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Homework Help: Never taken physics before

  1. May 24, 2013 #1
    im a college student and i actually didnt attend high school so i've never had any exposure to physics. i've been avoiding it as long as possible but i think the time has come when i should finally attempt it. im very, very scared. i don't know where to begin.

    I purchased the book Fundamentals of physics by halliday and resnick since it was recommended here alot. i read chapter one and started doing the sample problem...and whoa! i had no idea how they solved it! am i missing something? where should i begin? (not the problem but in understanding physics in general)

    the problem was: The world’s largest ball of string is about 2 m in radius. To
    the nearest order of magnitude, what is the total length L of
    the string in the ball?

    any help will be appreciated because i want to take organic chemistry II and physics I in the fall semester. i have roughly three months to prepare.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Well you first determine the diameter of the string say 5mm and calculate the volume for 1meter of string.

    Then compute the volume of the ball using 4/3 PI r^3 formula.

    Ask you self how many 1 meter strings could fit inside the ball?

    Feynman used to like these problems like how locksmiths work in Chicago? It takes some commonsense and stats to answer the question.
  4. May 24, 2013 #3
    my problem is that i dnt even know i have to think that.
    how do i start thinking in terms of physics? im COMPLETELY new to physics. never touched a physics book in my life until two days ago
  5. May 25, 2013 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Everything you interact with is based somehow on physics so just look around and wonder about things.

    Here's some more about getting in the right frame of mind to solve problems:


    and then there's youtube:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  6. May 25, 2013 #5


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    Gold Member

  7. May 25, 2013 #6
  8. May 25, 2013 #7
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
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