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Need your guidance

  1. Oct 21, 2012 #1
    Im accepted in physics major at university I really like physics but our univeristy is somehow weak about this,weak books for studing and everything...
    just formula and heavy sentences that you dont learn anything.
    just need them to passing the exams.
    I want to feel physics and touch it in my life,Im confused I want to find s.th maybe you can understand me...
    maybe you can guide me ...which book to study or which topics choose to feel and find more...
    I dont have any good guide or teacher to ask about this...
    help me please...
    tell me everythinng that you think it might help me...
    (by the way my english in not very good,Im not native.)
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2012 #2
    nobody can help me? :frown:
  4. Oct 26, 2012 #3


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    Science Advisor

    I dont think anyone can understand what you are asking.
  5. Oct 26, 2012 #4
    I think its clear if i want to tell a summary, I wanted to introduce books to me,books that are not just formula,books that show the role of physics in life...
  6. Oct 26, 2012 #5
    the unfortunate truth is that physics books are written, especially at the graduate level, with the minimum amount of application and the maximum amount of formalism possible. the minimum amount of application is because physics ultimately has to deal with the real world.

    see i think that's terrible in terms of teaching physics because a few numerical examples and problems showing how the ideas are used in real life, per chapter, is not going to destroy the rigor of the book, but will greatly aid in motivation and understanding.
  7. Oct 26, 2012 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    What books are you using now? Then at least someone won't embarrass himself by recommending a book that you know you don't like. :wink:
  8. Oct 27, 2012 #7
    you're right...,thank you

    I'm studing the books which are published in university and not that much attractive just for passing exams....
    sorry I didnt understand what you mean...(Then at least someone won't embarrass himself by recommending a book that you know you don't like.)
  9. Oct 27, 2012 #8


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    Science Advisor

    In my humble opinion, I find those real world \ numerical applications unbearably, unbearably boring. The vast amount of excitement is in the formalism but again that is just me. I really don't see any benefit in seeing numerical examples because all it shows you is how to plug in numbers.
  10. Oct 27, 2012 #9
    It helps in getting physical intuition which you will use in real experiments in the real world. It helps to have a qualitative understanding of things like this. All physicists should have intuition such that they can qualitatively answer questions within an order of magnitude just by looking at them.

    This comes from doing numerical problems over and over again. Also it doesn't mean that the numerical problems have to be only about plugging in answers. Put a real problem in front of it, then make plugging in real numbers the last step. Seeing the tidal force formula means one thing, its more like "oh". Seeing it applied to a black hole and seeing huge numbers come up, how many students will forget that?

    Even for theoretical physicists this is useful because in 99.9999999% of cases theoretical physicists will either have to teach, or communicate their answers in a simple way to managers verbally, without any help, in an informal setting. You can't pull out the whiteboard when the boss is talking to you. Also the professors that only derive things and follow formalism get the absolute lowest ratings on RateMyProfessor, including upper level and graduate classes, and in these classes, you can't say that its because of "oh typical physics fearing college students".
  11. Oct 27, 2012 #10
    I don't see how RateMyProfessor actually matters. If I am totally fair, I have learned much more from teachers who most other people found horrible. Including upper level and graduate classes.
  12. Oct 27, 2012 #11
    yes I'm agreed with you,I learned more at school from teachers than professors at university...
    even though the degree of teacher is not upper....
    so what can solve this problem?
    now I need more to learn but I don't have any refrence or guidance...
  13. Oct 27, 2012 #12
    OK that's you. Ever stop to consider that there is a reason for many, even most, finding these professors unsatisfactory? We are not talking "oh they're bad because I got a low grade" due to lack of motivation". That's common in intro classes but I doubt there is any lack of motivation at the graduate level. Similarly, I doubt you can say that most people in the grad classes are simply too dumb. So why are they considered bad?

    For example instead of "find the energy levels of a rigid rotor" just write "find the energy levels of hydrogen iodide" in a chapter on angular momentum. Its the same problem but worded in a way that motivates real world application.

    Does a few problems like this per chapter have ANY negative effects? If you can present a single argument against including 3-5 problems like this in every chapter of say, QM books, please tell me.
  14. Oct 27, 2012 #13
    Guess that goes to show there's some truth to the old adage that physics and engineering students have to deal with more math than math majors! :P Or maybe it's because research-level physicists have a predilection for occasionally playing at being a mathematician.

    Anyway, I assume you mean that most graduate books are filled with analytical derivations. From most of the ones I've looked at (I have a *huge* ebook collection,) I would have to agree.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  15. Oct 27, 2012 #14
    as much as i whine about grad physics classes i would NEVER want to trade places with a math student. i see their HW and its written in pure Greek letters. i don't really dislike physics but it is seriously just so much work its like swimming upstream with your feet bound.

    also it just has very little application to the real world. it doesn't have to be this way but it is.
  16. Oct 28, 2012 #15
    Yah. I was being a bit facetious. :P

    I wouldn't say physics has very little application to the real world. What do you think engineers use to create all the cool things they come up with? How far do you think they would get with an idea that involved some form of perpetual motion? Or an idea for a material that's capacitive without a fundamental understanding of classical EM and a little QM? It's just the extra mathematical abstraction that physics shrouds itself with that makes it seem more removed from the real world than other branches of science, but nothing else--nothing--would work without it.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  17. Oct 28, 2012 #16


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    Because it isn't high school with kids constantly asking "well when will I ever need to use this in my life?!".
  18. Oct 28, 2012 #17
    don't give me that "oh I'm so macho for knowing how to manipulate arcane symbols" crap. the end goal of a graduate physics education is to train for a career as a physical scientist in industry or academia. numerical problems are important for establishing the physical intuition necessary for this.

    if graduate education does NOT prepare for a future career in physics most of which is, measured by funding levels and APS membership, in experimental condensed matter, then what is the point of it? Self torture? Mental weightlifting? Well then don't cry about bad employment statistics if this happens.

    And high schoolers don't complain "when will I use this?!" They complain "why you give me an A- instead of an A?!"
  19. Oct 28, 2012 #18
    Where I'm from, most of the high schoolers in the college and tech prep (i.e. below honors/AP/IB level) courses complain about having to do school work *at all*. :rolleyes: It's the higher level students who go "Please give me an 'A', so I can get into <insert university name here>!"

    Frankly, I didn't fit in either camp.
  20. Oct 28, 2012 #19
    It's not macho at all. It's just a different way of doing things. Some people don't need to plug in symbols on order to gain intuition on a subject. And I really don't see why you need such things in grad school. Grad schools isn't an intro physics class using halliday and resnick anymore! If you want to plug in numbers, then you can do that in your free time. I don't think it's very useful to waste lecture time on this while there are much more interesting issues out there.

    Have you ever taught in high school? Well, I have. And they ask "when will I use this?" all the time.
  21. Oct 28, 2012 #20
    edit: I realize that my views are very unorthodox so I will just drop the argument and concede. There's no point in talking about this.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
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