Is physics just not for me?

  • Thread starter -Dragoon-
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  • #1
-Dragoon-
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Ever since my first midterm, I've been studying hard with a friend and drilling through very difficult problems almost everyday and throughout the weekends. I think this time, I did much worse. Admittedly, there was one or two chapters I was weak in, but I thought I felt well prepared for the exam, and yet I still did terrible. I put in half the work for linear algebra and calculus, and I'm doing better in those two classes. Is physics just not for me? Should I just stick with math instead?

I did enjoy spending my free time doing practice problems on the weekends, but it is quite discouraging and depressing when you try so hard and yet do terrible on the exams.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Highway
349
1
which physics?
 
  • #3
-Dragoon-
309
7
which physics?

Are you asking which physics I am interested in or what I am currently taking right now?
 
  • #4
Nano-Passion
1,291
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Are you asking which physics I am interested in or what I am currently taking right now?

He means which physics are you having trouble with?

Retribution, stick it out. I've been there actually. Now I can't believe that I had trouble with physics and find it very easy actually. It just kind of clicked with me one day. Its hard to describe how actually.. part of it was something like this:

I started treating all the equations similar to what I seen in Linear Algebra. A spark went through me when I saw gauss' method. I realized that the best way to do physics is to think of it as purely equation manipulation. I would just keep manipulating equations around, just for the heck of it, take it here, put it there, take this out, put this in, whatever it is! Just play with it! I can't explain it, it just kind of clicked with me the past 2 weeks!

Beforehand, I kept thinking about everything too conceptually. It didn't take me anywhere without knowing how to manipulate equations and ideas around.
 
  • #5
victor.raum
71
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High five to Nano-Passion on that one :-)

There's a quote attributed to Paul Dirac on the exact same note:

A great deal of my work is just playing with equations and seeing what they give.
--Paul Dirac
 
  • #6
Nano-Passion
1,291
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High five to Nano-Passion on that one :-)

There's a quote attributed to Paul Dirac on the exact same note:

A great deal of my work is just playing with equations and seeing what they give.
--Paul Dirac

Haha.. that is quite weird because I was thinking the same thing earlier today in the figment of my imagination of being a physicist. Amazing quote!
 
  • #7
jtbell
Mentor
15,893
4,563
Are you asking which physics I am interested in or what I am currently taking right now?

Hint: Don't expect people to remember (or have seen) your situation from previous threads that you've posted in.

If you're in the first semester of introductory physics, it may be too early to come to a conclusion about what you want to do with the rest of your life. IMO, you should consider your difficulties as a "wake-up call" and see if you can improve during the second semester.
 
  • #8
-Dragoon-
309
7
He means which physics are you having trouble with?

Retribution, stick it out. I've been there actually. Now I can't believe that I had trouble with physics and find it very easy actually. It just kind of clicked with me one day. Its hard to describe how actually.. part of it was something like this:

I started treating all the equations similar to what I seen in Linear Algebra. A spark went through me when I saw gauss' method. I realized that the best way to do physics is to think of it as purely equation manipulation. I would just keep manipulating equations around, just for the heck of it, take it here, put it there, take this out, put this in, whatever it is! Just play with it! I can't explain it, it just kind of clicked with me the past 2 weeks!

Beforehand, I kept thinking about everything too conceptually. It didn't take me anywhere without knowing how to manipulate equations and ideas around.

Well it is mostly mechanics. I'm not even doing "real physics" yet, and I'm already struggling. How do I expect to do well in upper year classes if I can't even handle the baby stuff?

As for linear algebra, well I've never worked a problem where you have more variables than independent equations, and thus parameters, so I can't really see any parallel. But, it's not really the math that is giving me the problem or rearranging for variables, I actually find that to be quite trivial and to be the easiest part of solving the problem. I don't know how helpful doing an exercise in notation will truly be to me in becoming better at physics, even though it worked very well for you.

I think for me, my main problem is lacking in physical intuition and mostly the conceptual aspect of the problems rather than the computational part.
 
  • #9
Nano-Passion
1,291
0
Well it is mostly mechanics. I'm not even doing "real physics" yet, and I'm already struggling. How do I expect to do well in upper year classes if I can't even handle the baby stuff?

As for linear algebra, well I've never worked a problem where you have more variables than independent equations, and thus parameters, so I can't really see any parallel. But, it's not really the math that is giving me the problem or rearranging for variables, I actually find that to be quite trivial and to be the easiest part of solving the problem. I don't know how helpful doing an exercise in notation will truly be to me in becoming better at physics, even though it worked very well for you.

I think for me, my main problem is lacking in physical intuition and mostly the conceptual aspect of the problems rather than the computational part.

Well not the computational part, but I guess it would be more accurate to say the conceptual aspect of the computation clicked. lol

Anyhow, what problems are you having with physics? What concepts don't you get? If you post them then people can help you out.
 
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  • #10
victor.raum
71
0
I'm curious, do you feel confused about the material before the test, and then not surprisingly you bomb the test? Or do you feel comfortable with the material before the test, comfortable with the questions while taking the test, and then are just shocked when a bad grade hits?

Because of it's the latter then maybe you just need to work on test taking skills, which is a complete different thing.
 
  • #11
Nano-Passion
1,291
0
Retribution, don't be discouraged. As you do the problems try to get as much intuition as possible. Make sure you get every problem right, and whatever you don't get right then take note of your mistake and what intuition, misplaced or wrong, led you astray. Write it down if you have to! You will get there, it is too early to doubt too much.
 
  • #12
Harrisonized
209
0
I think for me, my main problem is lacking in physical intuition and mostly the conceptual aspect of the problems rather than the computational part.

"Physical intuition" is trivial. It comes to you if you work enough derivation or practice problems. If you're focusing on pure visualization, you're going to get lost. Plus, it's somewhat useless. Why would you ever have to visualize certain things (such as potential energy) anyway? Let math lead the way. Sometimes, physics is counter-intuitive.

I'm curious, do you feel confused about the material before the test, and then not surprisingly you bomb the test? Or do you feel comfortable with the material before the test, comfortable with the questions while taking the test, and then are just shocked when a bad grade hits?

Because of it's the latter then maybe you just need to work on test taking skills, which is a complete different thing.

This too; Victor is spot on. Many of the physics professors make the problems intentionally difficult because physicists enjoy challenging problems, and they want to see how well they taught their students how to reason rather than memorize equations to use (which they usually provide on the exam anyways).

Wouldn't you be bummed if you had a really easy exam? Wouldn't it seem like a waste of time and a chore to just perform the calculations that computers can do on their own via plug-and-chug? If you're getting a bad score, but comparatively, you're doing okay, then don't worry about "doing poorly".

If you're actually doing poorly, that's a different story. I would question where you got such confidence that you can do the practice problems fine. How long does it take you to do the practice problems? Doing them on a timed exam is different from slowly figuring things out.
 
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  • #13
victor.raum
71
0
Why would you ever have to visualize certain things (such as potential energy) anyway? Let math lead the way.

I politely disagree. Visualizing the potential energy field is definitely a useful thing.

In 1 dimensional cases, such as earth-gravity, visualizing the PE field can help you get a feel for how high up a thrown object can go, and why.

And much more interestingly, in 2 and 3 dimensional cases like generalized gravity or electrostatics visualizing the PE field give you feel for where a particle is likely to move, and how fast, seeing as how particles tend to seek out numerically lower potential energies; also if the potential energy field is non-moving then being able to visualize it will help you get comfortable with the idea that the particle simply cannot enter certain pockets of space with numerically high PE values due to lack of kinetic energy (which is sort of like the "how high can you go" idea, but in multiple dimensions).

Harrisonized said:
Sometimes, physics is counter-intuitive.

I politely disagree again, at least specifically in the case of mechanics and the sort of calculus associated with mechanics I think everything can be pretty intuitive :-)
 
  • #14
Harrisonized
209
0
Not to deviate too far from the topic, but if by visualization of earth-gravity, you mean assigning values at various heights using the equation

1/2 mv2 = mgh

there isn't an absolute reference frame from which you can define the height. (Also, the error term grows larger as the height increases, but that's another problem entirely.) I guess if you really wanted to visualize the potential field from the point of view of throwing a rock, you can define the zero height from yourself. For your multiple dimension visualization, the potential energy is always lower in the direction in which the attractive force is greatest (and the repulsive force is weakest). You can view equipotential surfaces if you want to, but I really don't know how you can claim that imagining a visual picture adds to your understanding.

What do you do when, say, you want to visualize how an electron moves around a nucleus? Okay, actually, that isn't mechanics, so I'll give a question relevant to the context of mechanics. How do you visualize chaotic motion, such as that of a double pendulum? The Earth is rotating about its axis. Therefore, the Earth bulges outward at the equator. Suppose the Earth is a giant slippery block of ice. If I were standing at the equator with no initial velocity, which way would I slide?

I'm not saying that visualization is a bad thing, but sometimes it is unnecessary and misleading, and trying to visualize literally everything leads right into certain traps and pitfalls. Visualization is a qualitative thing, and physics aims to be as qualitative as possible.
 
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  • #15
victor.raum
71
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You can view equipotential surfaces if you want to, but I really don't know how you can claim that imagining a visual picture adds to your understanding.

Ok, sure, visualization doesn't add to understanding. So in that case let's take all of a school's physics students and surgically remove the parts of their brains that deal with visual-spatial reasoning (since it doesn't really add to their understanding of physics anyway). Then let's come back 50 years later and see if any of them have successfully done any interesting research.
 
  • #16
Harrisonized
209
0
Ok, sure, visualization doesn't add to understanding. So in that case let's take all of a school's physics students and surgically remove the parts of their brains that deal with visual-spatial reasoning (since it doesn't really add to their understanding of physics anyway). Then let's come back 50 years later and see if any of them have successfully done any interesting research.

That you would suggest something so preposterous is beyond words.

Go troll someone else.
 
  • #17
victor.raum
71
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Do you still claim that imagining a visual picture does not add to your understanding on matters of physics like equipotential surfaces?
 
  • #18
Harrisonized
209
0
Does it matter? Stop derailing the thread.
 
  • #19
victor.raum
71
0
Does it matter? Seriously? Yes, it does matter that the community expresses to troubled students that visualizations always matter in first year physics, because they do.

The original poster just said that he thinks his problem is with a lack of physical intuition. And then you go and tell him that visualizations are not really that important, but if he wants to acquire this not-so-important skill anyway then he should just drill more problems and it'll magically come to him after enough blood, sweat, and tears.

No, you're completely wrong. He needs to stop punching numbers into his calculator and just sit staring at the pictures for a while so that he can learn what the core equations actually mean beyond just being a collection of symbols on paper.

You stop derailing the thread.
 
  • #20
Highway
349
1
Does it matter? Seriously? Yes, it does matter that the community expresses to troubled students that visualizations always matter in first year physics, because they do.

The original poster just said that he thinks his problem is with a lack of physical intuition. And then you go and tell him that visualizations are not really that important, but if he wants to acquire this not-so-important skill anyway then he should just drill more problems and it'll magically come to him after enough blood, sweat, and tears.

No, you're completely wrong. He needs to stop punching numbers into his calculator and just sit staring at the pictures for a while so that he can learn what the core equations actually mean beyond just being a collection of symbols on paper.

You stop derailing the thread.
This is right imo, the first thing I learned in solving physics problems was to 1) write down everything I know: variables, relevant equations; and then 2) draw a picture to help visualize the problem and see how to apply things.
 
  • #21
dotman
126
0
2) draw a picture to help visualize the problem and see how to apply things.

Absolutely. Draw a picture. If you're not drawing a picture, you're doing it wrong if you're having trouble. I can't think of a prof who didn't recommend drawing a picture immediately.

Drawing a picture helps you visualize the problem, which helps you determine which equations to use and how. It also helps you recognize which parts of the problem are irrelevant.
 
  • #22
Harrisonized
209
0
The original poster just said that he thinks his problem is with a lack of physical intuition. And then you go and tell him that visualizations are not really that important, but if he wants to acquire this not-so-important skill anyway then he should just drill more problems and it'll magically come to him after enough blood, sweat, and tears.

No, you're completely wrong. He needs to stop punching numbers into his calculator and just sit staring at the pictures for a while so that he can learn what the core equations actually mean beyond just being a collection of symbols on paper.

You stop derailing the thread.

Visualizations aren't important in most cases. They are in some cases. If I inquired about an object sliding down a ramp, he shouldn't need to draw a right triangle on his paper all the time. If I asked him about a swinging pendulum, he shouldn't need to draw a line on his paper. If he's working doing statics problems, then it's necessary to put in force lines to see if they relate to one another.

Whatever. It depends on the situation, and you're taking some small comment of mine, blowing it out of proportion, and then attacking a straw man. You're speaking as though he needs a god damn picture for everything, and that's just plain wrong and unnecessary, and sometimes, pictures can lead to misleading conclusions.

I suggested deriving the equations. Maybe work a few practice problems to go along with seeing whether the equations make any sense. You interpreted that as going through "blood, sweat, and tears". Are you even capable of reading, or should I assume that you're trolling?

Also, you're still derailing the thread. I'm going to do you a favor now and stop responding to your asinine comments. I thought we, as a community, were supposed to be constructive, and your post is obviously not that.

If you have any further comments, feel free to PM me. Otherwise, drop it.
 
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  • #23
victor.raum
71
0
Harrisonized said:
Visualizations aren't important in most cases.

They are when the student says that he's having problems with physical intuition.

Harrisonized said:
If I inquired about an object sliding down a ramp, he shouldn't need to draw a right triangle on his paper all the time.

He should if he is having problems with physical intuition.

Harrisonized said:
If I asked him about a swinging pendulum, he shouldn't need to draw a line on his paper.

He should if he is having problems with physical intuition.

Harrisonized said:
If he's working doing statics problems, then it's necessary to put in force lines to see if they relate to one another.

He should if he is having problems with physical intuition.

Harrisonized said:
I suggested deriving the equations.

...which he says he's already comfortable with.
 
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  • #24
eurekameh
210
0
I strongly disagree with whoever said that trying to visualize in physics is "useless." It's what separates physics from math. Heck, even in math, visualization is key to understanding and retaining it better. Physics is not all about the equations. You can be a master in deriving and manipulating the equations and call yourself good at physics, but if you can't visualize the physics idea behind at all, what's the point?

And to your statement that physics intuition can lead you astray, I agree, but that's why you discard your incorrect intuitive ideas and develop new ones. How do you do that? By visualizing the physics, not by staring at the equations.
 
  • #25
nucl34rgg
149
14
The truth is that unless you are a super genius, there will be some aspects of physics classes that will be hard. When you encounter these topics, I'd suggest looking for other lecture notes, animations, books, etc to give you a different perspective. We all learn differently, and sometimes one explanation may be overly complicated, whereas another person's explanation and examples may be just what you needed.

That being said, if you do your absolute best and still find that your grades aren't improving, you should switch to something else. Everyone has areas that they are good at and areas that they aren't. Nobody is perfect, and it's completely okay to decide you want to study something else.
 
  • #26
DrummingAtom
658
2
Visualizations aren't important in most cases. They are in some cases. If I inquired about an object sliding down a ramp, he shouldn't need to draw a right triangle on his paper all the time. If I asked him about a swinging pendulum, he shouldn't need to draw a line on his paper. If he's working doing statics problems, then it's necessary to put in force lines to see if they relate to one another.

Visualizations are very important to me. Anytime I do a physics problem I draw a picture or if I can't visualize it; I'll plot a graph of the equations that are related to the problem. Physics clicked a lot more once I started making use of pictures. I would highly suggest to the OP to try drawing pictures and plotting equations to get a feel for what's going on. Good luck.

P.S. - I think it's ridiculous that you're accusing victor.raum as a troll. He's merely disagreeing with your comments. You are personally attacking him by asking him if he is capable of reading after he clearly read your posts...
 
  • #27
Woopy
148
0
Visualizing electromagnetism is really hard/impossible almost
 
  • #28
homeomorphic
1,772
128
Visualizing electromagnetism is really hard/impossible almost

Maybe electrodynamics, to an extent, but I can visualize pretty much everything in electrostatics. That doesn't mean I will try to visualize everything in some complicated calculation. Visualization is important mainly for understanding concepts, rather than doing the problems. With problems, sometimes there will be a visual inspiration, sometimes not. Depends on the problem. Some are more purely computational.



I strongly disagree with whoever said that trying to visualize in physics is "useless." It's what separates physics from math. Heck, even in math, visualization is key to understanding and retaining it better.

Actually, I am a mathematician, and I think visualization is actually more important in pure math. That is where a great deal of my inspiration comes from in writing proofs. But you are very right to point out the idea of retaining stuff better. You are trying to learn and take something away from it, not just get a grade on a test and then move on. If you want something that will stick with you, it's usually the visualizations and physical intuition.


Physics is not all about the equations. You can be a master in deriving and manipulating the equations and call yourself good at physics, but if you can't visualize the physics idea behind at all, what's the point?

I don't know how effective one can be at physics if one just manipulates equations (I would see it as a rather severe limitation in certain topics, though). However, I am not interested in that kind of physics. If you are in it for fun, as I am, the whole POINT may be to visualize things. I wouldn't be interested in it, otherwise. Happily, that's less of a limitation than you might think. Einstein talked repeatedly about how he thought in pictures. My goal is to produce conceptual understanding, rather than just answers.


And to your statement that physics intuition can lead you astray, I agree, but that's why you discard your incorrect intuitive ideas and develop new ones. How do you do that? By visualizing the physics, not by staring at the equations.

Exactly. A lot of people like to talk about how pictures can mislead you, but so can equations and calculations. Doesn't everyone make mistakes in calculations, too? It's not that you have to be careful just with pictures. You have to be careful, full stop. Pictures are no different than anything else. Also, people who are very good at visual thinking will not make as many mistakes. I am an extreme visual thinker, but I think it is very very rare that my visualizations have mislead me. Much more accurate than calculation, actually. I can hardly calculate two lines without getting minus signs in the wrong place, etc. But my conceptual thinking is usually dead on.
 
  • #29
homeomorphic
1,772
128
I started treating all the equations similar to what I seen in Linear Algebra. A spark went through me when I saw gauss' method. I realized that the best way to do physics is to think of it as purely equation manipulation. I would just keep manipulating equations around, just for the heck of it, take it here, put it there, take this out, put this in, whatever it is! Just play with it! I can't explain it, it just kind of clicked with me the past 2 weeks!

Beforehand, I kept thinking about everything too conceptually. It didn't take me anywhere without knowing how to manipulate equations and ideas around.

I hope you haven't gone over to the dark side. It's okay to realize that not everything should be visualized, but there also a danger in not visualizing enough. It can be kind of a subtle thing to know when to draw the line.

Part of the reason why it can be easier to do physics without conceptualizing too much is just an artifact of our educational system. It undervalues these things.

It would indeed have been easier for me if I had not swam against the stream and come up with my own visual explanations of things. But if I had done that, I would not have the deep understanding that I do now.

There are so many topics I can think of that were incomprehensible until I developed a way to visualize them, at which point, everything became trivial and obvious.

Another point to realize is that intuition is more fundamental than visualization. Intuition is the most important thing in math, I think, and probably physics, too.
 
  • #30
-Dragoon-
309
7
The problem isn't visualization for me either, as my diagrams tend to be pretty accurate. It's really just making the correct inferences and when to use shortcuts that is my problem. It seems no matter how many problems I do, the professor will put questions on the exam that I wouldn't even know how to attempt.

If I am struggling with introductory stuff (mechanics), how would I expect to do well in upper year classes? I'm sure the majority of the students taking those classes found mechanics to be a joke and breezed through it.

At this point, I'm just lost and don't really know what to do. Doing extra problems didn't help me at all for the second test, so I don't know how to go about this course anymore.
 
  • #31
Nano-Passion
1,291
0
I hope you haven't gone over to the dark side. It's okay to realize that not everything should be visualized, but there also a danger in not visualizing enough. It can be kind of a subtle thing to know when to draw the line.

Part of the reason why it can be easier to do physics without conceptualizing too much is just an artifact of our educational system. It undervalues these things.

It would indeed have been easier for me if I had not swam against the stream and come up with my own visual explanations of things. But if I had done that, I would not have the deep understanding that I do now.

There are so many topics I can think of that were incomprehensible until I developed a way to visualize them, at which point, everything became trivial and obvious.

Another point to realize is that intuition is more fundamental than visualization. Intuition is the most important thing in math, I think, and probably physics, too.

I got the intuition part down, for the most part at least. But what I was trying to convey is that I got caught in a rut trying too hard to visualize everything by itself, I found out the hard way that variable manipulation is essential tool. If you have three variables to solve for you can sit there all day imagining pictures in your head but it won't help till you start writing down some mathematics to solidify the concepts.

The problem isn't visualization for me either, as my diagrams tend to be pretty accurate. It's really just making the correct inferences and when to use shortcuts that is my problem. It seems no matter how many problems I do, the professor will put questions on the exam that I wouldn't even know how to attempt.

If I am struggling with introductory stuff (mechanics), how would I expect to do well in upper year classes? I'm sure the majority of the students taking those classes found mechanics to be a joke and breezed through it.

At this point, I'm just lost and don't really know what to do. Doing extra problems didn't help me at all for the second test, so I don't know how to go about this course anymore.
If someone thought it was a joke and breezed through it then its a product of their past experiences and knowledge. You can develop the same thing, I don't see why not. You just need a conscious effort in bettering yourself, learn from your mistakes. And if you can figure out how to get better at physics then you will get better! The hardest part is figuring out how to get better; different people need different things. Sometimes it just clicks one day, sometimes it will take much longer. But one thing is for certain, if you keep at it, you will get better. Its often hard to learn how to get better. The reason is because most will focus on learning the material. But learning how to learn is not something that is talked about everyday. It is one of the reasons that research isn't easy, your required to adapt to change. Give up now and there will be no change.

You haven't helped us pinpoint your problem, it would be better if you can try to narrow down what you have trouble with in physics. Physics often needs a certain mindset, a scheme. If you are having trouble with elastic potential energy then it would be very useful to know something such as:

An object set in motion in an elastic system is at its highest velocity when elastic PE is 0. That is, when a spring is at its non-compressed height.

This is stated rather indirectly when they say E = K + U is constant.

Edit: I've gotten better at physics since the beginning of the semester by keeping a conscious effort. People don't wake up one day solving every problem flawlessly; especially not with a beginner physics course because it is a bit different then what most are used to. At the moment I haven't mastered the elastic potential energy concepts, if I can't do one of the problems then I know that my knowledge needs to be improved. And I'm working at it. Point is, you need to do the same thing too, it comes with hardsmart work and effort.
 
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  • #32
twofish-quant
6,817
18
Just as a point of reference, I have a Ph.D. in astrophysics. What's your background?

You can view equipotential surfaces if you want to, but I really don't know how you can claim that imagining a visual picture adds to your understanding.

I'm a very visual person. The way that I'd visualize that equation is by imaging two lines. One with kinetic energy and one with potential energy.

It becomes really useful because then you get "deep insight" into what is going on. For example, one thing about that situation is that if you imagine lines rather than equations, it becomes obvious that there is no such thing as "escape velocity". As you get further away from the object, the potential energy always increases so that the lines will always cross. Now if the potential energy is -1/r, then it will flatten out, the lines won't always cross, and it's possible for an object to escape.

Now I ask you what happens if the object is non-spherical, and if you visualize the situation, you figure out that it doesn't matter.

This comes in really useful when you are dealing with weird situations. For example suppose I'm orbiting three non-spherical object that is collapsing into a black hole with objects that are moving near the speed of light. Before I even try to reduce that into equations (and sometimes you *can't* reduce it to equations), the first thing I do is to draw some diagrams. Often it's only *after* I draw the pictures that I start writing the equations.

What do you do when, say, you want to visualize how an electron moves around a nucleus?

I think of a cloud.

How do you visualize chaotic motion, such as that of a double pendulum?

Imagine potential surfaces. Start at a initial condition. Tweak slightly. Watch things diverge.

Imagine a bowl of spaghetti.

Also what happens is that if you think of the thing in phase space, you'll find that the motions will happen on a torus. If it is a dissipative system, then the torus will shrink over time. There's a beautiful set of books by Ralph Abraham in the Visual Mathematics Library.


Therefore, the Earth bulges outward at the equator. Suppose the Earth is a giant slippery block of ice. If I were standing at the equator with no initial velocity, which way would I slide?

By symmetry you wouldn't go north or south. At that point it's a 1-d problem to see if you will slide left or right. If you start off with zero velocity the only force is straight down, and so you wouldn't move in any direction.

Now let's change the problem. I nudge you so that you are moving north. What happens next. The first thing that I'd do is to figure directions. Which direction would I slide?

I'm not saying that visualization is a bad thing, but sometimes it is unnecessary and misleading, and trying to visualize literally everything leads right into certain traps and pitfalls. Visualization is a qualitative thing, and physics aims to be as qualitative as possible.

Nope. It doesn't. I've found it better to try to avoid numbers and complex math as much as possible. Complex math can get you into a lot of trouble when you start focusing on the math and lose site of what is going on. This can have huge consequences.
 
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  • #33
Woopy
148
0
can all you Ph.D's be my personal tutors? Especially when i have to take my intro electromagnetism course for engineer majors
 
  • #34
twofish-quant
6,817
18
Ever since my first midterm, I've been studying hard with a friend and drilling through very difficult problems almost everyday and throughout the weekends. I think this time, I did much worse.

First of all find how badly you really did. If you are hitting class average, I'd wouldn't panic.

One thing is that high school grading is very different from college grading. High schools like to give tests that demonstrate total mastery and so people usually get 90% on them. College tests are designed to be tough so it's not uncommon to be doing really well and getting 60%.

So the first thing to do is to figure out if it's just that college tests are different or do you really have a problem.
 
  • #35
Highway
349
1
can all you Ph.D's be my personal tutors? Especially when i have to take my intro electromagnetism course for engineer majors

i struggled pretty hard with physics 1, but made it through physics 2 (e&m) the first try, with a B. you should be ok if you work hard and do lots of practice problems. . .
 

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