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Question for those with a four-year degree in Physics

  1. Apr 25, 2015 #1
    My open question for anybody:

    With just a B.S. in Physics, what percent of the threads on PF can you contribute to conversationally or answer (if it's a question thread), and what percent are on topics with which you are familiar enough to understand the subject?

    Personally, I could contribute to ≈ <1% of these threads, being familiar with maybe 25-40% of the topics?

    Now granted, I'm still in high school, but as I scroll through (particularly the unanswered forum), I am completely helpless to contribute, which kind of irritates me, but nevertheless I'm curious to hear many responses from the more educated. Thank you!!!!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 25, 2015 #2

    Orodruin

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    I am an assistant professor, have a PhD in theoretical physics, am a PF mentor, and I believe I do my fair share of contributions on PF. With that said, I am clearly not qualified to answer (or for that matter, understand) all threads on PF. Physics is a very broad subject and it is virtually impossible to grasp it all. Still being in high school, you definitely should not feel helpless, you have a lot of time to learn and further realise how little one person can know in perspective to the whole.
     
  4. Apr 25, 2015 #3
    That certainly makes me feel better, but is even more amazing. I'm not sure that I fully realized how vast the subject is, that even one so educated would be unfamiliar with certain topics in the field.
     
  5. Apr 26, 2015 #4

    dx

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    You shouldn't feel bad or irritated about not being able to contribute to all those threads. Just focus on understanding things from the beginning, and you will get there eventually. One of the problems with many people is that they are much more interested in doing "fancy" things than understanding things, so they end up learning a lot of jargon and big words and appear to "know a lot", but not understanding the fundamentals. This kind of problem is of course very apparent in crackpots, but also affects a lot of physicists to a lesser extent. The use of excessive jargon signals a basic defect in understanding.
     
  6. Apr 26, 2015 #5

    Borek

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    That's the only important part :wink:
     
  7. Apr 26, 2015 #6
    Sometimes an interesting follow through question is as valuable as a complete answer IMO. So that might be a way you can contribute.
    As you learn more the nature of those questions also changes. Which in my opinion is a sign of progression.
     
  8. Apr 26, 2015 #7
    I'm familiar in about 80%-90% of the topics, but I can answer only a few of them without having to look at the books.
     
  9. Apr 26, 2015 #8

    mfb

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    To get an idea, I sampled threads of the last days at random. The range of topics is so broad, it is impossible to know all of them.

    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810480/ gardening
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810470/ Symmetry of Orthogonally diagonalizable matrix
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810460/ Thermodynamics: expanding gas
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810450/ Thermodynamics: fridge
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810440/ Statistical mechanics: Why Cannot I Factorize the Partition Function?
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810430/ Analysis: Finding limits of integral in spherical coordinates
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810420/ Nepal earthquake
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810410/ Career guidance: Permanent national lab jobs and immigration status
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810400/ [Broken] deleted
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810390/ [Broken] deleted
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810380/ Mechanical engineering: Using a motor to move something 90 degrees
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810370/ Career guidance: Best physics PhD for going into industry?
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810360/ Calculus textbooks: Why "Transition Books (Apostol, Spivak)" are necessary?
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810350/ [Broken] deleted
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810340/ Electrostatics: charged object
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810330/ Probability theory: Moivre-Laplace theorem (homework)
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810320/ Particle physics: Supersymmetry
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810310/ Particle physics: Dirac Equation and commutation relations
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810300/ Probability theory: multinomial expansion
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810290/ Number theory: equation with several variables
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810280/ Chemistry: Concentration in solution
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810270/ Classical mechanics: Bungee Jumping Physics
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810260/ Engineering: Energy lost due to bushing friction
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810250/ internal
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810240/ Thermodynamics: How does gas behave/flow in different sized tubing/piping?
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810230/ Classical mechanics: A clear sense of basics of physics
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810220/ Electronics: push-pull amplifiers
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810210/ General physics: Significant figures Help
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810200/ Prime numbers: Nice grouping of primes under 105
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810190/ General relativity: Yet another "never crosses the horizon" question
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810180/ Engineering: Friction loss to vertical pipes in a closed system?
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810170/ Acoustics: Total sound intensity from sources
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810160/ Electronics: Effect of load voltage variation in this circuit...
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810150/ Probability theory: On the hypergeometric distribution
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810140/ deleted
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810130/ new member introduction
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810120/ LaTeX question
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810110/ new member introduction
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/topic.810100/ [Broken] deleted
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  10. Apr 26, 2015 #9

    Orodruin

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    Let me question your random number generator ... :rolleyes:
     
  11. Apr 26, 2015 #10

    mfb

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    I saw no evidence of a correlation between threadids and topics. Taking equal distances in threadid reduces a possible bias based on time of the day. To avoid a possible bias from week-ends, I would have had to sample a whole week.
     
  12. Apr 28, 2015 #11
    Wow, thank you all, for your responses.

    I feel like this is a great point, one I've never thought of before. And while sometimes I would like to ask questions, I generally refrain from getting in the middle of heated debates between those who know what they're talking about.

    Again, thank you all very much. This has been very helpful!
     
  13. Apr 29, 2015 #12

    Borek

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    Pretty good approach. To add to that - please don't ask follow-up questions before the main thing is more or less settled. It makes moderation easier and there is no risk of derailing the thread before the OP got the help. Other than that - there are no stupid questions as long as you show that you are willing to learn.
     
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