1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Poor physics problem solver ! help

  1. Nov 15, 2009 #1
    poor physics problem solver ! help!!

    Hi everybody!

    I m a physics undergraduate student in England and really suck at problem solving.I don t know ,probably I don t get the concepts well enough...my maths skills are quite good but sometimes I spend a half an hour on a problem the others need minutes. And I m clever,I have already a degree,or actually I might be in Physics
    So I thought that if I don t have results till summer I rather quit or be kicked out.

    I m looking for book recommendations ,which would take me gradually from easy problems towards harder ones.

    I really need help,I try my best ,just please recommend me some books ,for someone who wants but can t do much at the moment


    thanks a lot

    rud141
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data



    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data



    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 15, 2009 #2

    Delphi51

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Re: poor physics problem solver ! help!!

    Beyond your math skills, you need a feeling for what causes what.
    For example, when you see F = ma do you just see a linear relationship between force and mass? F = ma should look ugly to you; the proper format is a = F/m which clearly says "a force on a mass causes it to accelerate." Once you understand the causal meaning of every formula you can begin to translate a problem into the appropriate formulas. One of my favourites is the acceleration of an electron in the electron gun of a television tube. It goes something like this:
    A potential difference across the gun causes an electric field in it which causes a force on the electron which causes it to accelerate. That's the thinking. The solution is to think or write
    V -> E -> F -> a
    Then write the formula for each arrow or causes statement and do a bit of math to come up with a formula for acceleration as a function of V.
    If the appropriate formulas don't come to mind instantly, spend some time writing each formula you've taken as a causes statement in words.

    Practise greatly increases skill, too.
     
  4. Nov 16, 2009 #3
    Re: poor physics problem solver ! help!!

    thank you for you advice Delphi 51.,it really makes sense even after the first reading.My problem may be somewhere in this area ,I don t translate clear enough the physical process mentally to understand it.

    thanks so much ,I will practice
     
  5. Nov 16, 2009 #4

    Delphi51

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Re: poor physics problem solver ! help!!

    Most welcome, Rudolf.
    I want to add an anecdote from my student days. It was an electronics lab in 2nd year and my friend and lab partner was a very knowledgeable theory guy with very little hands-on experience. When we were hooking up a transistor amplifier he was totally stalled on the concept that a wire had the same voltage on both ends. I had to explain it with Maxwell's Equations before he got it! Hard to believe . . . . but it really shows the importance of experience and work in the lab.
     
  6. Nov 20, 2009 #5
    Re: poor physics problem solver ! help!!

    Very nice method Delphi51,good practice, I think that I ll improve my skills with your method.I m also going to order Schaum s set of problems to go over it.
    I don t want to quit physics ,although sometimes is hard,I like it.


    regards,R
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Poor physics problem solver ! help
Loading...