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In my physics class when the tutor talks a value of something, they say that will be "one over something", I'm not sure what this is and I cannot ask because it seems like everyone else knows what he is talking about. I think he's talking about a reciprocal, but I'm not sure why a reciprocal is used.

30/07/19

Ok, so this has been a while but I think I understand what the context of the question was, when the tutor was referring to "one over something", I think he was trying to explain that the value he was discussing would be a fraction of the whole. - Does this make sense?

..I'm not sure which answer to mark as the best as they both have good points.

and thanks for moving this to the maths section.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to physics.SE. Yes, it sounds like a reciprocal, but we can't tell why a reciprocal is used in a particular situation without knowing what the physical situation is that is being discussed. Please edit your question to make it more clear what you're asking about. $\endgroup$
    – user13618
    Jan 25 '19 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ hi Jay. That does seems like a reciprocal, but I would highly suggest you ask the tutor. They will be delighted that someone is paying attention and wants to learn more, believe me $\endgroup$ Jan 25 '19 at 5:59
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I cannot ask because it seems like everyone else knows what he is talking about. I think he's talking about a reciprocal

It may be true that everyone else knows what your tutor is talking about. But it could be true that most are thinking like you and so won't ask either.

Try asking this: "To be sure, when you say one over something, you are referring to a reciprocal, correct?"

I recall an anecdote from a professor for a junior level EE class I took long ago. He said that he had once taught a class on EE fundamentals to non EE majors. About halfway through the quarter, someone in the class finally had the courage to ask "but what is $j$?" I'm sure almost everyone else in the class was relieved that someone finally asked that question.


From the comments:

This is an interesting anecdote but it doesn't actually appear to answer the question. Would you consider editing to fix that?

I thought it was clear enough but, given DavidZ's prodding, I'll explicitly state here that I agree with the OP's belief that the tutor is referring to a reciprocal. On the other hand, only the OP's tutor can actually answer the OP's question.

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  • $\begingroup$ $j$ is $i$, so they should have been confused. $\endgroup$
    – JEB
    Jan 25 '19 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ This is an interesting anecdote but it doesn't actually appear to answer the question. Would you consider editing to fix that? $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Jan 25 '19 at 3:11
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“One over $r$” is spoken English for the mathematical expression $1/r$, and similarly for “one over” anything else. More generally “$a$ over $b$“ means $a/b$.

You will learn a lot more more if you are not embarrassed to ask about things you don’t understand. If you don’t want to ask in front of the whole class, ask the teacher after the class. Or ask this site.

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