xaktly | Physics


feynman pixelated

Richard Feynman is a hero of mine. If you like physics, you should get to know his work. You can find a list of Feynman resources here.

A note on how I teach mechanics

The kinematic equations are commonly presented and used in the mechanics portion of introductory physics courses. They fully describe the motion of moving and/or accelerating objects. Here they are:

The problem I have with introducing them too early is that they lead to a rote approach to problem solving that in the end won't serve you well in your study of physics. Often, physics is reduced to a search for the variables that fit into the kinematic equations, rather than a search for an understanding of what's actually going on physically.

Instead, I strongly suggest that you solve every problem as if you were "re-inventing the wheel" every time.

Think about problems in the simplest terms: What is happening physically? What's going on? How do I describe it using just the definitions of velocity, acceleration, momentum and so on ..? How do I link those pieces of information together to get the solution for which I'm searching.

You'll find that in no time, as you repeat similar kinds of problems and as you notice patterns, that you'll start to take shortcuts. That's good - you're getting it. You're also inventing the kinematic equations on your own, but likely with a fuller understanding of the essential physics behind the problem.

All of the problems solved in problem sets and examples in this section are solved using this approach.


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