Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Your Experience: Is knowledge mainly a function of time?

  1. Feb 14, 2010 #1
    Hi PF,

    I am an undergrad who recently started getting much more involved in his research (basically I am a HEP code monkey). Anyways, most of the technological aspects of the work were completely unknown to me, I started from scratch. And I found that, looking for the answer to one glitch, I'd spend many hours pouring through manuals and that process actually gave me a lot more knowledge of the general processes/program than when I'd tried to "learn" it earlier. I am guessing this is due to the higher time I was exposed to the manual searching for specific answers...

    So I am wondering, is knowledge mainly a function of time, and immersion? Will I learn actual physics better also if I spend unfocused hours immersed in the text? Not looking to memorize the knowledge or really do anything with it, but just sit with it for longer amounts of time? Do we learn simply as a function of time spent in immersion or what other factors play a big role?

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2010 #2
    I'd say that it depends on how focused you are when you do it. Most are more focused when they are solving problems than when they are just reading a text without any specific goal.
  4. Feb 14, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    No, physics cannot be learned passively like that, since its a subject where learning is not the same as remembering. Spending a lot of time with a history book passively may lead to some knowledge of history, but in physics you have be actively engaged in thinking things out, working problems etc.
  5. Feb 15, 2010 #4

    The situation you describe with programming, however, is very common. I guess it happens because when you want to find the answer to something, you have a higher level of focus than when you're just looking at manuals without relevance. This is the same situation that exists when solving problems in physics: the key message? answering problems and doing tutorial sheets is the way to learn. :tongue2:
  6. Feb 15, 2010 #5
    The only thing with this is, generally problem sets get rushed. You scope the book for the answers, but don't have time to actually think about the equations...whereas in simpler coding there's not much to learn but convention. Problem sets, though, are a time bomb and no one gets to spend as much time thinking about the ideas as they thought they would.
  7. Feb 15, 2010 #6
    [tex]knowledge=\int (effort) dt[/tex]
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook