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## Main Question or Discussion Point

My high school physics textbook gives much emphasis on memorizing definitions.We have to memorize the definition of force, inertia, etc...We have to write the definitions as it is in the textbooks...

For example, the definition of "force" in physics textbook is,

"Force is defined as that which when acting on a body changes or

tends to change the state of rest or of uniform motion of the body along

a straight line."

The comical part is that we don't apply force to solve mechanical problems but we memorize it's definition..

"Mark", here measures academic achievement. The marks for the above definition is 3 marks.

I had difficulty memorizing tough definitions like these and I got low marks(Also due to weak memory). I always criticized the edu system for making the students rote learn the concepts. For 10 marks, we have to memorize the derivations. When we write some other derivation, the teacher strikes it off.

There is very less of problem(Plug and chug type) solving involved in my textbook which too I didn't like. The same problems are asked for the exams without even changing the numbers!

You may take a look at my school textbook;

http://www.textbooksonline.tn.nic.in/Books/11/Std11-Phys-EM-1.pdf

Now, I will come to my point. For mathematics, many definitions are used exactly. For example, epsilon-delta definition of limit is used in solving problems pertaining to limits. So, memorizing the definitions is of much help in mathematics for solving problems, I suppose.

Will memorizing the definitions do much help in physics, if not in classical physics, atleast in higher physics like relativity and quantum mechanics?

In many posts in physics forums, I have seen that members insist in following the definitions for many terms in higher physics.

So, please help the role of definitions in physics

For example, the definition of "force" in physics textbook is,

"Force is defined as that which when acting on a body changes or

tends to change the state of rest or of uniform motion of the body along

a straight line."

The comical part is that we don't apply force to solve mechanical problems but we memorize it's definition..

"Mark", here measures academic achievement. The marks for the above definition is 3 marks.

I had difficulty memorizing tough definitions like these and I got low marks(Also due to weak memory). I always criticized the edu system for making the students rote learn the concepts. For 10 marks, we have to memorize the derivations. When we write some other derivation, the teacher strikes it off.

There is very less of problem(Plug and chug type) solving involved in my textbook which too I didn't like. The same problems are asked for the exams without even changing the numbers!

You may take a look at my school textbook;

http://www.textbooksonline.tn.nic.in/Books/11/Std11-Phys-EM-1.pdf

Now, I will come to my point. For mathematics, many definitions are used exactly. For example, epsilon-delta definition of limit is used in solving problems pertaining to limits. So, memorizing the definitions is of much help in mathematics for solving problems, I suppose.

Will memorizing the definitions do much help in physics, if not in classical physics, atleast in higher physics like relativity and quantum mechanics?

In many posts in physics forums, I have seen that members insist in following the definitions for many terms in higher physics.

So, please help the role of definitions in physics