Learning without being spoon fed? (mod, move please?)

  • Thread starter khkwang
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Learning without being spoon fed?

edit: thanks mods

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Is there a source, or does anyone have an idea how I can learn Physics without being spoon fed? I feel like whenever we were taught something new in my college Physics, we weren't given a chance to come to our own conclusions.

It's usually "blank noticed blank and thus deduced that blank and blank..." and then we're given questions on how this new "tool" can be applied. I've noticed that I've already forgotten much of the subject. But I've been taking lab courses and found that I re-learned a lot of material and even understood better because I somewhat figured it out by myself.

I do get why it's taught this way in class, professors have only so much time to teach so many students, but even the textbooks are the same way! Isn't being a physicist about creativity and innovation? At least give us a short moment to guess something.

Anyway back to the question... does anyone know of a source to (re)-learn some intro. physics (mainly quantum mech, electrodynamics, introductory particle physics, chaos theory) in a less spoon fed way? (looking for textbooks, websites, etc.)

And I've always wondered if normal people had access to historical papers? The ones that the textbooks always refer to when describing something's discovery? I'm guessing I'd have to go through my school's library right?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2


And I've always wondered if normal people had access to historical papers? The ones that the textbooks always refer to when describing something's discovery? I'm guessing I'd have to go through my school's library right?

It's not too bad to find these online in pdf format... you should have access through your university library's online journal subscriptions (a lot of these journals go way back.. and online subscriptions generally give you access to the full archives).

I'd be careful about using these for learning however. The language adn vocabulary are sometimes strange -- due to the language standards of the era and some issues about the fact that the phenomena are first being observed (and vocabulary isn't therefore established). Also, sometimes the authors sill don't have things down completely themselves (ex. Maxwell originally had 8 equations, not 4).
 
  • #3
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Because of the laws in some countries people only have free access to historical papers if they are old enough. Sadly the mercenary nature of some people means you can't obtain them either. Thank God for the interweb.

I think you need to start by being spoon fed and then when you are well qualified enough you need to start spoon feeding others new ideas. If you ever lack ideas then physics or any science is probably only for you up to the graduate stage. Which for some is quite enough.

I'm afraid there is no good way to learn anything but your own. Although decent teaching helps. :smile:
 
  • #4
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Because of the laws in some countries people only have free access to historical papers if they are old enough.
Huh, care to elaborate on that a bit?
 
  • #5
jtbell
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I think he means "if the papers are old enough" not "if the people are old enough."
 
  • #6
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Ouch, what the hell did I do to misinterpret that in such a way :redface: Nevermind the question then :smile:
 
  • #7
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I do get why it's taught this way in class, professors have only so much time to teach so many students, but even the textbooks are the same way! Isn't being a physicist about creativity and innovation? At least give us a short moment to guess something.

The material is presented in a highly refined manner so that you can absorb it and move as quickly as possible to the point where you can do your own research. But really, it's only spoon-feeding if you make it so. You could read a good textbook before coming to class, and when you read a good textbook you can try to derive everything on your own.
 
  • #8
Dembadon
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Purchase a challenging textbook and work through it. Then, when you have questions, come to PF and post them in the homework section. :smile:
 
  • #9
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It's not too bad to find these online in pdf format... you should have access through your university library's online journal subscriptions (a lot of these journals go way back.. and online subscriptions generally give you access to the full archives).

I'd be careful about using these for learning however. The language adn vocabulary are sometimes strange -- due to the language standards of the era and some issues about the fact that the phenomena are first being observed (and vocabulary isn't therefore established). Also, sometimes the authors sill don't have things down completely themselves (ex. Maxwell originally had 8 equations, not 4).

Thanks! It's good to know I can find them if I need to. Aside from the unfamiliar vocabulary though, I really wouldn't mind the uncertainties the authors had. It'd be nice to see how they eventually worked things out.

Purchase a challenging textbook and work through it. Then, when you have questions, come to PF and post them in the homework section. :smile:

Any suggestions for text in particular?
 
  • #10
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I think he means "if the papers are old enough" not "if the people are old enough."

I meant if they are long enough after someone died yes.
 

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