1
vote
3answers
34 views

A silly question about potential functions

Why have physicists had the idea to define a potential function of a gradient vector field $\vec F$ to be a function $g$ such that $\vec F=-\nabla g$? What changes if we don't put the negative sign? I ...
19
votes
7answers
2k views

Very *mathematical* general physics book

I am searching for a book to study physics. So far, I've been suggested Resnick, Halliday, Krane, Physics, but it doesn't seem to be very suited for a math major. Can you suggest some more ...
-1
votes
0answers
23 views

Using differential equations vs general solutions

I was looking at Newton's Cooling Law with a student when he asked me why, for this particular case, do we use the ODE and not just the general solution to analyse data. I couldn't come up with an ...
1
vote
4answers
81 views

Euclidean Geometry in Physics

I've started tutoring my 13 year old niece in math. She learning geometry this year (it's a year-round school). Obviously, it'll just be basic Euclidean geometry -- though I might try to get to a ...
0
votes
1answer
21 views

How to work out 3 dimensional vector angles

I've come across this question and cant for the life of me think how to work it out. I understand working out the angle between two vectors e.g. given, vector a(2i+3j-k) and vector b(8i-6j+2k) but am ...
2
votes
3answers
172 views

Learning math for physics

I am very interested in physics and am planning to self studying it. But for this I need to be mature in various areas of math. So I want to know what is the order in which I need to learn the math ...
1
vote
1answer
265 views

Circular motion “calculate the angle”

I have a equation i need to find out how they hang together. angel = (velocity * time) - (acceleration * time * time / 2) I know circumference of a circle: ...
6
votes
0answers
356 views

Studying quantum mechanics without physics background

I am a first year PhD math student, and I am wondering if I should study quantum mechanics even though I don't have an undergrad background in physics. I posted this question in physics ...
3
votes
1answer
299 views

Best Practices for Learning Mathematics (especially in the classroom)

What study practices have led you to the best success in learning mathematics (or applied math, or theoretical CS) in the classroom (undergraduate/lower graduate level), especially in courses that ...
40
votes
9answers
12k views

What is the meaning of the third derivative of a function at a point

(Originally asked on MO by AJAY.) What is the geometric, physical, or other meaning of the third derivative of a function at a point? If you have interesting things to say about the meaning of the ...
83
votes
19answers
3k views

Good Physical Demonstrations of Abstract Mathematics

I like to use physical demonstrations when teaching mathematics (putting physics in the service of mathematics, for once, instead of the other way around), and it'd be great to get some more ideas to ...