©Fernando Caracena 2014
by Fernando Caracena, PhD
What is this?
This is a walkabout through the complex terrain of physics—What is this?an adventurous trek that uses mathematics and pattern recognition to understand how physical objects move and exist. All that I have learned about physics is still fresh in my mind because I could never rely on memory alone. Instead, I strove for understanding physics, because I had a consuming interest in the subject as well as in other sciences. As a young teenager, my mind raced. My thoughts were like wild horses, which if not trained, would run away from me fast and leave me in the dust. I found physics was excellent training for such a mind, and it gave me the great power of reason applied to real-live situations in a way that I could appreciate and understand. If you have such a mind, you might benefit from this book. If you do not, perhaps you can still benefit, I do not know fro certain. As for myself, I have always been interested in how other people think and what motivates their actions. So even if you do not think tha eth way I do, you might still be interested in the way I think for the general purpose of knowing something about the diverse ways of human thought. The awareness of this kind of variety helps us escape from the trap of the narrow mindedness that infects our culture. Through time and thinking about physics, its basic concepts have been reduced in my mind to a simpler form than when I learned them. They are also much better connected. It is that connectivity which has guided my choice of topics and how I treat them. However, they are of varying mathematical depth and complexity, which I think is inescapable.
What is the best Approach to Physics?
In the past, I have struggled with the idea of writing a book on physics that anyone could understand. I have taught a variety of courses in physics; but I found that any book that tries to present the subject of physics in a serious manner cannot ignore the maths. One can write an entertaining series that does not connect with how physics can be done, so that the student is left with the vague and useless impressions, and perhaps hero worship, but not really anything useful. Unfortunately, there is no royal road to really understanding physics. It is a bumpy highway full of knotty equations. You have develop a math courage, to see the equations as objects to be discussed in their own right, and eventually perhaps be able to use maths as a thinking tool.
How about a Physics Book?
In this particular trek, I will cover various aspects of physics in the way that they come out of my mind, which reflect my interests at the time of their writing. This is not necessarily in logical order. Because all these concepts are connected in my mind, they make sense to me no matter the order that they spill out of my thinking; but later, if I get proper feedback from readers, I will try to adapt what I have written into a form that is understandable to as wide an audience as possible. Perhaps, if the demand is there, I will put together the series of blogs on physics as an E-book and offer it for sale on the mass market. Who knows? My motto is, “Life is an adventure.” Why not try that just for the heck of it?
What is physics?
The way physicists are
Units of measure
Mathematics is the Language of Physics
Classical physics--Kinematics and Newtonian Mechanics
Grokking Galileo’s Physics I
Grokking Galileo’s Physics part II
VisualizationThe Hydrogen Atom Analyzed Using Commutator Algebra I
Inertial Frames of Reference
Ballistics of Galileo
The Concepts of Energy and Momentum Conservation
The Force of Gravity
Circular Motion and Planetary Orbits
Space and Time in Classical Physics
Grokking the Thermodynamic Theory of Gases
Spontaneous Order and Dissipative Structures
The electric field-electrostatics
Lines of Force
The magnetic field
Prelude to Special Relativity Grokking Special Relativity
Special Relativity II—Standard notation
Photons and the Electromagnetic field
The universe is a duality of processes
Localization of Quantum Events
Polarization States of Photons
The 1-D Harmonic Oscillator in Quantum Mechanics
Further Mathematical treatment of Quantum States
Web notes on quantum mechanics 9 May 2013
Why The Weirdness of Quantum Physics?
The Hydrogen Atom Analyzed Using Commutator Algebra I
Holistic vs Redutionist Ideas in Physics
Holistic physics some proposed solutions for some qauntum qandaries
Divine Intervention and Dark Matters
Creation of the Universe Part I.
Vectors and Vector Algebra
Grokking Calculus–Integral Calculus
Hacking Math I--Math Precision of Python