Tips and Tricks for any Occasion

  • Thread starter fresh_42
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In summary, if you use Google Chrome to translate websites, there is an automatic translation feature. If you need to look up the proper spelling of a name, the language versions of Wikipedia are usually more detailed. Amazon links provide a kickback to Phineas if you use them. Finally, most universities operate their own servers and provide their lecture notes as pdf files.f
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Here are some - in my mind - useful insights I gathered over the years on PF.

  1. Translation by Wikipedia

    If you do not know a technical term in English, you can look it up on Wikipedia in your own language and switch to English.


    This is often better than a dictionary, especially for technical terms. It also works in the other direction.

  2. Translation by Google

    If you use Google - Chrome, then there is an automatic translation feature. Select the website you want to translate, right-click on that page and then left-click "Translate to English".


    The result is probably not perfect and you shouldn't use it for your English classes, however, it is usually understandable. If you are looking for proofs or pages with a lot of formulas, language doesn't matter a lot anyway. I guess it is safe to assume that it is the same application as Google - Translate:

  3. Wikipedia

    The language versions on Wikipedia are not translations of each other. They are usually separately written by native speakers who normally do not refer to each other. This means, that switching between languages can give you more information than one language alone. The more languages you can read, the greater your advantage. Of course, you can also switch to unknown languages and use Google's or Chrome's translation service. E.g. I observed that English pages are more general and technical than their German version which on the other hand often include little proofs.

    Furthermore, the language switch can be used to look up the proper spelling of names, e.g. Guillaume François Antoine, marquis de L'Hôpital. Chances are good that the appropriate language version to a page associated with a certain scientist is more detailed than any other language version. We have seen that translations are no problem anymore. E.g.


    The term "black body" has been introduced by Gustav Robert Kirchhoff who spoke German. And the German page has other content than the English page. Which is more detailed is a different question. Use both.

  4. Link for Insight articles about Self-Study

    This post contains many links to worth-to-read articles about self-studying, mathematics, and physics:
    and an interesting interview with a professor about time management.

  5. Exams and Tests

    10 tips to avoid mistakes and save time:

  6. Online Calculators for any Occasion

  7. Mathematics Exercises and Solutions (pdf for download)

  8. Amazon

    Here's the Amazon link, PF gets a kickback if you use this link from your purchase on Amazon, see Greg's linked post for details.

  9. Search for Information

    Most universities these days operate their own servers and provide their lecture notes as pdf files. This means that you can search e.g. "<name of a theorem>+pdf". The first hit on my search for "Helmholtz-Theorem+pdf" resulted in
    an essay of 34 pages of explanations with proofs, references, and index. And as it is CERN, the risk of breaching any copyright laws is basically zero. You can find entire lecture notes of courses by the same method.


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  • #2
Great post @fresh_42 ! I especially like the wiki translate trick to get the best translation for a term. We could recommend this to posters who struggle with their english to find the right STEM term.
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This idea of using Wikipedia also provides a good trick to learn to ( at least read) another language. Say you want to learn language L . Then, rather than learning bottom up, look up a topic that interests you, and of which you know something, in the Wikipediacht for L, and follow the links. You may have to initially search the meaning of a few terms, but not too many( This may be a bit harder if L has an alphabet you're not familiar with).
Say you want to learn Italian. Then, rather than an expensive course, choose a hobby of yours. Say, Tennis. Then look up some Tennis-related page in the Italian Wikipedia, and follow the links. Since you already know about it, you will likely guess the meaning of several words from the context. The rest will fall into place by itself
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Not the newest thread, I know, and probably not much of a trick either, but just the other day I had a meeting and an employee couldn't find a particular document on a website (their own I might add). So into google I enter:

" document-name"

Et voila. The document was the first link.

I'm sure no explanation is needed, and it's google search 101. Still it's a neat little trick.

Having written a lot of code I have a few editing tricks that works in any editor but I'm sure you're already adept there...

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