University Physics I and II courses to use mostly

  1. Sep 25, 2008 #1
    algebra and basic calculus skills in computation? We haven't really used any heavy differentiation or integration, save basic differentiation or whatever. Of course, I guess most things that would require that are done by software. I'm just wondering if it's the norm at universities to introduce concepts with calculus but mainly concentrate on the simplification of those to algebraic techniques and so forth. I'm currently in my last semester at a reputable junior college before I transfer to UH. I just want to make sure I'm not completely lost in my first physics courses there, which will be Modern Physics. I've taken Cal I-III and am currently in Linear Algebra, although stupid Hurricane Ike messed our schedule up greatly.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2008 #2
    Yea its pretty much standard, as these courses are taken co-currently with calculus so professors don't assume you know calc that well. You really start using calculus in upper years. Right now you are defining elementary terms.
  4. Sep 26, 2008 #3
    Good. I ask because I just started reading the Electric Charge and Electric Field and Gauss's Law chapters and some of the integration in the derivation I'm not fully getting. I worked through the assigned Gauss's Law chapter problems, but the last one I apparently have no clue how to derive 29.b.


    (a) The charge is zero because it's within the sphere.

    (c) = E(4 pi r^2) = Q/e0

    E = kQ/r2

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2008
  5. Sep 26, 2008 #4


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    Homework Helper

    Well, you'll start to use most of those fancy mathematical tools such as DEs, vector calculus from your 2nd year onwards.

    And anyway, 29b doesn't require any integration.
  6. Sep 26, 2008 #5


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    Correct. In studying Gauss's Law and other E&M stuff at this level, you need to understand the concept of integration, but the examples and exercises are set up so that most integrals reduce to finding the volumes or surface areas of simple shapes like spheres or cylinders or rectangular solids, for which there are standard formulas. You don't actually have to "do" integrals in the sense of using the methods that they teach you in calculus courses.
  7. Sep 26, 2008 #6
    Yeah, I got that. Here, I'll just link to the problem thread.

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2008
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