The approach many courses take to physics, specially "modern Physics" is really bad, this is how it should be taught:
- start by describing experiments that the previous best theory did not explain. This gets intimately entangled with basically learning the history of physics, which is extremely beneficial as also highlighted by ron Maimon, and also because there is value of tutorials written by early pioneers of the field.In the Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman chapter O Americano, Outra Vez! Richard Feynman describes his experience teaching in Brazil in the early 1950s, and how everything was memorized, without any explanation of the experiments or that the theory has some relationship to the real world! Although things have improved considerably since, Ciro still feels that some areas of physics are still taught without enough experiments described upfront. Notably, ironically, quantum field theory, which is where Feynman himself worked. Feynman gave huge importance to understanding and explaining experiments, as can also be seen on Richard Feynman Quantum Electrodynamics Lecture at University of Auckland (1979).
- then, give the final formula for the next best theory
- then, give all the important final implications of that formula, and how it amazingly describes the experiments. In particular this means: doing physics means calculating a number
- then, give some mathematical intuition on the formulas, and how the main equation could have been derived
- finally, then and only then, start deriving the outcomes of the main formula in detail
This is likely because at some point, experiments get more and more complicated, and so people are tempted to say "this is the truth" instead of "this is why we think this is the truth", which is much harder.
But we can't be lazy, there is no replacement to the why.
- Doing physics means calculating a number | 82
- Essays by Ciro Santilli | 41, 652, 6
- Physics Videos by Eugene Khutoryansky | 82
- Popular science | 304, 540, 9
- Quantum field theory lecture by Tobias Osborne (2017) | 70, 734, 9
- Richard Feynman | 554, 2k, 13
- Richard Feynman Quantum Electrodynamics Lecture at University of Auckland (1979) | 874, 1k, 1
- Ron Maimon | 2k