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What was your first "discovery"?

  1. Dec 27, 2016 #1
    We've all had that moment as children when we realized something about the physical world (or mathematics, that also counts) based on our own experience and thinking, even when it is the most trivial, basic stuff. Those moments are like little "discoveries", and are, I believe, very special and important. It's the first time we realize we don't have to be told something to learn it, and they inspire us to think more critically. So, what are some of your own such experiences?

    To me, I think the first thing was realizing what bubbles are. Yes, very basic, but as a preschooler, I didn't realize that they were just air inside water. After that, I think it was the realization that when you rotated say a pencil or a marker, the end that is further from the point that you rotate it covers a greater distance than the points that are closer to where you rotate it, and it does so in the same time, so it moves faster. In maths, the earliest thing I can remember was when I observed that the difference of the squares of two successive natural numbers is the sum of these numbers, followed by the observation that the difference of the squares of any two natural numbers is actually the sum of the numbers multiplied by their difference. I didn't know algebra back then, so I didn't prove it, but when we eventually learned the identity a^2-b^2=(a+b)(a-b), it all came back to me, and I have to say it felt pretty good!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 29, 2016 #2
    I was 8 years old and used to read lots of books about cars, I knew axles and basic mechanical stuff and on a very basic level I came up with my own model of AWD based on gears but not differentials (they use differentials), but the gear model of mine was technically sound though of course primitive. basically had enough gears to ensure all wheels rotate in the same fashion. Im dumb as a rock now.

    In math or mechanics, we were studying pulleys and the teacher gave some long derivation on the board about potential energy with respect to ground height, but I found a more intuitive method where I said the gain in one side is equal to the loss in one side which was valid, I dont remember much but there was the equation of KE too. I was 19 lol. The teacher went up to the board and asked if anyone wants to try out a new method but due to people already solving it using his longer one no one said anything, so he kept quiet too. Later on, I saw the method in books, of course I knew it wasnt as if Id inevented anything new. Like most of the things I learned the details escape me so bear with me.

    I have also experimented on insects and whole fish that we used to buy, especially old cockroaches who are a few hours away from death (they seemed to usually roll over visibly in the middle of the room, alive but not quite dying yet)
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
  4. Dec 29, 2016 #3
    An AWD is pretty cool if you ask me! Could it turn?

    Making weird car stuff was pretty fun, I remember a project we made (me and some friends) which was a little solar car that could float and drive on water. It didn't turn though, we weren't that sophisticated :)
     
  5. Dec 29, 2016 #4
    iy was only a concept on paper, i was never advanced too! my brother used to build these bottles with motors and stuff, like primitive boats, I never did. he was the one who actually brought his ideas to life.

    EDIT: sorry, when i say model I mean in my head, my hobby is 3d cad so I mean it in that context. Im not really good at it or anythign tbh but it was interesting times when I was younger.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
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